Taking care of your body and skin every day isn’t always enough to stave off the effects aging can have on your appearance. While a consistent care regimen can help maintain the health of your skin, it can’t reverse the signs of aging like lines, wrinkles and folds—for that you need the expertise of a trained and experienced professional. Call the offices of Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica, CA for a consultation and to discuss the rejuvenating effects of Sculptra.
What Is Sculptra?
Sculptra is a different kind of injectable. Dermal fillers and neuromodulators have historically been the “go-to” for diminishing and eliminating the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and folds. Sculptra is innovative because it causes the body to create its own collagen, making it a “volumizer” instead of a filler. It’s injected into areas of concern just like a filler, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Unlike most dermal fillers that are made from a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid—the sugar our bodies make to lubricate and hydrate our skin—Sculptra is made of poly-L-lactic acid crystals. Poly-L-lactic acid is a biocompatible, biodegradable material that’s been used for decades in dissolvable stitches and soft tissue implants.
Once injected deep into the skin, the body slowly absorbs it. Over the next four to six weeks, Sculptra crystals stimulate collagen production deep in the skin’s foundation, leading to a stronger structure and more support. This creates the natural fullness and volume associated with a youthful-looking appearance.
Why Is Collagen Important?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up one-third of all our proteins. It is a sturdy, fibrous protein with molecules that turn into long, thin structures that anchor cells to each other. Our skin is 80% collagen, which is responsible for its strength and elasticity. When we’re under 30, the collagen in the middle layers of our skin is the network for new cell growth and restoration.
Around age 30, our collagen production starts a steady decline. As we produce less collagen, the support system that was so strong in our youth breaks down, leaving small collapsed areas under our skin. Gravity causes the surface of our skin to fall into those collapsed areas, creating wrinkles and folds.
There is a growing trend around collagen supplements and skin creams. The collagen molecules, though, are too large to be absorbed by the skin, so they only serve to moisturize. When we take collagen as a supplement, our bodies just see it as a protein, so it doesn’t affect the structure of our skin any more than any other ingested protein. The only way to rebuild and strengthen the structure of our skin is to stimulate its production within its layers.
Why Does Collagen Production Decline?
Most of it just has to do with the aging process, though there are other factors. Smoking and sun damage are the two major lifestyle choices people make that exponentially speed up the breakdown of collagen. Consuming too much sugar or alcohol can also speed up the process. Stress takes a toll on your skin just like it does every other organ in your body, so managing stress throughout your life will do your entire body good, not just your skin.
Genetics plays a role in how much collagen your body produces in every stage of our lives and how our rate of collagen declines. If your parents aged fairly quickly without a lot of negative lifestyle choices, there’s an unfortunate chance you will too. Knowing we can’t stop the breakdown of collagen, there are things we can do to slow it down.
Wear sunscreen every time you’re exposed to the sun. Making sunscreen a part of your daily routine, even when you’re staying indoors, is the best bang for your skincare buck. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, never smoking and refraining from too much alcohol can further help your collagen levels stay steady for as long as possible. Once the signs of aging appear, it may be time for professional intervention.
How Sculptra Can Help
If your skin is showing the signs of aging like lines, wrinkles, folds, and lost volume, Sculptra is the best non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment to kick-start your body into rebuilding its structure. Once collagen production is at its peak, your skin will smooth from the inside out. You’ll regain volume in areas that have hollowed, and wrinkles and folds will gradually fill in with stronger new skin cells.
Clients love the subtlety of results. You’ll never be asked about work you’ve had done, just how you maintain such a youthful complexion. Areas of concern effectively treated are:
- Nasolabial folds or smile lines
- Chin wrinkles
- Wrinkles around the mouth
There are other, off-label uses that your provider may offer. These will vary from office to office, but there have been positive results using this treatment for:
Non-surgical butt lift
Reduction of cellulite
Reduction of scarring
Knee, elbow, and chest wrinkles
Defining groups of muscles like pectorals, biceps, and triceps
What to Expect
You and your doctor will have an in-depth consultation so she can understand your areas of concern, what your expected outcome is and get a general health history to ensure you’re a good fit. Once you and your doctor have decided Sculptra will be an effective part of your treatment plan, there is no preparation for you to do.
