What causes ‘Ozempic face’ during weight loss?

Ever gaze in the mirror after achieving your weight-loss goals, only to see something unexpected staring back? You might notice hollow cheeks, sunken eyes, and a slightly deflated appearance – a phenomenon known as “Ozempic face.” 

While the name links it to a specific medication, this isn’t a unique side effect. It’s a common consequence of rapid fat loss, regardless of the method. So, what triggers this change, and can you navigate it without compromising your health goals? 

Let’s explore the science behind “Ozempic face,” discuss practical strategies to minimize its impact, and give you the knowledge to make informed decisions on your weight-loss journey.

What is Ozempic face?

Have you noticed changes in your face after losing weight rapidly, perhaps sunken eyes or hollow cheeks? 

These concerns fall under the “Ozempic face” umbrella, a term gaining traction. But before jumping to conclusions, let’s understand what it truly is and debunk some myths.

“Ozempic face” doesn’t directly stem from the medication Ozempic, which manages type 2 diabetes and aids in weight loss [1]. Instead, it’s a common consequence of rapid fat loss, regardless of the method. 

When you lose weight quickly, your body sheds fat from everywhere, including your face. This rapid fat depletion leads to two key changes:

1. Loss of facial fat

Your face naturally has fat pads that contribute to fullness and structure. When these pads shrink suddenly, your skin can appear loose and saggy, creating a hollowed-out look around your eyes, cheeks, and jawline.

2. Reduced skin elasticity

As we age, our skin loses its elasticity naturally, making it less able to bounce back after significant changes [2]. Rapid weight loss can exacerbate this, leading to skin that appears looser and more wrinkled.

It’s important to remember that “Ozempic face” isn’t a guaranteed outcome. Age, genetics, and skin quality affect how your face responds to weight loss.

What causes 'Ozempic face' during weight loss?
Photograph: YuriArcursPeopleimages/Envato

Why does rapid weight loss alter your face?

So, we’ve established that “Ozempic face” isn’t solely linked to the medication but rather a broader phenomenon tied to rapid weight loss. But what exactly happens within your body that triggers these changes in your face?

1. Fat plays a plumping role

Your face naturally has fat pads contributing to youthful fullness and structure around your cheeks, jawline, and temples [3]. When you lose weight rapidly, these pads shrink faster than your skin can adapt, leading to a deflated, hollowed-out appearance.

2. Elasticity takes a hit

Our skin’s natural elasticity, responsible for its bounce-back ability, declines as we age. Rapid weight loss can exacerbate this process, leaving your skin looking looser and more wrinkled, especially in areas like the eyes and jawline.

3. Collagen, your skin’s scaffolding, dwindles

Collagen, a protein vital for skin firmness and plumpness, also decreases with age and rapid weight loss [4], [5]. This decrease weakens the “scaffolding” beneath your skin, contributing to sagging and a loss of definition in your facial features.

Again, studies suggest significant weight loss, regardless of the method, can trigger facial changes for up to 50% of individuals. 

It’s important to note that factors like age, genetics, and skin quality also affect how your face responds to weight loss.

Is Ozempic specifically to blame?

With the term “Ozempic face” floating around, you might wonder if the medication itself is directly responsible for those changes. The answer? Not quite. 

The principle remains the same whether you use Ozempic, another weight-loss medication, or follow a strict diet and exercise plan.

Here’s why:

1. The culprit lies in speed, not specificity

The key factor affecting your face is the rate and amount of weight loss, not the specific method used.

Rapid weight loss, regardless of how you achieve it, stresses your skin and depletes facial fat pads faster than your skin can adapt. This leads to the hollowed-out, wrinkled appearance associated with “Ozempic face.”

2. Multiple medications cause rapid weight loss

Other medications like Wegovy and Liraglutide, which work in similar ways to Ozempic, can also lead to rapid weight loss and potential facial changes.

3. Rapid weight loss from other methods

Even crash diets and intense exercise programs that promote quick weight loss can have similar facial effects.

4. Ozempic regulates hormones

Ozempic medication helps regulate hormones, affecting appetite and blood sugar levels [6]. This can result in weight loss over time. But the speed and amount of weight lost are crucial factors. 

As mentioned, rapid weight loss, regardless of the method, stresses your body, including your skin. 

5. Ozempic is not a weight-loss drug

It’s important to remember that Ozempic is not solely a weight-loss medication. It’s primarily prescribed for managing type 2 diabetes, and weight loss is often a secondary benefit. 

