Are you unhappy with what you see in the mirror? Do you look tired and haggard, even after a good night’s sleep? The gradual loss of fat in your face, something experts refer to as a loss of facial volume, can age your appearance just as much as lines and wrinkles do. Fortunately, there are treatments you can turn to that restore plump, youthful contours to your face. Sculptra, a non-invasive treatment that triggers a natural rejuvenation of the face through collagen development, is an increasingly popular option. It’s one of the many cosmetic treatments offered at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA.
What Happens When a Face Loses Volume?
Facial sagging and volume loss is a natural part of the aging process, and it starts much earlier than you think. Some studies have shown that by the age of 35, many of us have already lost about 10 percent of the fat in our faces. That process continues as we move into middle age. You may notice that your cheeks are flatter than they used to be, and maybe your eyelids are sagging. In some patients, the face takes on a gaunt, tired look. These are all signs that the face is losing the fat that gives it volume. Sun damage and yo-yo dieting, which can erode the skin’s elasticity, also contribute to a loss of facial volume.
How Can Sculptra Help?
Sculptra is an injectable treatment that spurs the body to produce more collagen, which helps to replace the lost volume in a patient’s face. Because it can take several months for collagen to be produced, this treatment is not a fast fix. It’s also not a solution for filling or fixing a specific wrinkle or fold. Instead, this treatment gradually rejuvenates the face by restoring volume to places where it once was. This treatment is sometimes referred to as a fluid facelift because of its ability to lift and brighten the face without surgical intervention. The rejuvenating effects of this treatment are usually seen throughout the face.
How Long Do Benefits Last?
Outcomes vary from patient to patient, but the results from this treatment can last as long as two years. Many patients need several treatments to fully address their facial volume loss, and the results develop gradually during the months after initial treatment. Patients like the gradual appearance of their results, because it means they never suddenly look like they went and “had work done.” After the initial series of treatments, patients usually schedule one injection session a year to maintain their results.
How Does It Work?
The injection contains Poly-L-Lactic Acid, a synthetic biodegradable polymer that is also used in dissolvable sutures. The injection ramps up the body’s natural collagen production in the treatment area. The Poly-L-Lactic Acid gradually fades from the body over time as the patient’s own plumped up tissue takes its place.
What Is the Treatment Like?
The cheeks, temples, chin, and jawline are among the most common areas where injections take place. We’ll start by applying a topical numbing cream to the treatment area. The injection will also be mixed with lidocaine, a numbing medication, to make it more comfortable.
The treatment will be injected under the skin, and the treatment area will then be massaged to distribute the Poly-L-Lactic Acid. Each treatment takes no more than an hour, and patients are able to get right back to their regular schedule afterward. Some patients even schedule their appointments during their lunch hour.
What Should I Do After Treatment?
A few hours after your treatment, you’ll be able to reapply makeup if you wish. During the 24 hours immediately following your treatment, we recommend applying an ice pack to the treatment area several times. We also recommend avoiding direct sun exposure or tanning beds for several days.
Probably the most important part of your aftercare involves massage. During the five days after treatment, patients should massage the treatment area five times a day for five minutes at a time. This massage, which should involve mid-pressure rubbing around the injection sites, helps distribute the Poly-L-Lactic Acid.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
We’ll develop a customized treatment plan that takes into account your individual needs. Many patients undergo a series of three treatments that are spaced out over a few months. The number of injections during each session varies depending on the individual’s needs.
Is There Any Risk of Allergic Reaction?
Because this treatment is entirely synthetic, it will not cause an allergic reaction.
Good Candidates for Treatment
This treatment is safe and effective for men and women with all skin types and tones, but there are several signs that you may be an especially good candidate.
You’ve Lost a Significant Amount of Volume in Your Face
The best candidates are those who are looking for a significant boost to the volume in their face. In many cases, these are patients who have lost a moderate to severe amount of facial volume because of the aging process or because they’ve lost a lot of weight.
Although most individuals are highly satisfied with their results, this treatment does require patience. The results of this treatment take several months to develop, and the ideal candidate understands and is comfortable with that process.
You’re Willing to Keep Up With the Massage
Daily self-massaging is a recommended part of your care after the injections because it can prevent the formation of small bumps in the treatment area.
