HARPER'S BAZAAR, March 2017
An anti-aging facial for the needle-phobic.
Fresh from tending to the complexions of 25 A-listers for the Academy Awards in LA, celebrity facialist Georgia Louise invited me to her Upper East Side atelier last week to try her latest wrinkle-erasing facial treatment—Sculplla—a Korean treatment debuting in the US exclusively at Louise's. Basically a sheet mask on steroids, she used it on five of her red carpet-bound clients for the Oscars (though I couldn't get her to divulge whom).
Sculplla drives an ingredient called Poly L Lactic Acid (which is the exact same stuff you'll find in the filler Sculptra at your derm's office) as well as a blend of anti-aging favorites like caffeine and niacinamide into the top layer of your skin to plump wrinkles. There's no downtime, except avoiding water and sweat for 12 hours, and the results are cumulative, says Louise, who counts Jennifer Aniston, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, and Linda Evangelista among her clients. According to the company that makes Sculplla, one treatment can last for six weeks and a series of three treatments done a week apart can last for five months. "This is the first time I've seen a product that can really soften lines straight away," she told me. Indeed, I accepted the invitation.
To start, Louise used a lightweight lactic acid peel to exfoliate my skin and clear the way for the mask's ingredients to penetrate. Next, she spread the first step of Sculplla, the serum, across my skin and then applied the dry sheet mask on top, carefully molding it to the contours of my face. The sheet is made with encapsulated hydrogen, that activates when it touches the serum, to help drive the filler ingredient into the skin. It has also been shown to lend some skin brightening benefits, to boot. After 10 minutes, the mask dissolves and dries like a film. "It turns into a sticky tape, so you when you remove it makes your skin really smooth and unclogs pores," she tells me. "It's a double whammy effect." It's not unlike an enormous, glamorous nose strip.
And using the filler ingredient sans needles has real science to back it up. Sculptra—which was originally approved by the FDA in 2004 to help HIV patients regain lost volume in their faces and lasts under the skin for up to two years—stimulates your body's own collagen production for long-term benefits. Now, diffusing it throughout the surface layers of the skin, not just deep underneath, has become a new sought after cosmetic approach. Some derms are even applying it to patient's skin like a serum immediately following microneedling treatments, so the injectable can seep into the tiny channels left by the needles.
While I must admit that I have yet to develop wrinkles as deep as the ones in Sculplla's rather jaw-dropping before and afters, I am still noticeably more plump and glowy a week later and my beginnings of Crow's feet and nasolabial folds are softened or gone completely. Now if only I could score an invitation to a red carpet sometime in the next five weeks.
The 30-Minute Face Filler Facial Express Treatment starts at $180 with a team member or can be added onto a treatment for $100. (If you want Georgia herself, that will run you $650, but, FYI, her waitlist is currently closed.)