You’ve heard of injectable fillers and are considering them for your own skin concerns, but you don’t know where to start, and you’re wary of fillers that might give your skin too much volume. The alternative is Sculptra, an injectable that doesn’t fill but instead stimulates collagen synthesis. If you’re wondering how this is possible, the staff at Kagan Institute Vision & Aesthetics in LA are happy to give more information.
Can You Restore Collagen in the Face with Sculptra?
We’ll start by saying this injectable is made with poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), an important fact because it is this ingredient that reacts within the body to incite collagen production. Essentially, this three-step process comprises the following steps:
- The injectable’s carrier substance gets absorbed by the body
- PLLA particles cause an inflammatory response within the body’s cells
- Inflammation breaks down PLLA molecules and stimulates collagen production under the skin
Collagen occurs naturally throughout the body. In the skin, it’s synthesized in the dermis, or the second layer, sandwiched between the surface (epidermis) and the deepest layer (hypodermis). This placement is not incidental; thick strands of collagen weave with thinner strands of elastin to form a supple, flexible network that gives skin its underlying structure. In abundance, these two proteins keep your face smooth and wrinkle-free.
The Unkind Hands of Time
You might liken this concept to a woven basket, wherein each piece is crucial to the basket’s integrity. Once one strand becomes weak, those around it quickly follow suit. Soon, the basket can no longer function in the way it’s intended.
The same is true of skin. Intrinsic aging, the natural process that occurs independently of outside influences, reduces collagen by 1 percent every year after age 20. Elastin production also slows, and glycosaminoglycans that keep the skin hydrated form in smaller numbers. As a result of these factors, wrinkles become visible.
It is the process of extrinsic aging that causes even more damage. This is the process of skin degradation caused by external factors like UV rays, tobacco use, and pollution exposure. Extrinsic aging is responsible for sunspots, freckles, and extreme loss of elastin and collagen. When combined with the effects of intrinsic aging, the skin develops deep wrinkles, uneven tone, and rough patches.
Collagen Is the Answer
The best way to restore skin’s health is to amplify collagen production. While this might sound difficult – after all, how do you recharge internal body processes? – the solution is easy. Sculptra can correct common signs of aging from the top to the bottom of your face, including:
- Add volume to hollowed temples
- Lift and define cheeks
- Smooth nasolabial folds
- Plump undereye hollows
- Define the jawline
- Smooth chin dimples and creases
- Contour the jowls
What This Treatment Does
Here, we’ll take a closer look at how treatment rejuvenates your appearance, starting with wrinkles and fine lines. For many patients, these first develop in the chin and around the mouth. By boosting collagen production, treatment helps repair the skin’s supportive structure. Once it’s back in place, that structure naturally plumps the skin to reduce or diminish lines and wrinkles.
Treatment also softens the appearance of protruding bones in your face, yet another effect of aging. Time causes the skin to thin and underlying fat tissues to gradually shrink and slide downward, as often happens in areas like the cheeks. This increases the visibility of your bones and causes the face to look sharper and older than it should. But Sculptra restores fullness to treatment sites and thickens skin so you look fresher and more youthful.
Plumps Shallow Parts
Hollow areas can distort your face shape and take away from your most becoming features. In the temples, for example, skin often looks thin and depressed. Adding volume to these areas can make a subtle but impactful difference in your overall appearance. Sculptra accomplishes this but also prevents the overfilled look that similar injectables can give.
The difference is in how various injectables work. Many rely on their gel-like textures to plump skin from underneath. They work, and they can beautifully enhance your facial structure. But Sculptra relies on nature’s renewal processes to add volume and elasticity. In this way, the body never overfills or overdoes the results, ensuring instead that all areas of the face remain proportionate to each other.
Helps Delay Further Signs of Aging
It stands to reason that with each passing year, you continue to look just a little older. Ramping up collagen production, however, helps stall this process. You can revive your face now and slow the aging process for the future. This holds true for as long as you continue with treatment, allowing you to look younger for longer.
Why Not Choose Topical Products With Collagen?
Any number of products on the market today promise to bolster your body’s collagen levels. Supplements that are animal-derived claim to strengthen and plump skin, but this statement remains controversial. When a supplement is ingested, the body doesn’t deliver its nutrients to the place that needs them most, such as the face. This means the proteins can get used elsewhere long before they reach facial skin.
The dosage of supplements is similarly problematic. Studies show that getting the collagen needed from ingestion would require much higher doses than that available from powders or pills. Worst case scenario, these supplements might be nothing more than money wasters.
