There are lots of different injectables in my practice! Some relax movement and yield wrinkle reduction, some dissolve fat cells, and others volumize. And amongst those that volumize there are 18 to 20 to choose from in my tool box! Most are hyaluronic acid based, but others have additional characteristics. How do I decide which is the right one for the job? Well, that depends on many factors including your anatomy and goals, and your patience.
I guess if I had to categorize, my younger patients tend to seek volume improvement in a specific area, like the lips or the cheeks. There, immediate gratification is also sought out, making hyaluronic acid a great choice. My more mature clients might however be looking for improvement of the bigger picture, global enhancement, reduced appearance of laxity (by way of mild volumization of tissue), and perhaps have a wee bit more need for attention to the periphery of the face (think peanut temples, hollowing just in front of the ears). And while I’m not saying that “NOW” isn’t nice, it might be okay to look forward to younger looking, healthier skin overall in 4-6 months and have it last, than the need for one area to simply be volumized. It could take lots of syringes of filler to fill up with hyaluronic acid alone, ignoring the looseness of the tissues structure as the real issue.
Sculptra is one such “filler”. It is made of poly-l-lactic acid and when injected it behaves as a bio-stimulant (you guessed it, stimulates your own biology). It starts as a powder which is then reconstituted with bacteriostatic water and a little lidocaine, then injected under the skin or along the bone. I personally like to use a cannula to deliver this delicious liquid—which reduces your overall risk of bruising (but does not eliminate it) and in some areas, a needle is still best. While you immediately look fuller—keep in mind it is simply all the liquid filling out the regions treated. The water is reabsorbed over the next few days, and the PLLA is left behind. This is the magic which teases your skin into developing your very own collagen matrix! Post treatment requirements on your end are to massage for 5 minutes, 5 x day, x 5 days after injection—that’s just to keep all those particles evenly distributed so that when the water disappears you have a sprinkling of pixie dust evenly throughout the region intended to be treated. Collagen fibers are formed over the next few weeks, then reorganize themselves over time to being even more amazing! Important to think of this as a tool for skin laxity, not just volume replacement. A solid treatment plan for the face includes is 2 vials x 2 treatments roughly 8 weeks apart, then put on your patient panties and wait to let the magic happen. It yields a subtle, but natural effect and the durability of it is based on your body’s ability to produce it and reduce it—so everyone is different. And of course it isn't limited to the face (off label). There are amazing photos and testimonials on Sculptra.com if you’re interested in checking it out, keep in mind it requires you to have a healthy immune system to work optimally.
When you snoop on the internet to learn more, you might hear about the “Sculptra Glow”! When injected more superficially patients have reported healthier and glowier skin overall. There isn’t one of us that wouldn’t be for that as a bonus!
Sculptra isn’t for those who need an “event” fix (i.e. immediate). But it is for anyone who wants to be sure the foundation for the house is solid before they start building the structure. My favorite places to use Sculptra includes the temples, along the cheekbone, the preauricular space (in front of the ear), along the jawline and the nasolabial fold. No-no areas? Yes, there are a few of those: around the eyes and immediately around the lips (because of the way those muscles contract, it can leave you with clusters of product and an effect you aren’t quite seeking). At the time of this writing, pricing for Sculptra is $850/vial, down time is a couple of days of swelling and maybe bruising; though if you’re like me, you go right back to it the next day. This procedure can be accomplished at any of our locations with Teri at the helm, and if you want more intel for you specifically--book a virtual consultation where we can speak freely!