There are certain changes we expect as we age. We know to expect lines and wrinkles and even sagging skin as the years go by. What may surprise most of us is the loss of volume in our faces that changes the overall structure of how we look and the features we took for granted when we were younger. If you’re facing unwelcome signs of aging including volume loss, call the Kagan Institute in Los Angeles, CA to learn how Sculptra can restore the volume loss you’re experiencing.
What Is Facial Volume Loss?
Volume loss happens so gradually that it’s hard to understand exactly what causes it. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to our faces changing shape, starting as early as our 20s. Loss of volume can happen anywhere there’s tissue or underlying fat, but the most common places to see volume loss are:
- Under the eyes
- Jowl area
Not all volume loss is avoidable. Eventually, we’ll all see a flattening of the features we associate with youth, like the round apples of the cheeks and high cheekbones. If you’re looking at your features and are seeing hollow or gaunt areas or just a flatter profile than you used to have, there could be several reasons.
Weight Loss and Dieting
If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight or have repeatedly gained and lost weight, you may notice a flattening of your face and loss of volume. Of course, if you have a lot of weight to shed, you want to lose a certain amount from your face. If the weight loss is great enough, your skin may not be able to bounce back to its original shape.
We have a protein in our skin called elastin that keeps our skin and other organs flexible and elastic. When we lose this elasticity or our skin is stretched beyond its capacity, it sags and loosens its grip on the deep layer of fat and fat pads that help keep our features prominent. Getting to a healthy weight is great! Just be sure to enjoy a healthy lifestyle too so you can maintain that weight.
Low Body Fat
If you have not engaged in Yo-Yo dieting but have a very low body fat percentage, this can show in your facial features. You’ll find this to be true of athletes who spend a good amount of their lives very, very lean. They can sometimes feel like their appearance is too bony or gaunt. If you have low body weight, you have it everywhere, including your face.
People with a very low body weight will still lose volume as they age, so they will appear to lose more facial volume than others sooner and faster because they’re starting with less.
The sun is the single biggest factor in premature aging, including lost facial volume, though not directly. Harmful UV rays break down collagen, the protein essential for the strength and smoothness of youthful skin. In the middle layer of our skin, the dermis, collagen forms a really tight surface for our outer skin, or epidermis, to lie on. Because the foundation is so smooth, our skin shows no wrinkles because there are no areas of weakness for our skin to sink into.
Collagen also keeps our underlying fat pads and tissues in place because it provides a firm anchor for the deepest layer of our skin. Because young skin is so tough and resilient, everything stays in place. The sun destroys collagen and will speed up the natural decline in production. Skincare experts everywhere agree the single best investment you can make in your skin is a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen.
And then there’s just the simple aging process. Around the time we turn 20, our face starts to change in a lot of ways. One is the loss of collagen production. We lose about 1% of production every year after the age of 20, and women in menopause lose another 30%. This allows those deep fat pads to slip, and when they do, our top and mid-face regions lose volume and the lower part gains a disproportionate amount of volume.
With facial volume, by the time we’re 35, studies show we’ve lost about 10% of the fat in our faces. We lose another 5% to 10% of our remaining facial volume every five to ten years after that. By the time you reach the age of 55, you may have already lost 40% of your facial fat. When you lose this much volume, all your prominent features flatten and the skin on those once plump areas sags and wrinkles.
While this may all sound dire, there is an amazing solution on the market for our clients who want to boost areas of lost volume and regain those youthful contours. Sculptra is a unique injectable that helps the body create its own collagen to get results. It’s able to get these kinds of results because its ingredient is so different from that of other fillers.
Most fillers are made of a synthetic hyaluronic acid suspended in a smooth and pliable gel. These fillers can offer immediate results, but they are easily absorbed by the body. So, depending on your individual rate of metabolism, your results last only 6-12 months before you need a touch-up. Sculptra is different.
How Does Sculptra Work?
This treatment works differently than any other filler on the market. It is made from poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which is a synthetic form of lactic acid. Our body naturally produces lactic acid and sends it to muscles that need oxygen during exercise. The synthetic form found in Sculptra is a powerful bio-activator and stimulates your body to produce its own collagen.
