Wrinkles that appears over the face, crow’s feet that appear around your eyes, nasolabial lines around your nose, marionette lines under your mouth, forehead & Frown lines, age spots, creepy skin, acne scars …all this starts to appear by time; due to the premature aging and other environmental & biological conditions such as Sun, smoking, stress, genetics, depression, alcohol. Moreover, some of the previously mentioned reasons you have no control over it; therefore, you start to get depressed and start to avoid mirrors!
However, many platforms can provide you many treatment options for all the previously mentioned signs. Each treatment procedure has their own advantages and disadvantages and the results even vary from one individual to another, therefore, many people got confused and kept questioning about what to do and what to avoid. We are here in order to provide you a guide for a certain treatment procedure such as Co2 Laser skin resurfacing procedure and dermal fillers options.
Dermal fillers are set of non-toxic substances that are injected under the skin for diminishing face lines and wrinkles, it is found in multiple forms such as
- Hyaluronic acid
- Poly-L-lactic acid “PLLA” (Sculptra® )
- Polyalkylimide (Aquamid)
- Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse)
- Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres “PMMA” (Bella fill)
Many other dermal fillers are available but the previously mentioned are the most familiar among the dermatologists…in this article we will provide you with the answers to all the questions you may ask when you decide to go for Sculptra® dermal filler option; keep on scrolling down…
What Is Sculptra® Dermal Filler?
Sculptra® is injectable dermal filler that is mainly composed of Poly-L-lactic acid; it is a synthetic gel composed of lactic acid that is naturally found in our bodies and increase especially during exercising…But it is synthetic and I am worried about it! No, you do not have to! Because Sculptra® has two important features, which are;
- It is considered as Biocompatible “Cause No harm for the body”
- It is considered as Biodegradable “Can be broken down by the body”
Sculptra® works like a magic, push up the dermis layer, and is significant enough to fill out facial lines, grooves, hollows, and add a lifted effect to cheeks through stimulating collagen and replacing lost collagen found under your skin. For this reason, the dermatologists did not consider Sculptra® as topical treatment but a deep treatment that targets the deep layers of dermis instead.
“The stimulation of collagen will rapidly restore your youthful look and give you the firmest skin”
How Sculptra® works? Moreover, how the procedure is done?
When you visit your dermatologist he/she will:
- Inform you that you should remove the make-up
- Clean the injected site with an appropriate antiseptic
- Prepare the sculptra® suspension and add lidocaine in order to reduce the pain and then will use the suspension through an injection under the skin that is injected into the deep dermis that will give an immediate appearance of correction of the affected area.
After the injection, the treated area will be massaged well and it is considered as an important post-treatment procedure as it can:
- Prevent the formation of bumps or nodules under the skin
- Distribute PLLA in the affected area evenly
Within few days, the active constituents of Sculptra are absorbed by the injected site and a natural swelling may appear, in addition to a temporary appearance of the defects.
However, the micro-particles of PLLA begin to work efficiently in the deep dermis in order to stimulate collagen formation and replace the loss of collagen that already found and strengthen the skin structure once again. Moreover, as the micro-particles of PLLA absorbed, the collagen framework starts to restore its functions; restore the facial volume and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and face lines…etc.
Your dermatologist may ask you to use an ice pack if you experienced redness or swelling at the injected site.
Do I need to perform the skin test before performing Sculptra?
No, there is no skin testing procedure required to perform Sculptra.
What Will I Feel During The Treatment Procedure?
Your dermatologist may apply a local or topical anesthesia in order to make sure and reduce any kind of discomfort during the procedure if happened, but from the patients experience they said that sculptra® procedure is painless in comparison to other treatment procedures.
What Kind Of Results Can I Expect? Is there an immediate result?
- Immediately your wrinkles, face lines…etc. will seems to be filled out and your expected results will clearly appear, but do not be deceived with this look! As this look is simply due to the presence of water content that had been used to dilute Sculptra.
- After few days, your body absorbs water and the swelling or this fake filling resolve and you may look as you did before the treatment process… However, you do not have to worry about it because your long-lasting & true results and visible improvements are usually appearing within the first few weeks of treatment.
- Although some people do not like to see temporary results, “A sort of psychological discomfort” but others considered the temporary results as a preview to what they will look like in the long-lasting results.
This is real patients before and after getting Sculptra Treatment
Is there any kind of medications I should avoid before the treatment procedure?
Yes, your dermatologist will inform you that you should stop using any kind of:
- Anti-inflammatory medications or aspirin, in order to avoid bleeding at the treated site.
- Excedrin, ibuprofen, Aleve, Vitamin E, and Advil Sculptra bruising
- Exercising except walking
Who Is Not Indicated For Sculptra Procedure?
Sculptra is an effective and safe for all skin types and colors, it is considered as the best option for people who have an overall good health status. Your dermatologist will provide you a list of cases that should not undergo the Sculptra procedure such as:
- If you are allergic to Lidocaine
- If you have skin infections or rashes
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- A patient has had or has risks for hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation.
