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Ozempic Face: How Semaglutide Affects Facial Fat and Appearance

  1. Introduction

    Ozempic face is the term used for the common side effect of type 2 diabetes medication Ozempic (semaglutide).

    What is Ozempic and its Purpose

    Ozempic is a prescription medication that is given to the people with type 2 diabetes as a treatment. It regulates the blood pressure levels in people with diabetes, increases insulin produced by the body, and reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

    Ozempic contains an active ingredient semaglutide, a type of glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone in the body, helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Ozempic mimics the effects of GLP-1 and improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Along with managing blood sugar levels, Ozempic is also approved as a weight loss medication for people with obesity (3). It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for chronic weight management in obese individuals (1).

    Impact of Ozempic on Face

    Ozempic acts as an effective GLP-1 receptor, which means a person feels fuller and delays gastric emptying, and consumes lesser calories. It can lead to rapid weight loss that is more pronounced on the face.

    Facial fat has a protective effect on facial aesthetics and elasticity. There can be dermatological changes due to weight loss and shrinking as the fat is no longer in place.

    The skin loses its ability to retract due to rapid weight loss and reduced levels of collagen and elastin (necessary for structural integrity).

    Ozempic may lead to the following facial functions:

    • Increase in signs of aging
    • Loss of fat makes the skin loose and sag. There may be a wrinkled appearance of the face due to less fat underneath
    • Lipodystrophy, the way in which the body accumulates and stores fat is affected
    • Hallowed out or gaunt appearance of the face
  2. Understanding Ozempic and Facial Changes

    How Ozempic Causes Changes in Facial Fat

    Ozempic causes changes in the distribution of facial fat as it affects the body’s metabolism. It increases insulin production and reduces glucose production in the liver leading to weight loss.

    Weight loss can reduce the fatty tissue throughout the body including the face (4).

    How to Prevent Facial Side Effects

    It would be difficult for a person to prevent facial side effects by continuing the medication. However, if a person is really concerned about it, the doctor may advise:

    • Reducing the dosage of the medication
    • Changing to a different medication
    • Drinking plenty of water, at least 1-2 liters of water every day
    • Increasing protein intake by taking a protein-rich diet
    • Introduce lifestyle modification to maintain a healthy weight

    On stopping Ozempic, it can take around 5 weeks to clear the last drug from the system.

    Other Options to Restore Face Volume

    There are a variety of other options available that can be helpful in restoring the facial volume. These include:

    • Fillers: These can be injected into different depts on the skin to plump wrinkles and smooth lines on the face.
    • Plasma Injections: These are the concentrations of growth factor proteins that can promote healing when injected.
    • Microneedling: The procedure involves creating tiny pricks on the skin to stimulate collagen, a protein responsible for skin elasticity and tightness.
    • Fat Transfer: This involves taking fat from other body parts, usually the abdomen and hips, and injecting them into the face commonly in the cheeks and under the eyes.
    • Face or Neck Lift: It is a surgical procedure involving lifting or tightening the skin and underlying tissues in the face and neck.
  3. Ozempic and Weight Changes

    How Ozempic can be Used as Weight Loss Medication

    Semaglutide, an active ingredient in Ozempic helps in lowering the blood sugar level. It can also be helpful in lowering the weight in the following ways:

    • Semglutide slows down the emptying of the stomach, making the food stay in the stomach for a longer time
    • It affects the brain and suppresses the appetite. On taking semaglutide, a person does not feel hungry as there are no hunger cues from the brain. The digestion slows down and a person feels less hungry.

    A study was done on overweight adults. They were given semaglutide weekly for 6 months. It was found that they reduced 10.9 percent of the weight (7).

    One more study was performed on 2000 adults with obesity. Some of the participants were given a placebo, while others were given semaglutide for a period of 68 weeks. Both groups were given lifestyle interventions as well. It was found that the group receiving semaglutide lost 14.9 percent of weight while the placebo group lost only 2.4 percent of weight (8).

    How Ozempic Face can be a Side Effect of Weight Loss

    Facial changes can be a side effect of weight loss due to the loss of subcutaneous fat in the face.

    As a person lose weight the fat stored throughout the body break down. This leads to a reduction in the volume of subcutaneous fat in the cheeks, chin, and other areas of the face, making the face appear gaunt or angular.

    Also, weight loss affects skin elasticity, which can contribute to wrinkles and sagging in the face. It happens because the skin may not have enough elasticity to adapt to the changes in facial volume caused by weight loss.

    The degree and extent of facial changes may depend on the age, genetics, and overall health of an individual.

  4. Other Side Effects of Ozempic

    Ozempic is a safe drug. The side effects related to it may range from mild to severe. These include (5):

    The rare side effects of Ozempic include:

    • Vision changes
    • Kidney problem
    • Low blood sugar
    • Severe allergic reactions
    • Increased risk of thyroid cancer
    • Low blood sugar
    • Inflammation of the pancreas
  5. What Happens When Ozempic is Stopped

    The person can regain lost weight post semaglutide treatment. A study showed that the participant observed changes in body weight and metabolic risk factors amongst the participants 1 year post semaglutide treatment (6).

    A person may also notice the following changes after stopping semaglutide:

    • Increased cravings
    • Spikes in blood sugar
    • Absence of side effects

    On stopping Ozempic if a person is able to maintain weight, eventually the skin would retract too. On skin retraction, the face may look slimmer than before but there would be lesser sagging. This means the Ozempic face would also improve.

    Younger people have more elastic skin and may have a higher likelihood of skin retraction. Therefore, there are more chances of the face returning to its previous shape and fullness.

  6. When to Consult a Doctor

    A person who has severe side effects should consult a doctor. The doctor should be informed about the symptoms in detail.

    Research shows that Ozempic has caused thyroid cancer in animals in trials. Scientists are not sure whether it can be safely used by humans (5).

    If a person taking Ozempic experiences side effects, should speak with a doctor. The side effects include:

  7. Conclusion

    Ozempic is a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It is also prescribed for chronic weight management for those who are overweight or obese. The rapid weight loss caused due to using Ozempic can lead to an Ozempic face.

    If someone experiences severe side effects after taking Ozempic the doctor might stop it or provide an alternate solution and recommend lifestyle changes. Stopping Ozempic may increase food cravings and spike blood sugar levels. It may also make the person regain weight also bring in improvement in Ozempic face.

    Also, do not let the Ozempic face, keep you from taking medication that might improve your overall health. Always consult a doctor to know which medications may work the best for you.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 4, 2023

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