Remember, collagen is the protein that strengthens the middle layer of our skin and can plump the tissue, increasing volume in those areas where you’ve lost it. Your once prominent features are filled in and no longer look gaunt or hollow.
What to Expect
We always take time to have an in-depth consultation with each of our patients. Dr. Kagan will review your areas of concern, examine the areas you’d like addressed and talk through the kinds of results you want to achieve through treatment. If you and Dr. Kagan decide this is the right treatment for you, you’ll only have a few pre-treatment instructions to follow.
Because this is a minimally invasive treatment, there are no strict pre-treatment rules. We ask that you avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds for a week before treatment and any harsh facial treatments like lasers and microneedling. You will also need to stop taking blood-thinning medications and supplements for a few days before, including:
- Fish oil
- Gingko Biloba
- Vitamin E
When you arrive for your session, we’ll apply a numbing cream to the injection site, so you stay very comfortable during your appointment. Once the area is numb, Dr. Kagan will make a series of injections to the treatment area. Once your appointment is over, you’re free to go back to your normal routine and there is no downtime with this treatment.
Many people schedule this appointment on a quick break from work and go right back when they leave our office. This truly is a lunchtime cosmetic treatment.
Another thing that differentiates this treatment from other dermal fillers is when clients will see results. Other dermal fillers provide immediate results, but that’s not true of Sculptra. Because this treatment relies on the body producing collagen, it can take months for optimal results to show. Remember, when they do, that’s natural collagen you’re seeing.
Results look natural, and because they appear gradually, clients say other people just remark on how young they look and not about the work they’ve had done.
How Long Does Sculptra Last?
You could continue to see your results improve for up to nine months depending on how many treatments you receive. We’ll recommend the right number of sessions, spaced four to six weeks apart, based on the starting condition of your areas of concern and the results you’d like to experience.
Once you’ve completed your last treatment, your results will last between two to three years. How long individual results last depends on the individual client, their age, the starting condition of their skin and how they take care of their skin after treatment. There are things you can avoid to ensure you keep the new collagen growth as healthy as possible while giving you the best chance for long-lasting results:
- Unprotected time in the sun
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- A diet high in sugar and/or processed food
- Unmanaged stress
- Long-term lack of sleep
Who Is a Good Candidate?
If you’re unhappy with the look of lost volume and how it’s flattened your features, you could be a good candidate for treatment. Only a consultation with Dr. Kagan can determine if this is the right treatment for you. During that consultation, we can discuss all your areas of concern, not just fallen facial features.
Sculptra could also be a good choice to address moderate-to-deep facial wrinkles and folds by filling them in and plumping them up. Again, patients like this treatment for deep lines because they get results gradually, so people only comment on how amazing they look instead of the work they’ve just had done. We can discuss using this injectable as treatment for:
- Nasolabial folds from the nose to the mouth
- Marionette lines from the corners of the mouth down the chin
- Chin wrinkles
- Pre-jowl folds
We offer several injectables so we can address multiple concerns our clients have. We’re proud to offer several families of dermal fillers, including Belotero, Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse. Our array of fillers allow us to give our clients natural results and can help with:
- Lip enhancement
- Moderate-to-severe lines and folds
- Reducing the appearance of chin wrinkles and jowls
- Reducing the appearance of tear troughs
- Restoring volume to the back of the hands
We also offer several neurotoxin injectables, which are the most requested cosmetic treatment in the world, including Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin. These injectables block the signal from the nerve from getting to a muscle so it can relax, allowing the skin on top to relax, smoothing wrinkles. These can also address:
- Gummy smile
- Downturned corners of the mouth
- Crow’s feet
- Forehead wrinkles
- Frown lines
- Bunny lines
Get the Results You Want
You don’t have to live with the signs of aging you’re unhappy with. We can help you restore the youthful vitality of prominent features and healthy volume. Call the Kagan Institute in Los Angeles, CA to schedule your consultation. We are a boutique private practice focusing on ophthalmology, oculoplastic, and minimally invasive aesthetic treatments. We believe everybody deserves to look as good as they feel, including you!