Of all skin concerns, antiaging continues to be the most prevalent across all age groups. The global antiaging market is expected to surpass around $119.6 billion by 2030.1 42% of women ages 25 to 34 and 54% of those aged 35 to 44 worry about signs of aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, and lost facial volume. More than a quarter, 28%, of the women surveyed under the age of 25 admitted that they too regularly worry about the toll aging takes on their skin. Furthermore, “millennials age 25 to 35 reported to have started using antiaging products as early as 26 years old. Their older counterparts, ages 55 and older, said the average age they began relying on antiaging products was 47.2.”2
The future of antiaging skin care could look vastly different from the moisturizing creams and lotions of the past.For example, scientific research has recently discovered that reversing the signs of aging through cellular reprogramming may one day be a reality. This new technology for age reversal has been explored in the laboratory, where controlled doses of reprogrammed proteins reset what is termed, “the epigenome,” or the chemical marks on DNA that control which genes get turned on or off in a cell. As aging occurs, these markers get turned off. Reprogramming is a technology that can potentially flip the switch back, but it is still quite a way away from being ready for widespread use.3
The use of exosomes – extracellular vesicles (EVs) that contain a specific composition of proteins, lipids, RNA, and DNA – are now being researched for their application in skin healing and antiaging. Exosomes are derived from endocytic membranes and can transfer signals to recipient cells mediating cell-to-cell communication. Exosomes play significant roles in various biological functions, including the transfer of biomolecules, such as RNA, proteins, enzymes, and lipids, and the regulation of numerous physiological and pathological processes in various diseases.4
Exosomes can be used as nanocarriers to deliver small molecules to promote tissue repair. Preclinical studies of exosomes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have been carried in the fields of bone and cartilage repair, nerve regeneration, liver and kidney regeneration, skin repair, and vascular tissue regeneration. Alginate, which is a substance extracted from seaweed such as brown algae, sea lichen, and Japanese kelp, is currently being studied to create a scaffolding for exosome release to deliver tissue regenerating extracellular vesicles.5
SKIN AGING DEFINED
Skin aging is caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic aging is caused by the cell’s biology and genetics and leads to age-related cell degradation, called cellular senescence. With this, histological changes occur within the basal cell layer. As a person ages, proliferation of cells in the basal layer reduces. The epidermis then becomes thinner, and nutrition between the dermis and epidermis decreases. This decrease also leads to a decrease in keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and melanocytes. Research also finds that with intrinsically aged skin, the extracellular matrix, comprised of elastin, fibrillin, and collagen, degenerates. Oligosaccharides also degenerate, which, in turn, influences skin’s moisture barrier.
The epidermal barrier is a collection of specific diverse functions, many of which occur primarily within the stratum corneum. These include maintenance of water content and balance (permeability barrier), prevention and responses to invasion by microbial organisms and antigens (antimicrobial barrier and immune response barrier), reduction of the effects of ultraviolet light exposure (photoprotection barrier), and mitigation of the effects of oxidative stresses (antioxidant barrier).7 All of these important barriers exist in skin.
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Lydia Sarfati is an international industry leader with over 46 years of experience as a spa owner, consultant, and aesthetician. She is the founder and CEO of Repêchage, the first company to bring seaweed-based skin care treatments to the United States market, and the president of CIDESCO Section U.S.A, the world’s major international beauty therapy association. She appears at industry tradeshows, is the author of Success at Your Fingertips: How to Succeed in the Skin Care Business and The Repêchage Book of Skincare Science & Protocols, and is a contributing author to textbooks such as The Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 12th Edition, and Oncology Esthetics.