Sculptra, which has been used off-label since 2004 to increase the volume of faces gaunt from exercise or illness, was approved by the FDA in July to improve the appearance of nose-to-lip wrinkles, horizontal chin wrinkles and marionette lines around the lips, reports The New York Times.
Most exciting is that the effects of Sculptra last up to two years. Alternative fillers like Restalyne, Juvederm and Evolence work for a year or less.
Composed from synthetic Poly-L-Lactic acid, it's injected into the tissue below the skin to gradually initiate collagen growth - collagen (along with elastin) is the skin's structural component; its breakdown causes the skin to sag from beneath, which manifests on the skin as wrinkles. Since Spectra brings on collagen growth, results are slow - sometimes months in the making - but also appear very natural looking.
"What we bring to the market is natural and gradual replacement of lost collagen, Brent Ragans, the vice president of general therapeutics at Sculptra's parent company Sanofi-Aventis US told The Times. "If you look at it from a consumer standpoint, the ability to look better over time, without people looking like something has been done" is desired.
While other fillers successfully plump up wrinkles, they work best as spot treatments. Spectra can actually add volume to larger portions of the face, thus combating one of the most obvious signs of aging - the loss of youthful "plumpness."