Studies on its cosmetic effects are limited, and the “Ozempic face” phenomenon hasn’t been directly linked to the medication itself.

It’s important to acknowledge that everyone reacts differently to weight loss. Age, genetics, and skin quality all affect how your face responds. 

While some individuals may experience significant facial changes, others might see minimal impact.

What causes 'Ozempic face' during weight loss?

How can you minimize the “Ozempic face” impact while losing weight?

While you may not be able to avoid facial changes associated with weight loss completely, there are strategies to minimize their impact and prioritize your overall well-being. Let’s explore some key practices:

1. Embrace gradual weight loss

It is recommended to adopt a gradual and consistent weight loss approach by targeting to lose 1 to 2 pounds on a weekly basis. This allows your skin more time to adapt to the changes, reducing the risk of sagging and wrinkles. 

2. Stay hydrated

Water is important for skin elasticity and plumpness. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day to keep your skin hydrated from within. 

Even mild dehydration can impact skin appearance negatively [7], making hydration even more crucial during weight loss.

3. Nourish your body

Prioritize a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods contain essential nutrients for healthy skin, like vitamins A, C, and E that boost collagen and antioxidants that protect against sun and free radical damage.

Consider consulting a registered dietitian for personalized dietary guidance tailored to your needs and weight-loss goals.

4. Explore skincare solutions

Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and SPF can help retain moisture and protect your skin from sun damage, accelerating aging. 

Regular use of moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher significantly improved skin texture and elasticity in adults over 50 [8]. 

Consulting a dermatologist for personalized recommendations is always advisable, especially if you have specific skin concerns.

5. Manage stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact your skin health by increasing cortisol levels, which can break down collagen and contribute to inflammation. 

Practice stress-management techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing to promote well-being and minimize skin concerns. 

Studies have shown that stress management can improve skin health and reduce inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema [9].

6. Consider supplements

While not a magic bullet, certain supplements may offer additional support for skin health during weight loss. 

Collagen peptides, for example, have been shown to improve skin elasticity and hydration [10]. 

However, talking to your doctor before starting new supplements is essential, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

7. Be patient and kind to yourself

Remember, changes to your appearance take time. Be patient with your body as it adjusts to weight loss, and focus on celebrating your overall health improvements. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion throughout the process.

In closing

Your weight-loss journey shouldn’t come at the expense of your self-confidence. While facial changes can occur, remember, they don’t define you. 

Embrace a balanced approach: prioritize gradual weight loss, nourish your body, explore skincare solutions, and manage stress. 

You’ll achieve your goals and radiate inner and outer health by focusing on sustainable practices and holistic well-being. Remember, the healthiest version of you is beautiful in every way.

Ready to prioritize your well-being and embark on a healthy weight-loss journey? Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to create a personalized plan that supports your unique needs and addresses any concerns you may have. 

Empower yourself with knowledge and embrace a positive, balanced approach to achieve lasting results and feel fantastic!

FAQs

Does Ozempic affect your face?

Ozempic doesn’t affect your face, but the rapid weight loss it can cause may lead to facial changes like wrinkles and sagging due to fat loss and reduced skin elasticity. Prioritize gradual weight loss and healthy habits to help minimize these potential effects.

What is the biggest side effect of Ozempic?

While Ozempic offers benefits for diabetes and weight management, the most significant side effect is nausea, impacting up to 20% of users. This usually subsides within weeks, but seeking medical advice is crucial if it persists or becomes severe.

How do I get rid of Ozempic on my face?

Unfortunately, “Ozempic face” isn’t a direct side effect of the medication itself but rather a potential consequence of rapid weight loss. While it’s not something you can “get rid of,” focusing on sustainable weight loss, healthy habits, and skincare can help minimize its impact.

Why does Ozempic age your face?

Ozempic doesn’t directly age your face, but the rapid weight loss it encourages can deplete facial fat and reduce skin elasticity, leading to a “hollowed-out” appearance associated with aging. Gradual weight loss and healthy habits can help mitigate this.

[1] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about-us/news-and-views/ozempic-and-weight-loss-facts-behind-headlines
[2] https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/special-topic/aging-changes-in-the-face
[3] https://www.ceruleanmedical.com/how-facial-fat-aging-can-make-the-face-look-older/
[4] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
[5] https://vibrancemedspa.com/what-happens-to-collagen-as-we-age/
[6] https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/blog/2024/how-does-ozempic-affect-hormones/
[7] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dehydrated-skin
[8] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/when-to-start-using-anti-aging-products
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8480446/
[10] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1606/collagen-peptides

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