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What are exosomes, and are they becoming fashionable?

Anything can become fashionable in skincare, even rubbish. In fact, you could say that exosomes are rubbish.  Why? They are vesicles of varied sizes produced by cells. In the past they were thought to be just one way for cells to get rid of whatever they didn’t want. They are still know to be that, although in some cases they may also function as a communication method, like a telegram sent from one cell to another.

Just like a telegram (or email, for that matter) the contents of the vesicle/message can be anything, so the message can be anything (grow, die, get sick, etc.)

These vesicles are also classified by size, exosomes, (30–200 nm in diameter), microvesicles (200–1000 nm in diameter), and apoptotic bodies (500–2000 nm in diameter).

How do you obtain exosomes? Most important: exosomes are obtained from human fluids (yes, even from that human fluid) or from human cells culture media  (not a nice source either).  They are isolated based on size so any method will produce something of some size but of unknown composition. This would comply perfectly with my definition of “arghhhh” ingredient.

My opinion? Exosomes are great as an research subject, and horrible as a skincare ingredient. But they have their own INCI name!


Exosomes derived from human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells alleviate atopic dermatitis. Cho BS, Kim JO, Ha DH, Yi YW Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018 Jul 11; 9(1):187.

Liu, Y., Wang, H., & Wang, J. (2018). Exosomes as a novel pathway for regulating development and diseases of the skin (Review). Biomedical Reports. Mar;8(3):207-214 doi:10.3892/br.2018.1054

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