Magazine and stores are filled with skin care products claiming to fix wrinkles and make the skin look younger. These can be convincing, but if your skin is already showing signs of aging, no amount of topical treatments will be able to fix it. No matter how much preventative care you do in your 20’s and 30’s, gravity and time will eventually take its toll on your skin. Wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging.

To treat wrinkles, sagging, and other textural skin issues, cosmetic procedures are generally the only effective treatment. To rejuvenate the skin, Sculptra has become a popular choice.

What is Sculptra?

Sculptra is a dermal filler that stimulates collagen growth in the skin to bring volume and fullness back to the skin. Sculptra is injected deep into the skin to help restore even the deepest wrinkles. It was first invented to help treat facial fat loss due to lipoatrophy for people with HIV. Sculptra uses poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), the synthetic form of lactic acid naturally produced by the body, as its main ingredient. Unlike many other facial fillers that can be reversed with an enzyme injection, Sculptra fillers are permanent.

How does it work?

Collagen is a protein that is essential in keeping skin elasticity healthy. The amount of collagen your body produces can be affected by many factors, such as sun exposure, smoking, and age. When the body begins to produce less collagen, signs of aging begin to occur. Less collagen can also cause skin to become drier.

To promote collagen growth, topical treatments and supplements are popular, but the most effective method is through injections. Sculptra in injects PLLA deep in the skin to help the body produce more collagen. PLLA is gradually absorbed by the body over time. These injections can provide better results than other filler options, such as hyaluronic acid, that only push up the dermis space beneath the skin for a few months. PLLA helps to promote the production of collagen to restore the underlying structure of the skin. When collagen strands repair themselves, they make the skin fuller and fix the look of wrinkles.

Sculptra lasts for around 2-3 years, so while it’s more expensive than most other dermal fillers, it lasts much longer and involves fewer treatments.

Who should get Sculptra?

Men and women looking to get Sculptra treatment typically deal with issues such as hollowness, smile lines, and sagging jaw lines. People with any skin type can benefit from receiving a Sculptra injection. Sculptra is most commonly used to fix shrunken cheeks.

While many of the benefits from Sculptra help with age-related concerns, people in their 20’s can also choose to receive the injection. Collagen growth can help repair skin issues that are unrelated to aging, such as scarring from acne.  People looking to reverse signs of aging on other parts of the body should also consider Sculptra. It can also be used to correct cellulite as well as wrinkles on the chest, eblows, and knees.

Sculptra might not be safe for those taking blood thinners or who have a blood disorder. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding might also not be allowed to have the injection.

What to expect

Getting a Sculptra injection is a quick procedure and typically is finished within an hour. Sculptra is an outpatient procedure and you can continue your regular activities almost immediately. Many are even able to apply makeup to the site only a few hours after the procedure. After the injection, the area will need to be massaged so that the injection is evenly distributed. Pain within the first 24 hours after the injection can be treated with an ice pack applied for a few minutes at a time. Swelling is also common within the first 24 hours and often resolves on its own.

Most Sculptra patients receive treatment that involves 3 injections over several months. Results from Sculptra aren’t immediate, as the injection takes time to stimulate new collagen growth. After an injection of Sculptra, you shouldn’t expect to see results for 4-6 months.

Sculptra risks

Sculptra is a safe and relatively painless procedure, but there are a few risks that come along with the procedure.

Some complications include:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Itching
  • Bumps
  • Bleeding
Cite this article as:
Burhan Ahmed, MD, "The Complete Guide to Sculptra," in Medicalopedia, June 18, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7537/the-complete-guide-to-sculptra/].