How Sculptra Is Different From Other Dermal Fillers

Jan 25, 2022

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How Sculptra Is Different From Other Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are cosmetic injections used to help achieve various aesthetic goals. Many dermal fillers immediately add volume under the skin to enhance a youthful appearance and minimize signs of aging.

Sculptra is a type of dermal filler, but it’s quite different from other fillers because it is a powerful collagen stimulator that goes deep into the dermis.

How Dermal Fillers Work

Common dermal fillers contain hyaluronic acid as their main ingredient. Your body naturally produces this compound to aid in maintaining hydration and moisture in your skin. Dermal fillers use this element to rejuvenate and “fill in” a treatment area.

When used for cosmetic injectables, hyaluronic acid is combined with other biodegradable ingredients to create a gel-like formula. 

Other dermal fillers rely on synthetic (but still biodegradable) compounds, including calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA), polymethylmethacrylate, silicone, polyacrylamide, and poly-L-lactic acid (like Sculptra).

Dermal fillers can be injected into the face to plump skin and minimize lines and wrinkles. Some dermal fillers can even be used in your hands to help create a more youthful appearance.

Common treatable areas for dermal fillers include:

  • Cheeks
  • Lips
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Marionette lines
  • Temple hollows
  • Jaw
  • Eye hollows

Not all dermal fillers are appropriate for the same areas, so many different products and formulations exist even within the same collection (or “family”). For example, the popular Juvéderm collection contains 5+ different formulations.

Why Sculptra’s Special

Sculptra adds volume to hollow areas (like the temples), but it also stimulates your body to create more collagen in the deep layers of the skin.

Sculptra works deep in the skin to produce collagen, making it unfit for areas with thin skin, such as the lips or tear troughs (under-eyes). For these areas, talk to your provider about dermal fillers.


The ingredients in dermal filler injectables are all biodegradable, meaning your body absorbs them over time. This is why fillers are considered temporary, and maintenance treatments are necessary to keep seeing results.

The length of time your results from dermal fillers last depends mainly on the following factors:

  • The treated area
  • Which filler(s) is used
  • How many units of filler are injected during treatment

The general length of time dermal filler results last is from 6-24 months. Sculptra, on the other hand, lasts two years.


Many dermal fillers like Juvéderm injectables offer immediate results. However, Sculptra works over the course of several weeks to develop results. Since Sculptra is a collagen stimulator and helps your body produce new collagen, it may take anywhere from four to eight weeks to see added volume or notice a difference in your skin health and appearance.

While you wait for Sculptra to produce results, you can complement your anti-aging treatment by consuming collagen-dense foods, such as chicken, fish, egg whites, berries and citrus fruits, red and yellow veggies, and garlic.

Why Collagen?

Collagen is a structural protein that helps hold your body together. It’s one of the most abundant proteins in your body, accounting for approximately 30% of all of your nitrogenous organic compounds. Collagen works in your bones, muscles, tendons, and skin, and it’s most densely found in connective tissues.

As time goes on, your body produces less collagen due to sunlight exposure, tobacco, excessive sugar intake, aging, and the overall structural integrity of your skin declines. When this happens, your joint cartilage weakens, and wrinkles form.

How Sculptra Is a Collagen Stimulator

Sculptra’s main active ingredient is poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). PLLA is a synthetic, biocompatible and biodegradable material that has been used in the medical industry for years. Before it was a dermal filler, it was used for dissolvable stitches and implants.


When PLLA gets injected deep into the skin, it stimulates new collagen production. This process begins with introducing PLLA into either the skin’s mid-layer (the deep dermis) or the deepest layer (the hypodermis). This step fills out wrinkles and defects.


After a bit of time (usually a few days), your body breaks down and absorbs the other ingredients of the Sculptra filler. This leaves behind the particles of PLLA.


Your body recognizes these PLLA particles as an “attack” because they are foreign to your body. In response, your body naturally recruits white blood cells to surround the PLLA particles to attack them.

Fibroblasts deposit collagen into these treated areas because of the increase in white blood cell production. Collagen plays a role in wound healing, and since your body thinks it’s healing a wound, collagen production happens as a result.

Who Is a Candidate for Sculptra Aesthetic Injections?

If you are someone with age-related collagen loss, Sculptra could be an excellent treatment option for you. If you are noticing severe hollowing around your cheeks and eyes, Sculptra can help fill out these areas and give you a brighter, more youthful appearance.

Our experienced staff will be able to determine whether Sculptra has a place in your treatment plan based on factors of your anatomy and body type. This is why it’s always best to schedule a consultation and treatment instead of trying to figure it out for yourself.

Visit SculpMD for Sculptra

SculpMD Aesthetic Medicine Clinic in Havertown, PA, is staffed by a team of medical experts with decades of combined experience. Our practice is overseen by a medical director who ensures safe and effective treatment for all of our patients. Contact us today for a consultation or to ask more questions about Sculptra.