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How I Subtly Brought Life Back into My Skin with Sculptra

We were among the first to try this revolutionary skin rejuvenating treatment in the country—here’s how it went

In the world of aesthetics and non-invasive treatments that promise minimal downtime, there is much to be excited about because now, more than ever, we have access to a plethora of choices that actually deliver and are worth every penny. Whether you want subtle improvements and tweaks or something rather more noticeable, there’s a machine or an injection for that! And truly, what a blessing that is, especially for those like myself who want to be more preventative in our approach to aging and reaching our aesthetic goals.


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Having encountered never-before-experienced skin issues arising amid the lockdown years of 2020 to 2022, I had built up quite a few concerns to address, namely skin laxity and dullness, as well as the occasional breakout. Products and treatments that used to work suddenly weren’t as effective, and I had to simplify my routine and discover new tools in order to get actual results. And, if you know me well enough, you know I’ll try anything (even if it hurts!) because I am so keenly interested in the science and technology of aesthetics and skin improvement—as long as I’m a viable candidate, of course. 


When I was offered the opportunity to try Sculptra, an exciting, minimally-invasive injectable treatment that promises subtle improvement over time, my ears automatically perked up. Sculptra is an injectable collagen biostimulator that offers a long-lasting, semi-permanent solution for skin rejuvenation—and I have to admit, I love a treatment that gives me an option to disclose whether or not I’ve “had something done.” 

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Without further ado, here’s what I learned and experienced:


What is Sculptra?

Brought to us by Galderma, a leader in medical aesthetics, Sculptra is a biostimulatory injectable that triggers the body’s natural collagen production with results showing over weeks and months after. It’s actually a product that has been available for almost 20 years now, having been initially formulated and FDA-approved for the treatment of HIV-associated lipoatrophy (fat loss) in the face. Doctors then noticed how effective it was in improving collagen stimulation and volumization in the face and later on explored different applications for it, including aesthetics and creating an overall more youthful-looking appearance.


Sculptra is made from a safe, biocompatible material called poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a substance similar to dissolvable sutures. The formulation basically works to jumpstart the body’s natural process of collagen production, thus restoring skin laxity, volumizing aged skin, and reviving fullness. Once Sculptra is injected, it creates a biostimulatory effect which improves the collagen locally, right below problem areas such as lines, wrinkles, contours, and folds. With this, results tend to show over time and vary per individual but are generally noticeable six to twelve weeks after your initial procedure. The treatment is also very convenient—needing zero downtime while proving to be a longer-lasting solution for skin rejuvenation.

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Sculptra vs. Hyaluronic Fillers

The main difference between Sculptra and your typical dermal fillers, such as hyaluronic (HA) fillers, are the fact that the latter does not create a response within your body to produce collagen. With HA fillers, “what you see is what you get” and you enjoy the tweaks to your appearance immediately. Patients can enjoy the results for as long as the hyaluronic acid lasts or until it completely dissolves—making it ultimately a temporary fix. Moreover, if you are unhappy with your HA fillers, you can inject something called Hyaluronidase to dissolve them.


On the other hand, Sculptra is more permanent and lasts even longer, with improvements lasting beyond your visits to the clinic, for up to 25 months after the initial treatment. The results, however, are subtle and take time, around six weeks to three months after your procedure. Unlike HA fillers, Sculptra gives your body the tools to carry on its natural processes, stimulating long-term collagen production. That being said, Sculptra is a treatment you do not have an option to dissolve. (And, thus, why I strongly suggest you go to a dermatologist you completely trust.)


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My Sculptra Experience and Process

I tried Sculptra last March 29 and was among the first few in the country to try it. The process first starts with a full facial assessment and chart by my assigned dermatologist, Dr. Charrie Ballecer and Dr. Shae Raymundo, guided by head training doctor Dr. Yu Ming Huang. They determined that Sculptra formulation would be injected on my mandible, jowls, and marionette lines, mapping it out before numbing cream was applied onto my skin.


The Sculptra formulation is syrupy and gel-like. I felt minimal discomfort as the formula includes lidocaine, ensuring that the treatment is as painless as possible. My doctors tried two different methods, first addressing my right side through multiple injection points, then second addressing my left side through two injection points only but at different angles. Between the two methods, the latter was noticeably more comfortable for me as the patient and took less time.

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After the procedure was done, the product was massaged into my face for five minutes which was quite pleasant, I have to admit! I experienced minimal soreness, too, and was able to go attend a work event immediately after. While I had an option to wear makeup a few hours after, I opted not to. As mentioned, results of Sculptra take time but the initial injections do mean some swelling and “plumpness” immediately after the procedure… which I loved!


Results

It’s been about six weeks since my first Sculptra procedure and I am satisfied with the effects so far. Sculptra has definitely played a part in improving my skin texture and addressed my concern of dullness.


According to Dr. Huang, the best candidates for Sculptra are those in their mid-30s and up.  “Filipinos typically start losing collagen as early as mid-thirties, when our skin starts to show signs of aging such as wrinkles, sagging, and lackluster complexion. With the launch of Sculptra in the Philippines, people will have better chances of maintaining a natural youthful look and glow,” he shared. 

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While you definitely can take advantage of Sculptra as an effective, preventative measure for skin aging, those in their fifties and sixties can see the most noticeable of results. As a collagen stimulator, it works with your body to add facial fullness and is well-suited for moderate to severe wrinkles and folds. As I’m only in my thirties, my results are extremely subtle yet evident when you look closely. I call it a “Sculptra glow,” and it has made my bare skin look more fresh and glowy than pre-Sculptra. I also am so much more confident to go makeup-free on the days I don’t have to go to the office or attend an event!


Aftercare

To ensure optimal results and gradual, long-lasting effect of Sculptra, it is recommended you follow the post-treatment protocols and aftercare recommendations. This includes massaging the treated area for “five, five, five” which is five minutes, five times a day, for five days after the treatment. If you experience swelling, use an ice pack or iced wrapped in a cloth within the first 24 hours of treatment. As much as possible, avoid sun, UV sunlamp exposure, saunas, and steam rooms, until swelling and redness have subsided.


Interested in trying Sculptra? Ask your dermatologist if Sculptra will work for you. Sculptra® is now available at Galderma partner clinics and is expected to be a game-changer in the field of medical aesthetics in the Philippines. 


To learn more about this revolutionary treatment or to schedule a consultation, please visit the Sculptra website and follow the Galderma Facebook page.


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