On the day of your appointment, your doctor will cleanse the area to be treated, map the injection sites and apply a topical numbing agent to your skin. The local anesthetic is to ensure your comfort throughout the entire session. A series of small injections will be made to your skin.
Once the treatment is done, there is no downtime, so you should be able to return to your normal daily routine immediately. Your doctor will let you know if she has any specific aftercare instructions for you.
Some people may see a small improvement on the day of treatment, but unlike dermal fillers, this isn’t an immediate result injection. As the crystals from the treatment are absorbed by your body, collagen takes its place and begins strengthening your skin. You’ll see results gradually appear over the next four to six weeks.
If you and your doctor have determined you will need more than one session to achieve your ultimate goals, you’ll go in about six weeks later and the cycle will start again. This time, the collagen that will be formed will layer on top of the collagen your first session produced. Each treatment will create better and more dramatic results.
Another differentiating factor setting this treatment apart from other injectables is the amount of time clients enjoy results: up to two years. Talk with your doctor about the appropriate timeline for follow-up appointments to ensure you get continuous results.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Most adult men and women who are concerned with wrinkles, lines, and volume loss are good candidates. Only your doctor can determine if this is the right treatment for you. A consultation is needed to understand the best course of treatment for your areas of concern and expected outcomes.
This may not be the only treatment recommended to give you the overall aesthetic you want. Other concerns that come with aging can’t be addressed by this treatment alone.
Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are all injectables made from the same protein that, when injected into designated muscles, will prevent or decrease that muscle’s movement. While this is a perfect treatment for the frown lines between the eyebrows and forehead lines, elite doctors can use it for far more than that.
Considered a “brow lift in a bottle”, when correctly placed, these injectables can give you the effect of a lifted, more youthful brow. Other areas of concern these injectables can treat:
- Crow’s feet
- Fine lines under the eyes
- Chin dimpling
- Lipstick lines around the mouth
- Down-turned corners of the mouth
- Horizontal rings on the neck
- Re-shaping the jawline
These injectables offer immediate results and if done by the right doctor can offer results rivaling more invasive procedures. There are many dermal fillers on the market, and each offers its own benefit. The best results are often found using a combination of fillers to address different areas and concerns.
Most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, which is the sugar our bodies create to attract and bind water, making our skin voluminous and smooth. Correct and dynamic usage of these treatments can take years or decades off someone’s appearance. Dermal fillers can address a variety of aging concerns.
Wrinkles and Folds
Several fillers are designed specifically to fill in moderate or severe facial lines and folds. Most commonly treated are the nasolabial folds that run from the nose to the mouth, but fillers can also be used for:
- Marionette lines
- Vertical lines around the mouth
- Forehead lines
- Lines around the upper lip
- Chin wrinkles
We’re not all born with the full lips of our dreams, and aging also causes a thinning of the lips. Dermal fillers can give you the shape and volume you’ve always wanted for yourself. They can also work to correct down-turned corners of the mouth which can make you look sad or angry when you’re not.
There are dermal fillers designed to address the lines on the lips themselves, which have historically been difficult to correct because of the delicate skin involved. A highly skilled doctor can use fillers as an artist’s brush to create the perfect pout for you.
Lost volume can cause areas of your face to look hollow or gaunt. This can also happen on the back of your hands. There are dermal fillers designed to restore youthful volume to areas like the cheeks, temples, and hands. You can also have lift restored to your cheekbones, giving you the sculpted look of a youthful bone structure.
Your doctor may recommend these fillers to give you a more sculpted jawline, stronger cheekbones, and a full chin. You can also soften larger areas of lost volume, all while enjoying no downtime and not needing more invasive procedures.
Choosing an Expert
Once you’ve decided you’d like to address signs of aging that are distracting you from having the self-esteem and confidence you once had or are causing you to be discouraged when you look in the mirror, it’s important to choose a doctor who will partner with you and be just as committed to your results as you are.
Call the office of Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica, CA and New York, NY to schedule a consultation. We offer the finest treatment available with the highest level of attention to detail for each of our clients. Join our elite list of clients who achieve their cosmetic goals under our unparalleled care and service.