Growth Factors and Exosomes: How they work in skincare and haircare

Have you been wondering what is the difference between these ‘messengers’? And how they work their magic on your skin and scalp? Read more to decipher the science from the hype.

Have you been wondering what is the difference between these ‘messengers’? And how they work their magic on your skin and scalp? Read more to decipher the science from the hype. 

A youthful, glowing complexion is the combined result of leading a healthy lifestyle and using the right combination of ingredients and products. If you have been religiously incorporating retinoids, sunscreens and Vitamin C in your skincare regimen, you may wish to consider including products containing exosomes, cytokines and growth factors as well. Studied in wound healing models, these ingredients are being utilized in cosmeceuticals for their ability to improve the appearance of aging skin. 

"Scientists understand that the intricate repair and rejuvenation work is a concerted effort of hundreds of different TYPES of growth factors, exosomes and proteins. It is not possible to achieve this variety of ‘messenger cells’ that are required for real cellular repair activity with just a handful of synthetically created growth factors and exosomes."
What are Growth Factors

Growth factors are naturally occurring polypeptides or proteins that are produced or secreted by cells such as fibroblasts, keratinocytes and melanocytes. They stimulate growth, healing and regeneration in living tissues. Growth factors were first discovered in the 1950s by two scientists, which eventually earned them a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986. Since then, growth factors have been an important part of many clinical studies to regenerate or grow new cells1.

Many growth factors are involved in wound healing. These substances can help to “boost collagen synthesis, prompt cells to produce components that improve skin firmness and elasticity, strengthen the skin barrier and repair and rejuvenate skin,” said board-certified dermatologist Dr Sejal Shah in an interview with Today.com1.

Most growth factors available commercially are either genetically engineered in a laboratory or obtained from stem cells such as bone marrow stem cells, skin cells and fat stem cells.

What are Cytokines

Cytokines are involved in regulating the immune system and repairing skin.2 While some cytokines can have growth-promoting effects, they are not growth factors themselves. They are small, secreted proteins released by cells that have a specific effect on the interactions and communications between the cells.

Cytokine is a general name; other names include lymphokine (cytokines made by lymphocytes), monokine (cytokines made by monocytes), chemokine (cytokines with chemotactic activities), and interleukin (cytokines made by one leukocyte and acting on other leukocytes). Cytokines may act on the cells that secrete them (autocrine action), on nearby cells (paracrine action), or in some instances on distant cells (endocrine action).

Successful skin repair requires a balance between the function of multiple growth factors and cytokines.

What are Exosomes

Found in all mammalian cells, they are small bubbles or nano-sized extracellular vesicles that are released from cells. Exosomes contain proteins, growth factors and genetic information like RNA, micro RNA and DNA that are important in helping one cell communicate with another in promoting healing. They have become a hot topic in regenerative medicine in recent years and are also being hailed as the next big breakthrough in hair and skincare.

Most consumers are enamored of its small size and numbers; and a lot of data is being bandied among brands about the size and extraordinary numbers of these exosomes. But consumers should be aware that the ‘messages’ that these exosomes carry is far more important than exosome size and quantity. The key questions that should be asked by consumers are: where are these exosomes derived from? What are the ‘messages’ that they are delivering?

Usage in Skincare and Haircare

One cosmeceutical brand that has all three materials in their products is CALECIM®. A key ingredient in its skin and hair products is PTT-6®, a unique, patented formulation of powerful growth factors, cytokines and exosomes.

Scientists understand that the intricate repair and rejuvenation work done by stem cells in the body are not executed by one, or even a handful, of exosomes. It is a concerted effort of hundreds of different TYPES of growth factors, exosomes and proteins that are naturally secreted by stem cells. It is not possible to achieve this variety of ‘messenger cells’ that are required for real cellular repair activity with a handful of synthetically created grown factors and exosomes.

CALECIM Professional’s patented active ingredient PTT-6® contains more than 3,000 active growth factors, cytokines and enormous amounts of exosomes in just one milliliter; all working together to accelerate daily skin repair, build up a healthy extracellular matrix and trigger skin cell production. PTT-6® has in-vitro results that show its benefit on skin’s moisture and elastin production; it also triggers follicle cell production and reduces scalp inflammation, that is an underlying cause of many types of hair loss.

It is important to note that this level of potency is possible only with CALECIM’s unique source of extraction – PTT-6® is derived from the secretion of cord lining stem cells isolated from ethically sourced umbilical cord tissues of red deer which are farmed for their velvets in New Zealand. No deer is harmed in the extraction and harvest of this rich source of stem cells.

PTT-6® activates the body’s own cells to renew, repair and regenerate. The products don’t simply add ingredients to your skin, they induce it to produce more of these beneficial proteins on its own through cell-to-cell communication. These benefits take place because of the unique mix of growth factors, cytokines and exosomes that are naturally calibrated by nature.

CALECIM Professional’s Advanced Hair System is the first at-home regimen utilizing stem cell exosomes (as well as growth factors and cytokines) to supercharge growth and combat hair loss. Formulated through cutting edge biotechnology, it delivers stem-cell signaling capabilities directly to dormant follicles and reinvigorates sluggish cells to trigger new growth. The exosomes act as hair’s personal speed dial to trigger greater growth.

The Professional Serum, the most potent skincare of the range, is almost entirely made up of PTT-6®. Clinics have been the first to discover its healing abilities; using it with a myriad of clinical treatments to accelerate treatment recovery time. Clinicians have also found that results are enhanced with the application of the Serum; thus revolutionizing some conventional clinic procedures such as microneedling and radio-frequency to produce unprecedented results. Results of these clinical trials can be found on the website, where Serum was used in conjunction with clinic devices to treat acne scarring, caesarean scarring and stretch marks. This Serum also has a place in at home skin maintenance: many users have found that a few drops of the Serum supercharges their daily anti-aging skincare. It can be applied before application of regular moisturizers.

With the right mix of exosomes, growth factors and cytokines, aesthetic skin and hair care can certainly be revolutionized. It is something that medical professionals have known for a while but has only recently been brought to the attention to the regular skincare consumer. To get the most of this ‘new’ technology, it is best to find out more about the source of the exosomes you are using, and what exactly they can do for your skin cells and hair follicles.

  1. What are growth factors in skin care? - TODAY
  2. Topical Growth Factors for the Treatment of Facial Photoaging: A Clinical Experience of Eight Cases - The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology
More to read
Read more