- If you have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome
Generally, you are a good candidate if you need to restore the facial volume of your skin especially cheeks area that is a result of Human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) “lipoatrophy”
Sculptra considered as safe according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration; it was approved since 2004.
Is there downtime following Sculptra procedure?
Yes, there is a short period of downtime due to the presence of some swelling and redness after the procedure, however, the mentioned signs diminish within few days and you can resume your work but you have to pay attention to the aftercare treatment.
So, what is the aftercare guidelines?
The aftercare guidelines are easy to follow such as
- You have to massage the treated area regularly
- You have to apply icepack to the treated area
- You have to avoid the exposure to UV radiation
How many treatments are required? In addition, how long does the procedure take?
In the normal cases, three treatment sessions are enough and you will get the best results gradually within 6 months, you have also to be informed that you will undergo the three treatment sessions over 6 months not within the same week or month.
The procedure usually takes an average of 15-40 minutes; based on the size of the treated area.
How long does Sculptra effect last?
The Sculptra is long lasting; comparing to other dermal fillers that last only months, Sculptra lasts for up to two years!
What about the maintenance treatment?
You may only need one maintenance treatment a year.
“Change in facial appearance is one of the emotionally devastating and stigmatizing side effects of HIV/AIDS and the drugs used to treat it said FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford. The AIDS community has been awaiting a product like this that can give patients a smoother, fuller face. FDA approval of Sculptra was based on a review of clinical studies of safety and effectiveness submitted by the manufacturer, Dermik Laboratories, of Berwyn, Pa.”
“Dermik reported on the use of Sculptra in 278, HIV-positive patients with severe facial lipoatrophy. The patients, who were all being treated with antiretroviral drugs, were primarily white males, mostly ages 41 to 45. Patients were given three to six injections of Sculptra at two-week intervals and were followed for two years.”
Is it approved for the healthy patients?
Yes, The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved the usage of Sculptra for the healthy patients since 2009; they consider it as safe and effective unless the patients have no allergy to the ingredients such as poly-L-lactic acid, carboxymethylcellulose, and nonpyrogenic mannitol or any kind of infection or inflammation at the treated site.
What are the side effects of Sculptra procedure?
- Sculptra side effects are not dangerous but simple and can be handled in comparison to other procedures, the common side effects that might occur are as follows:
- Swelling and Redness
- Pain and Bleeding
- Soreness at the injection sites
- Bruising, Itching, Tenderness, and lumps
- Rare infections of injection sites
- The previously mentioned side effects resolve by massaging and by applying ice pack on the treated area within 1 to 14 days maximum.
Based on statistics, it has been found that “The most common side effects with Sculptra include injection site reactions, such as bruising (21%), pain (13%), swelling (10%), and redness (2%). Itching and heat sensation has also been reported but it is rare.”
- In the worst-case scenario, small nodules may start to appear under the skin and may be noticeable especially if the treated area is around your eyes; that is why it is not recommended to use Sculptra around the eyes. However, your dermatologist will recommend doing massage or he/she may use an injection that contains sterile normal saline in order to break the bumps up.
How much does the Sculptra procedure cost?
Sculptra is expensive comparing to other dermal filler procedures; as we said you would need an average of three treatment sessions over a period of six months, each session will cost an average of $600-$2,000 based on the size of the treated area. However, the procedure is considered as cost-effective as it will provide you a long-lasting effect with only one maintenance treatment per year.
Are there alternatives for Sculptra?
Yes, there are many kinds of injectable temporary dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse…etc. In addition, you may also find permanent dermal fillers such as silicone, or you may also go for the surgical facelift.
Sculptra Vs Other dermal fillers
Sculptra has many advantages over many other dermal fillers such as:
- Longevity; Sculptra lasts up to 2 years, in contrary to other dermal fillers that last only for few months
- It is compatible with other treatment options
- It comes in a powder form that is mixed with sterile water rather than in a gel form
- It works efficiently, improve the overall skin look and gives a natural appearance
- It is a good option for the HIV patients who are depressed with their overall look
- It is biocompatible and biodegradable, in contrary to other dermal fillers
- It is injected under the skin, not into the skin giving good results
However, the only disadvantage is that it does not give an immediate result like many other dermal fillers.
Can I combine Sculptra with other treatment options?
Yes, Sculptra is compatible with other treatments and your healthcare provider will inform you whether you need dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Botox or not. However, you should know that you should not use Sculptra with the permanent dermal fillers.
Finally, Is Sculptra worth it?
The results vary from one to another; however, most of the reviews were positive! Most of them said that it is cost-effective and worth using but it is important to follow up with your dermatologist.
The choice is yours, and you are the one who can say whether it is worth it or not because this depends on your choice for a professional dermatologist and a good addressing for your problem.