Sculptra Aesthetic, a type of dermal filler known as a “collagen bio-stimulator,” can help fill out deep age-related facial folds and wrinkles, thus giving you a more youthful appearance.
How Does It Work?
As you grow older, the underlying dermal layer of your skin loses collagen, a protein that provides your skin its structure and “fullness.” Sculptra contains a synthetic material (poly-L-lactic acid) that stimulates the production of new collagen. In addition, it helps reinforce the skin’s underlying structure, a process that also adds fullness to the face.
What Does It Treat?
Sculptra is used to correct deep facial folds and wrinkles, particularly
- the nasolabial folds (“smile” lines) that run from the corners of the nose to the mouth,
- the labiomandibular folds (“marionette” lines) that run from the corners of the mouth to the chin, and
- wrinkles on the chin itself.
Sculptra is also sometimes used to “lift” the skin depressions caused by acne or other small scars. It is not recommended, however, for reducing wrinkles immediately around the eyes or for enhancing lips.
Is It Safe?
Yes. Poly-L-lactic acid may be synthetic, but it’s both biocompatible and biodegradable. As it replaces the lost collagen, it becomes gradually (and naturally) absorbed by the body. In fact, poly-L-lactic acid has been used safely for years to make resorbable surgical stitches.
The filler is not recommended, however, for everyone. It should not be used, for example, by people with a history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring or by those with an active skin infection.
What Is the Treatment Like?
A typical treatment involves three sessions of injections spread out over several months, although your doctor may recommend fewer or more sessions for your particular skin.
To minimize any discomfort, you’ll be given a local anesthetic before each injection. The entire treatment procedure usually takes less than 60 minutes, and you can return to your everyday activities immediately.
Are There Any Side Effects?
You can expect some redness and swelling and, perhaps, some itching as well, for up to 24 hours after the treatment. Your doctor will advise you to massage the treated area several times a day for seven days. That will help keep small nodules (lumps) from forming under the skin—a side effect that occurs in less than 10 percent of people treated with Sculptra. You should call your doctor if a nodule forms, as a drug called hyaluronidase can be used to hasten its dissolution.
When Do Results Appear—and How Long Do They Last?
You’ll notice some “plumping up” of your facial wrinkles immediately after the treatment, but that is a temporary effect due to the water in Sculptra’s solution. The treatment’s real effects will appear gradually over a period of several weeks as the collagen becomes reformed.
Clinical trials by Sculptra’s manufacturer suggest that results can last up to two years after the first treatment session, or even longer for some individuals. Period touch-ups can help extend the effects.
Because the results are so long lasting, you’ll want to make sure the treatment is done correctly. Seek care from a physician with experience using this specific facial filler.