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Extracellular Vesicles in Skin Care

What are Extracellular Vesicles?

You may have heard about extracellular vesicles (EVs) being harnessed to rejuvenate skin. What are extracellular vesicles? Are they harmful or helpful? Why are extracellular vesicles used in skin care products?


EVs are lipid bilayer bound vesicles secreted by cells. EVs can cross from the dermis to epidermis and function as a conduit of communication between keratinocytes, melanocytes, and fibroblasts.[i]

EVs can carry multiple types of cargo between cells such as:


  • matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)
  • inflammatory cytokines,
  • growth factors,
  • mRNA,
  • miRNA,
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • genomic DNA

Extracellular vesicles are an advanced way for cells to communicate with each other by transferring RNA, growth factors and other signals to each other. EVs can carry multiple types of cargo between cells such as proteases (MMPs), inflammatory cytokines, growth factors, and functional RNA. EVs can deliver miRNA from SASPs to surrounding cells. They have even been found to carry mitochondrial DNA and genomic DNA.[ii]

There are numerous EV subtypes.

Exosomes are a type of Extracellular Vesicle.

Exosomes are the smallest and most studied type of EV.

What is in extracellular vesicles?

Extracellular vesicles carry cell communication molecules and RN.

Learn about growth factors, exosomes and stem cells in skin care products at this link.

Are extracellular vesicles in skin care products safe?

These products are the latest technology in skin care products. We do not have a lot of evidence-based research yet.  However, the safety of exosomes and extracellular vesicles would depend upon the type of EV and what is in it.

Dangers of EVs

EVs do not always carry desirable signals.

  • DNA damage results in a p53-dependent increase in EV secretion. (4) These can be harmful.
  • EVs may be produced after senescence-inducing stimuli. 
  • Senescent cells (SCs) produce EVs that can be harmful. Senescent cells (SCs) are bad for skin because they secrete matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) such as collagenase that damage and ages skin. SCs use EVs to age the cells around them.

EVs derived from senescent cells can age skin. This is why the source of EVs and exosomes is so important.

More research on EVs is needed

Stay tuned.  We will keep this blog updated as new research is published on EVs.

Benefits of Extracellular Vesicles in Skin Serums and Treatments

EVs have been shown to be increased in older individuals as compared to younger people. (3) EVs are not always good. It depends upon where they come from and what messaging signals they carry.

For EVs to be beneficial to the skin, they must come from the right source. A regenerative tissue such as a platelet is a good source of regenerative EVs that will renew skin.


One example of a product with platelet-derived exosomes is Plated Skin Science Intense Serum.


Click this link to learn more about exosomes in skin care.


Confused about how to find the best skin care products to rejuvenate your skin? We can help! All you need to do is shop by your Baumann Skin Type.


level up your knowledge on skin care ingredients

References on Exracellular Vesicles in Skin Care Products

  1. Wallis R, Mizen H, Bishop CL. The bright and dark side of extracellular vesicles in the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Mech Ageing Dev. 2020;189:111263.
  2. Baumann L. Chapter 5 Intrinsic Aging in Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill 2022)
  3.  Im K, Baek J, Kwon WS, Rha SY, Hwang KW, Kim U, et al. The comparison of exosome and exosomal cytokines between young and old individuals with or without gastric cancer. Int J Gerontol. 2018;12(3):233-8.
  4. Lespagnol A, Duflaut D, Beekman C, Blanc L, Fiucci G, Marine JC, et al. Exosome secretion, including the DNA damage-induced p53-dependent secretory pathway, is severely compromised in TSAP6/Steap3-null mice. Cell Death Differ. 2008;15(11):1723-33.
  5. Saadh, M. J., Ramírez-Coronel, A. A., Saini, R. S., Arias-Gonzáles, J. L., Amin, A. H., Gavilán, J. C. O., & Sârbu, I. (2023). Advances in mesenchymal stem/stromal cell-based therapy and their extracellular vesicles for skin wound healing. Human Cell, 1-12.
  6. Narauskaitė, D., Vydmantaitė, G., Rusteikaitė, J., Sampath, R., Rudaitytė, A., Stašytė, G., ... & Jekabsone, A. (2021). Extracellular vesicles in skin wound healing. Pharmaceuticals, 14(8), 811.
  7. Zhao, X., Liu, Y., Jia, P., Cheng, H., Wang, C., Chen, S., ... & Li, Z. (2021). Chitosan hydrogel-loaded MSC-derived extracellular vesicles promote skin rejuvenation by ameliorating the senescence of dermal fibroblasts. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 12(1), 1-15.
  8. Yerneni, S. S., Yalcintas, E. P., Smith, J. D., Averick, S., Campbell, P. G., & Ozdoganlar, O. B. (2022). Skin-targeted delivery of extracellular vesicle-encapsulated curcumin using dissolvable microneedle arrays. Acta Biomaterialia, 149, 198-212.
  9. Wang, L., Abhange, K. K., Wen, Y., Chen, Y., Xue, F., Wang, G., ... & Wan, Y. (2019). Preparation of engineered extracellular vesicles derived from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells with ultrasonication for skin rejuvenation. ACS omega, 4(27), 22638-22645.
  10. Ferreira, A. D. F., & Gomes, D. A. (2018). Stem cell extracellular vesicles in skin repair. Bioengineering, 6(1), 4.
  11. Manchon, E., Hirt, N., Bouaziz, J. D., Jabrane-Ferrat, N., & Al-Daccak, R. (2021). Stem cells-derived extracellular vesicles: potential therapeutics for wound healing in chronic inflammatory skin diseases. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(6), 3130.
  12. Liu, S. J., Meng, M. Y., Han, S., Gao, H., Zhao, Y. Y., Yang, Y., ... & Yang, L. (2021). Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes ameliorate HaCaT cell photo-aging. Rejuvenation research, 24(4), 283-293.
  13. Yuan, X., Sun, L., Jeske, R., Nkosi, D., York, S. B., Liu, Y., ... & Li, Y. (2022). Engineering extracellular vesicles by three‐dimensional dynamic culture of human mesenchymal stem cells. Journal of extracellular vesicles, 11(6), e12235.

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