When considering a facial filler treatment like Sculptra, you should consider both the advantages and the disadvantages of the procedure before you make your decision. Becoming well-informed about the procedure can help you decide if it's worth the investment of time and money.
Pro: More Natural than Some Alternatives
Some popular facial fillers are made from toxins, most often a bacterium-produced protein called botulinum toxin. Sculptra is made from Poly-L-lactic acid, a naturally-occurring compound that the body releases during vigorous exercise. (The purpose of the compound is to thicken muscles and skin via enhanced collagen production.) Unlike the toxin facial fillers, which remain in place, Poly-L-lactic acid is bio-compatible and is eventually safely absorbed into the body. The toxin used in other facial fillers can also--in extreme overdose cases--lead to poisoning and partial paralysis.
Con: Takes Longer to See Results
One disadvantage of the Poly-L-lactic facial filler over other alternatives is that it takes longer to achieve results. While the toxin-based facial fillers may need only a few days maximum after each treatment to give you ideal results (and often give somewhat satisfying results immediately), the Poly-L-lactic-based facial filler requires a minimum of three to a maximum of six treatment sessions (fifteen to thirty minutes each), spaced three to six weeks apart before you achieve ideal results. After each session, you should see some improvement, but you must be patient to see lines and hallowed areas completely filled in.
Pro: More Natural-Looking Results
Along with using a more natural, bio-compatible substance than other facial fillers, Sculptra can also produce more natural-looking results. This is because the Poly-L-lactic acid works over time to stimulate collagen and plump up the treated area(s). Toxin-based alternatives work much quicker, but they actually impede nerve function and "freeze" muscles that cause recesses and wrinkles, giving the user a somewhat stiff, unnatural look.
Con (and Pro): Not Permanent, but Lasts Longer than Some Treatments
A major disadvantage of Poly-L-lactic acid-based facial filler is that the results are not permanent. Even after you invest in up to six treatments spread out over possibly thirty-six weeks, you can't count on the results lasting in the long run. You will need to have maintenance treatments (which may involve another three to six sessions) at least once every two years.
However, short of plastic surgery, the Poly-L-lactic acid facial filler is actually one of the longest-lasting options on the market. The acid-based fillers involve fewer sessions all at once, but their results last only four to six months, so you will be heading back to your cosmetic specialist's office more frequently for maintenance visits.
Con: Somewhat Costlier than Some Alternatives
Along with more visits comes more cost. Whereas the acid-based facial fillers cost about $300 to 500 per syringe, the Poly-L--lactic acid-based facial fillers cost $400 to $500 per syringe. You will also possibly need more syringes (as well as one to three per session) total with Sculptra because you will need a minimum of three to six sessions to see results.
There is no right or wrong answer as to whether Sculptra is the right procedure for what you hope to have improved. After weighing the pros and the cons, you have to decide for yourself. Make a consultation appointment with a cosmetic specialist if you're still having trouble making the decision.