Each of us ages in our own way. The way we feel about aging is also something that differs from one person to another. Therefore, we need to have options that allow us to address the signs of aging in ways that feel good to each of us. Some people prefer to undergo plastic surgery to achieve the most long-lasting and dramatic results, while others like the idea of injectables and other nonsurgical treatments that are subtler. We love that we have the opportunity to assist our patients based on their preferences and needs. Sculptra is one tool that we may use to do that.
What is Sculptra?
Sculptra is described as an FDA-approved dermal filler, but we think that misses the mark. Sculptra is an injectable treatment, yes, but it does not work the same way most dermal fillers do. Dermal fillers are made with tiny particles that immediately build volume beneath the skin. Some do this with hyaluronic acid, which binds to water to smooth creases and contour areas of the face. Some build volume with calcium microspheres. Sculptra doesn’t build volume in such a direct way; it does so by stimulating ongoing collagen production.
Collagen stimulation is necessary as we get older because the body slows down its natural production to a near-stop. By injecting Sculptra’s poly-L-lactic acid particles beneath the skin and fat pads on the face, low-level inflammation is created. This forces fibroblast cells to activate and make new collagen to support the inflamed tissue. This makes the skin thicker, firmer, and smoother.
The Pros and Cons of Sculptra Aesthetic
- Creating change through collagen stimulation, Sculptra can improve the appearance of the aging face for 2 or more years at a time. Collagen naturally degrades with time but not in the same way that hyaluronic acid does. Therefore, Sculptra typically achieves longer-lasting results than the average dermal filler.
- After the initial series of treatments, patients may need less product during subsequent touch-ups years later. This depends on how quickly collagen breakdown occurs based on genetics, sun exposure, and other factors.
- Collagen stimulation occurs for several months, so the results of Sculptra are gradual, like aging backward.
- The cost of Sculptra may seem higher than dermal filler treatment. However, the two treatments are not the same so it is difficult to compare them. In the long run, cost-effectiveness may be very similar.
- Patients must understand that Sculptra does not provide them with immediate, dramatic results. The skin is rejuvenated over time as it is supported by healthier, stronger collagen fibers.
- A series of approximately 3 treatments may be needed to achieve the most significant collagen stimulation. These are usually scheduled six weeks apart.