You Don’t Have Certain Underlying Health Conditions
This treatment is not recommended for those who are immunocompromised or for those who are pregnant or currently breastfeeding. It’s also not recommended for those who are prone to keloids or hypertrophic scarring. If you are taking blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications, share that information with us during your consultation so that we can determine if this treatment is right for you. This treatment is intended for patients who are at least 18 years of age.
You’re Looking for a Non-Invasive Treatment
If you’d like to restore volume to your face, but you’d rather not undergo surgery or another invasive procedure, this treatment is an excellent option. A series of easy injections performed in our office is all that’s needed to achieve the refreshed look you want.
Your Skin Is Healthy
It’s best if the skin in the treatment area is healthy. If you are experiencing a rash or outbreaks in your treatment area, we may recommend postponing your session.
What Makes It Different
Derma fillers have become a popular way to smooth lines, fill creases, and otherwise rejuvenate an aging face. But Sculptra is not a traditional cosmetic filler. In fact, there are several ways in which it’s different.
It’s Not a Quick Fix
This treatment doesn’t deliver results as quickly as some other injectables. That’s because the injection itself doesn’t plump up the face. Instead, it stimulates collagen production, which takes time. The great thing about this treatment is that it spurs your body to do the work needed to build facial volume, which means your results are very natural in appearance. But you have to be patient while this process takes place.
It Delivers Long-Lasting, Natural Results
The results from this treatment may appear gradually, but once they are present, they will last for two years or more. And because the results are driven by your own collagen, your face will appear youthful and refreshed. In fact, many patients find that this treatment smooths and improves the overall texture of their skin.
Do you keep a fairly busy schedule? Would you rather not have to worry about maintaining your look with regular follow-up appointments? Then this treatment is for you. Once you’ve completed a few initial sessions, which will take place over a period of months, you’ll be able to enjoy long-lasting results. For some patients, a once-yearly followup treatment is all that is needed to keep their results in tip-top shape.
How Does It Compare to Other Facial Treatments?
There are a number of cosmetic treatments available that rejuvenate the appearance of the face. But not every treatment works in the same way, and not every treatment will properly address a patient’s unique cosmetic needs.
Juvederm and Restylane
Juvederm and Restylane, two other fillers offered by our practice, are injectable treatments designed to treat mild to moderate facial lines and wrinkles. Both offer results that are more immediate than Sculptra, but they don’t last quite as long. Restylane lasts about 10 months, while Juvederm lasts closer to a year. Both Juvederm and Restylane are comprised of hyaluronic acid, a sugary substance found naturally in the body that supports the skin. Hyaluronic acid tends to decline in the body over time because of the aging process, sun exposure, and if smoking is a habit. These fillers replace that lost acid.
Botox, which is also offered by our practice, is part of a class of injectable treatments known as neuromodulators. These treatments rely on toxins that prevent certain facial muscles from fully contracting. As a result, the facial lines created by those muscle contractions become much less noticeable. Neuromodulators are ideal for treating crow’s feet, frown lines, upper lip creases, and other lines that form as a result of repetitive facial motions. Neuromodulators don’t improve facial volume, but by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, they still offer patients a refreshed look.
How Can I Get Started?
The first step is to call our office and schedule a consultation where we’ll review your health history, your underlying medical conditions, any medications you are currently taking, and your cosmetic goals. During this appointment, we’ll determine if this is the best treatment option for you or if another treatment should be considered. After that, it’s just a matter of scheduling your treatment.
Your treatment will be overseen by Dr. Donna Nunnally, a Baton Rouge native. Dr. Nunnally earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her medical degree from the LSU School of Medicine. She completed her internship at Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation and her dermatology residency at LSU School of Medicine. Dr. Nunnally is Board Certified as a Diplomat of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a Fellow of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.
Schedule Treatment Today
If you’re ready to turn back the clock and enjoy fuller, refreshed facial features, our practice can help. With Sculptra treatments, we can offer our patients natural results that develop over time and don’t require extensive maintenance. You won’t ever have to worry about looking artificial or overdone, either. Call Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA today and schedule a Sculptra consultation.