What Is Sculptra and How Is It Different From Other Fillers?

September 22, 2023
Reading Time: 6 mins
what is sculptra, sculpra fillers for cheek wrinkless, smile lines, marionette lines. BodyTonic medspa

When it comes to fighting the signs of aging, dermal fillers have become one of the most popular choices... which isn’t surprising given their incredible results, ease of application, lack of downtime, and lack of risks. 

But not all fillers are the same, and Sculptra – in particular – is a unique type of filler that is steadily and rapidly increasing in popularity for reasons that will become very clear… 

So what is Sculptra and why is it so great? 

Sculptra is a filler that’s not really a “filler” at all, in as much as it doesn’t fill out facial lines or areas of lost volume in the same way as other dermal fillers. 

Instead, Sculptra works with your body to help rebuild lost collagen, gradually and naturally “re-filling” the targeted areas over time, and with far longer-lasting results than other similar treatments. 

It can also be used just about anywhere on the body, so it’s not only an optimal solution for keeping your face looking as youthful as possible, but you can use it to fill out hip dips, reduce cellulite, get a “Sculptra butt lift”, and much more. 

Ready to find out more about this amazing treatment? Read on…

What is Sculptra?

Sculptra® is an FDA-approved injectable that is classed as a filler, but works in a very different way to other dermal fillers. And how it works all comes down to collagen – the building block of our skin. 

As soon as we hit the age of 20, we start to lose collagen at a rate of about 1% per year. This means that by the time we reach 45, we’ve already lost 25% of our natural collagen! Given that collagen is the protein that helps maintain skin’s shape while also keeping it smooth and hydrated, this natural collagen loss is by far one of the biggest causes behind signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of skin elasticity and volume. 

Sculptra works by addressing, and reversing, this loss of collagen… 

Sculptra is a gel-like substance made of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) – a biocompatible, biodegradable, synthetic material that’s also used in surgical stitches. PLLA is also a collagen stimulator, which is what makes it so effective as an anti-aging treatment. 

The Sculptra filler is injected deep into the skin’s dermal layer, where it is absorbed by the body and then gets to work gradually reinforcing your skin’s structure and stimulating the production of new collagen. 

As new collagen develops, this leads to a gradual and natural restoration of volume to the cheeks, lower face, or other treated areas, as wrinkles and folds start to fill out, and overall skin texture dramatically improves. 

Best of all, results are not only highly noticable, but they are incredibly natural and last for over two years. Already easy to see why it’s so popular, isn’t it?

Where on the body can you benefit from Sculptra? 

Sculptra is most commonly used on the face to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and folds, and improve overall skin quality. 

Sculptra is FDA-approved for the cheeks and lower face, thanks to its clinically proven results in smoothing out cheek wrinkles, smile lines, and marionette lines. However, its uses extend far beyond only that, and it’s now used to treat most areas of the face, with the only exceptions being the lips and the eyes.

But Sculptra’s benefits aren’t limited to just the face. It’s increasingly used to target a variety of concerns across the entire body, including: 

  • reducing the appearance of cellulite
  • addressing crepey skin on the arms or other parts of the body
  • minimizing wrinkles on the chest, elbow, knee, and more
  • filling out “hip dips” to create a smoother hour-glass shape
  • lifting the buttocks (popularly known as the “non-surgical Sculptra butt lift”)
  • and generally rejuvenating any other part of the body suffering from the effects of aging and collagen reduction

The only areas where Sculptra typically isn’t used are around the lips and eyes, with traditional dermal fillers such as Juvederm being better suited to these areas. 

But if you want a natural, long-lasting, and noticeable rejuvenation of your face, Sculptra for the cheeks and lower-face areas is undeniably one of the best options available, and the results really do speak for themselves… 

How is Sculptra different from other fillers? 

Although both are types of fillers, a Sculptra filler is very different from traditional dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Radiesse. 

Both are designed to address lost volume in the skin, reduce the appearance of lines, folds, and wrinkles, and subtly augment the shape and appearance of the face or other targeted area. They are also both gel-like substances that are injected into the skin. But that’s where the similarities end. 

The main difference is that Sculptra stimulates the natural production of collagen, making it a more natural treatment. 

Made from poly-L-lactic acid, Sculptra is known as an injectable biostimulator. It’s injected underneath the skin deep into the dermal layer, where it is absorbed into the tissues and then works in unison with the body to stimulate a natural production of new collagen. 

Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are made of Hyaluronic acid in a liquid form that’s designed to hold its shape rather than be absorbed by the body. They don’t stimulate any collagen production or other natural processes, and are instead designed to instantly replace missing volume in the injected area.

The results of dermal fillers are therefore immediately visible, whereas Sculptra’s effects develop gradually over the course of a few months, as the collagen starts to build up. Sculptra also typically needs 3 injections over the period of a few months to see the desired results, rather than the immediate results from just one standard filler injection. However, the effects of Sculptra last well over 2 years, whereas dermal fillers typically only last about 6 to 12 months.

Two other notable differences are that Hyaluronic acid fillers are dissolvable should you want to reverse the effects, whereas Sculptra fillers are not. However, as long as you’ve used a reputable and licensed provider, there’s no reason you should want to reverse the effects of Sculptra given it’s a gradual and natural-looking rejuvenation of your face, utilizing your body’s natural processes. 

Essentially, Sculptra addresses the underlying cause of facial aging, rather than just the symptoms, with results that are gradual, natural, and longer-lasting. Whereas other dermal fillers only address the symptoms of aging, with results that are immediate and instantly noticable, but more temporary.  

Results you can expect from Sculptra

As we already mentioned, the results of Sculptra appear over time. But that doesn’t mean the results aren’t noticeable… far from it!

As with all other injectables, one of the benefits of this treatment is its overall ease. 

As a non-surgical and minimally invasive procedure, it's quick, painless, and there’s next to no downtime. You need to avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after your injection, but otherwise can carry on with your normal routine straight after your appointment. 

You may experience some initial redness, tenderness, and light swelling, but nothing significant. The initial swelling can in fact give the impression of instant skin-plumpening and smoothing results, so don’t be disappointed when this dissipates after a day or two!

The full results of Sculptra start to appear after a few weeks, and continue to improve – slowly and steadily – for a number of months. In fact, this is one of the joys of this treatment that most patients comment on: how gradually and naturally your face starts to regain its youthful radiance. Rather than look noticeably different from one day to the next, you will simply start to bask more and more frequently in compliments about how great, fresh-faced, healthy, and young you are looking!

Sculptra fillers typically require 3 injections initially, but the results then last anywhere from 2 to 4 years. You can then schedule maintenance injections at annual intervals, or as otherwise recommended by your practitioner, to maintain the effects even longer. 

Sculptra fillers at BodyTonic med spa Cleveland 

Already convinced that Sculptra is the right treatment for you? Or still not sure? Ultimately it will depend on the results you’re after, but if you want a noticeable and long-term natural rejuvenation of your face or body, chances are it’ll be just the treatment you’ve been looking for. 

That said, in some cases traditional dermal fillers may be more suited – or even other skin-rejuvenation treatments entirely, or a combination of different treatments. For this reason, it’s always best to speak to a qualified practitioner so you can get the very best advice that’s tailored to your own needs and goals. 

If you live or work in the Cleveland area, come and see us at BodyTonic Med Spa for a completely free, no-obligation consultation in which we’ll explain exactly what you can expect from a Sculptra treatment, or if there are other treatments we’d recommend to better meet your skin goals. 

Book your consultation today, and get ready to start basking in those glorious compliments about your glowing appearance. 


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