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What Is Sculptra Used For?

When researching ways to restore the appearance of your skin, you may come across Sculptra. Although it’s a relatively new procedure — first appearing in the mid-2000s — it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. Like other cosmetic procedures, though, Sculptra is used for specific aesthetic-related purposes. In this post, you’ll learn more about Sculptra and what it’s used for, allowing you to decide whether it’s right for you.

Overview of Sculptra

Not to be confused with CoolSculpting, Sculptra is a type of dermal filler injection manufactured by the pharmaceutical and aesthetic company Dermik Laboratories. It uses a proprietary formula of the compound poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) to improve the appearance of skin. Sculptra is injected directly into the skin, at which point the formulated PLLA fills the surrounding area.

Like other dermal fillers, Sculptra is injected into the skin for cosmetic purposes. It’s designed to “fill” the skin, thereby making it fuller and more plump. Sculptra is unique, however, because of its formula. It uses a specific type of PLLA that’s not found in other dermal fillers. There are other dermal fillers on the market, but you won’t find Sculptra’s proprietary PLLA formula used anywhere else.

Sculptra essentially consists of many small beads of PLAA. PLAA is manufactured in a laboratory, after which it’s packaged and sold for use in Sculptra injections.

Is Sculptra Safe?

You can rest assured knowing that Sculptra is safe. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved PLLA for the treatment of lipoatrophy. People who suffer from lipoatrophy have low levels of fat in their skin, which in turn makes wrinkles and fine lines more visible (among other things). Because of its ability to create fuller, plumper-looking skin, PLLA is an effective form of treatment for lipoatrophy. In the years to follow, the FDA approved Sculptra to treat wrinkles.

PLLA is considered a biocompatible substance, meaning it’s harmless to living tissue. The term “biocompatibility” refers to a substance’s behavior with living tissue. Substances that are biocompatible, such as Sculptra’s PLLA, are safe and nontoxic to living tissue. In comparison, substances that aren’t biocompatible may damage or otherwise harm living tissue. As a biocompatible — and even biodegradable — substance, Sculptra’s PLAA is safe and nontoxic.

Sculptra Minimizes the Appearance of Wrinkles and Fine Lines

If you suffer from wrinkles and fine lines, Sculptra may help restore your skin’s youthful appearance. Several factors play a role in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors, you may develop wrinkles from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light contains free radicals that break down skin cells, resulting in the formation of wrinkles. People who smoke are also more likely to develop wrinkles. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic. Some of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke act as free radicals themselves to promote skin wrinkles.

Most people will develop at least some wrinkles and fine lines simply from aging. Your skin will become naturally drier and thinner as you grow older. When this occurs, wrinkles and fine lines may form. There’s no way to stop the hands of time, but Sculptra can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Whether your wrinkles are the result of UV light exposure, aging or any other reason, Sculptra may be the answer. The PLLA-based dermal filler will distribute itself in the surrounding skin tissue to conceal otherwise visible wrinkles and fine lines.

Sculptra Increases Volume and Fullness

In addition to minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, Sculptra can increase the volume and fullness of your skin. Even if you have few or no wrinkles, you may suffer from thin skin. When your skin loses its collagen (see below), it becomes thinner and more frail.

The good news is that Sculptra has been proven to increase the volume and fullness of skin. After all, it’s a dermal filler, so it’s able to “fill” the surrounding skin tissue to create a plumper texture. When Sculptra is injected into your skin, the micro-sized PLLA beads will distribute themselves. The end result is increased volume and fullness.

Sculptra Promotes Collagen Production

As we age, the collagen content in our skin decreases. Research shows, in fact, that the average person loses about 1% of his or her collagen per year after the age of 18. Based on these numbers, the average 40-year-old man or woman will have nearly one-quarter less collagen compared to when he or she was 18 years old. Collagen, of course, is the single most abundant protein in the body. Although it’s found in most connectives tissues, including ligaments and muscles, it’s particularly abundant in the skin. This essential protein is what gives skin its elasticity. Without collagen or with low level of collagen, skin won’t be able to stretch, which may lead to more wrinkles and scars.

One of the differences between Sculptra is other dermal fillers is that Sculptra doesn’t just increase the volume and fullness of your skin; it promotes the natural production of collagen in your body. The PLLA used in Sculptra acts as a catalyst for the production of collagen. When injected your skin, it will stimulate your body to produce more collagen. Your body will respond to the PLLA by producing more collagen in the areas of your skin where the substance was injected.

There are plenty of collagen supplements on the market, but they don’t stimulate the production of collagen. As a result, their effects are minimal at best. Sculptra, on the other hand, encourages your body to produce its own collagen. As the collagen content in your skin increases, you’ll experience stronger, more elastic skin. This is just one more reason to consider Sculptra if you are suffering from skin problems.

What to Expect During a Sculptra Session

Now that you know what Sculptra is used for, you might be wondering what a typical session consists of. During a typical Sculptra session, a numbing cream will first be applied to the areas of your skin where the injections will occur. Next, the Sculptra PLLA will be injected into your skin. After all the injections have been performed, your skin will be massaged — a process that helps to distribute the PLLA and, therefore, improve its results.

You’ll probably notice an immediate improvement in the volume, fullness and overall appearance of your skin immediately after the first series of Sculptra injections have been performed. However, you won’t see the actual effects of Sculptra until about four weeks afterwards. The results should continue to improve for up to six months.

Keep in mind that Sculptra doesn’t offer permanent results. Although there are exceptions, it typically lasts for about two years. You can retain the results, however, by scheduling follow-up appointments for multiple Sculptra sessions.

In Conclusion

Sculptra is a brand of dermal filler that uses a proprietary formula of PLLA. It’s used primarily to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, increase the volume and fullness of skin, and to stimulate the production of collagen. If you suffer from any of these skin problems, you should consider Sculptra. It’s a safe and effective type of dermal filler that can rejuvenate your skin back to its youthful appearance.

Want to learn more about Sculptra? Request a free consultation today!