There are many reasons why our skin can sag and droop. You may have loose skin from aging, or loose skin after significant weight loss. While sagging skin is natural, we may still want to tighten up those areas of loose skin.
There are many different types of treatments and injectables that are available on the market and in your local dermatologists office. Sculptra is a fairly new brand of injectable that has been gaining popularity and excitement in dermatology offices around the country. We’ve made this ultimate guide for Sculptra to help you gain a better understanding of how the product works.
What is Sculptra?
Sculptra is an FDA approved injectable drug made of an acid called poly-L-lactic. Sculptra is different from other injectable products such as Botox and Dysport, because it is considered a bio-activator, not a filler. A bio-activator like Sculptra stimulates collagen growth, whereas a filler (like Botox), injects a substance into the treatment area that fills up the space.
It’s important to understand what collagen does for the skin. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin a healthy, youthful look. It plays an important role in strengthening your skin. As you get older, your body produces less collagen, which is why you get loose skin and more wrinkles.
Sculptra is able to stimulate collagen production, and a round of treatments can last up to two years or more.
How long does a Sculptra treatment last?
Sculptra works differently than other injectables like Botox and Dysport. Results from a Sculptra treatment are not immediate. Results typically take between 4-6 months to show, depending on various factors like your age (the younger you are, the quicker results show) and the volume loss (drooping) on your skin. According to studies, it takes about 9 months for full results to show.
Results take longer to show compared to Botox and Dysport because the drug: poly-L-lactic acid works differently. Poly-L-lactic acid acts as a collagen growth starter. The drug kick starts the process for your body to self-produce collagen.
Your doctor will determine how many injections you will need to achieve the desired results. On average, patients receive 3-4 injections spread out over three to four months.
What does Sculptra treat?
Sculptra is popular for treating saggy/droopy skin, wrinkles and lines. The most common area of treatment is in the face, but the drug has been used to treat other areas of the body such as the chest and the arms.
If you experience hollowness (around the eyes), loss of volume (in the face), droopy/loose skin, laugh-lines, jawline sagging, or chin wrinkles, you may consider getting a Sculptra treatment.
How do Sculptra butt lifts work?
If you are interested in enhancing the shape and curve of your butt, consider doing a Sculptra butt lift. Compared to other butt lift procedures such as Brazilian butt lifts, silicone injections, and silicone implants, Sculptra patients see a significant, positive change in butt shapes, while undergoing minimally invasive treatments.
Sculptra works similarly on the butt as with other parts of the body. The drug: poly-L-lactic acid, is injected into the butt and kick starts the collagen building process. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin structure and shape. The collagen rebuilding process can take a few months depending on factors such as age and butt drooping. You may require multiple injections over a period of time, depending on the suggestions of your doctor. But a round of Sculptra treatments lasts for about two years.
While there isn’t a lot of clinical data for Sculptra butt lifts (because it is not FDA approved), patients in general have submitted positive feedback of their results.
What happens pre-treatment?
It’s important to find a dermatologist that you can trust to do Sculptra treatment.
Your dermatologist should be board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Here’s are some questions you may ask to find the best dermatologist for you:
- How much experience do you have with Sculptra treatments?
- What is your experience with my condition; have you treated my condition before?
- Do you have before and after pictures of clients for the procedure I am interested in getting?
- What are possible side effects?
- What does the recovery process look like?
- How many sessions will I need for this treatment?
There is no specific pre-treatment care required for Sculptra. During your initial consultation, you will be asked to provide a complete medical history that includes information such as medical conditions and allergies.
Following your consultation your doctor will provide you with any specific instructions before your Sculptra treatment.
What happens during your Sculptra treatment?
During the treatment, your doctor will first locate the injection sites on your skin. They will then cleanse the area, and possibly apply a topical numbing ointment to reduce any discomfort from the injection.
The Sculptra filler will then be injected beneath the skin, and then the doctor will massage the injection site to make sure the Poly-L-Lactic acid is properly distributed across the treatment area.
Following the injection, you should be able to resume all normal activities. If needed, your doctor will provide you with specific post-care instructions.
What are the risks and side effects for Sculptra treatment?
The most common side effects following a Sculptra injection are:
Side effects typically last anywhere from one to two weeks.
Some patients may develop small lumps (granulomas) under the skin following the treatment that may become permanent. However, the risk of developing lumps are small (7 to 9 percent according to a 2015 study).
Risks of lumps are typically related to the accuracy of the injection, which is why it is important to find a trusted professional.
What’s the recovery time for Sculptra?
You can resume almost all normal activities following your Sculptra treatment. There may be some mild side effects such as swelling, redness, and bruising, but these effects should disappear within a few days. You may apply a cold pack to the treated area to reduce swelling.
It is important to massage the treated area 5 times a day, for 5 minutes, for 5 days after your injection. The purpose of this is to properly disperse the drug throughout the treated area to prevent nodules from forming.
Results may take a few weeks to show. This is because the collagen building process takes time. You may feel frustrated, but be patient. Once the full effects of the drug take place, results can last up to two years.
Sculptra is a promising option for people with saggy and droopy skin. The drug works differently than other injectables, like Botox, because it kick starts a natural healing process for your body to self-heal aged skin.
Treatment can be on the expensive side ($1,500 – $3,500 for an average round of treatments), but results last for up to two years.
Sculptra can be used to treat skin throughout the body, as it adds definition to areas that have lost its volume (such as the face and the butt).
If you are interested in Sculptra, find a trusted dermatologist and schedule a consultation to determine if the drug is right for you.