By Kate Dee, MD
If you are interested in restoring a youthful appearance without surgery, the natural results of Sculptra may be the perfect solution for you.
Sculptra is not a filler.
Why start with what Sculptra is not? Many people think Sculptra is a filler, but it is more like Opposite Filler. If you google Sculptra, you will find prominent blog posts that refer to it as a filler. This is simply not accurate.
Sculptra is a powder that we dissolve in water for injection. It is made out of Poly-L Lactic Acid or PLLA. PLLA is absorbed and ultimately eliminated by the body over time. It has been used since the 1970’s, originally to make absorbable sutures for surgery. That’s 50 years of experience -- more than any filler. During the 1990’s, Sculptra was introduced into facial aesthetics, originally to treat facial wasting associated with HIV lipodystrophy. It worked so incredibly well that it soon made its way to elective anti-aging treatments.
Sculptra works by stimulating the production of collagen in and under the skin, filling out areas of volume loss and tightening the tissues. The results are a very natural youthful appearance that slowly evolves over time. After injection we see a gradual improvement over 1-2 years. In contrast, when you place filler into the face, the body immediately starts to break it down, and it will be 100% gone in a year. That’s why Sculptra is the Opposite Filler. Sculptra is more of a long-term investment. Results are not immediate. If dermal filler is like renting a beachfront villa in Hawaii, Sculptra is like building a home there for the same price-- it just takes a year to build.
Sculptra is dissolved in water first, usually a few days before it is used. Lidocaine is added to it to numb the areas being treated. We also use a topical anesthetic for the skin. There is minimal discomfort during the injections. The skin is then quite puffy from the water-- which is absorbed over the next couple days after the treatment. Then the sculptra gets to work stimulating collagen. People often see a difference within a month or two-- but the results keep happening over a 1-2 year time frame. Most people have 4-6 vials placed over 2-3 sessions about 1-2 months apart.
Sculptra is my go-to treatment for temples. Hollowed out temples can really age your appearance. Sculptra is the safest solution for this area and is long lasting. Sculptra is great for augmenting the cheeks and lower face and works really well in softening the nasolabial folds and marionette lines. It can also be used to strengthen the jawline.
If you have volume loss in your face or temples, then Sculptra is a great option for restoring a youthful appearance to the skin. We often combine Sculptra with skin tightening treatments like Genius RF, since most of us have a combination of skin laxity and volume loss. These two treatments are the secret to our signature GlowLift. We love Genius and Sculptra because they both build your own collagen, yielding long-lasting results.