The same controversy surrounds topical creams and lotions that claim to deliver collagen in a more targeted way – to the face. But the question remains whether topical collagen penetrates deep enough below the skin’s surface to provide any real benefit. Many believe it does little except slightly moisturizing the skin.
Finally, the use of peptides has grown in popularity over recent years, but nothing indicates they make it beyond the skin’s surface. The skin is an organ designed to notify the immune system when it encounters infectious agents. Getting past this barrier is therefore difficult to do. Many topical products don’t deliver on their promises because they sit on the surface; others are made with subpar ingredients that lack the ability to improve your skin.
Comparing This Treatment to Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Sculptra allows us to control collagen synthesis to provide natural-looking results. While two or three sessions may be necessary to yield the desired outcomes, effects can last for several years. In one study, 40 percent of patients reported still feeling pleased with their outcomes three years after treatment. This is a notable advantage that explains why so many people choose this injectable over others.
Speaking of others, you might be wondering if all dermal fillers are the same or even similar. The short answer is no, they’re not. Many popular fillers, including Juvederm and Restylane, contain hyaluronic acid (HA) as their active ingredient. HA is yet another substance the body naturally produces, and it’s found in different areas, like between the joints, to serve different purposes.
A Note on Hyaluronic Acid
In the face, HA retains moisture to keep skin hydrated. This helps create the plump and dewy look we enjoy in our youth. Using this substance as an injectable, therefore, seems like a smart choice, and it is. It’s biocompatible with the body, helps plump and hydrates your skin, and visibly reduces the signs of aging.
But HA is not without its flaws. It requires a careful application to prevent lumps and bumps from forming in treatment sites. And results don’t last as long as with PLLA; the outcomes of most HA fillers recede within 12 to 18 months, so you’ll need routine maintenance appointments.
Which Is Better for You?
The comparison between HA and PLLA injectables comes down to personal preference. It is important to note that results with HA develop much more quickly than those with PLLA. This is because HA gels do the filling, volumizing, and contouring themselves. PLLA, on the other hand, stimulates collagen, and this process can take several weeks to get up to speed. Results then continue to gradually show in the coming months.
So, a question to ask yourself might be: do you want faster results that dissipate within a year-and-a-half, or slower results that remain for several years? If you’re struggling with that answer, here’s another consideration: do you prefer subtle and natural enhancements, as provided by PLLA, or do you want more visible boosts like those HA fillers can give?
What You Need to Know
One of the biggest selling points with Sculptra is that nobody will know you’ve had work done. You won’t go in for treatment on Monday and return to work on Tuesday with higher, plumper cheekbones. Instead, concerns like sunken cheeks and temples will steadily look fuller. This approach is preferred by many patients who worry about receiving too much filler or aren’t quite sold on the ways a filler can benefit them.
With time, this treatment can improve your skin’s overall health as well as your face shape. Let’s start with skin tone, which obviously changes as we age. You can try to even out redness and hyperpigmentation with cosmetics, but these cannot restore the inherent glow that fades with time. Collagen can, however, by promoting cell turnover.
What Is Cell Turnover?
This is the body’s natural process of eliminating dead skin cells and pushing new to the surface. An accumulation of dead cells is responsible for the dull and lackluster complexion that seems inevitable with age. But collagen supports cell turnover, which essentially works like exfoliation on auto reset; the continued revival of new cells will help restore your glow.
Cell turnover also helps to minimize scars caused by acne, surgery, and other common issues. Collagen even goes one step further and promotes the formation of strong, healthy tissues. This allows damaged skin cells at the surface to more quickly be replaced with fresh cells.
We often rely on external ointments to moisturize our skin, but true hydration starts from within. Each collagen unit is a triple helix with exactly 1050 amino acids wound together. Repetitive water bridges also comprise each triple helix, meaning that the formation of collagen necessarily brings more hydration to the skin’s tissues. This is good news for patients seeking a more radiant appearance, because Sculptra can provide it.
Improved Undereye Circles
Many times, dark undereye circles are caused by diminished collagen levels. By restoring these levels, we help banish dark circles and give eyes a brighter and more prominent appearance.
The Alternative to Dermal Fillers
This injectable appears to be just another dermal filler, but it’s not. Through targeted collagen synthesis, it helps your face look fuller, softer, and smoother in a very natural way. And long-lasting results mean you won’t need to return to our office for frequent maintenance sessions. Instead, you can enjoy your more youthful appearance and get on with life. Call Kagan Institute Vision & Aesthetics in Los Angelos, CA, to schedule your appointment.