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As Ozempic has been hitting the headlines, there has also been a rise in people speaking about the unwanted aesthetic side effects that can occur from taking this  
drug and other Semaglutide medications.

Takeaways

  • ‘Ozempic Face’ is a common concern of people who are using Semaglutide medications as a weight loss aid.  
  • The rapid speed of the weight loss achieved through using these drugs means that loose skin and lines and wrinkles can develop around the face, resulting in a prematurely aged appearance.
  • There are a number of effective surgical and non-surgical solutions to address these issues, restoring a youthful and fuller look to the face.
  • When considering weight loss medication, it is important to speak with your doctor about any side effects and whether they are preventable. 

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is Semaglutide medication. It is an injection, primarily used to treat Type 2 Diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels over long periods of time. It has become highly discussed in the media due to the increase in it being prescribed to people whose weight is affecting their health, or who wish to lose weight and have found that diet and exercise alone hasn’t been sufficient.

Typically, Semaglutide medications work by suppressing the appetite, causing the patient to eat less, and allowing their bodies to use up fat reserves. This leads to weight loss.

Although Ozempic has become the most well-known brand name, other brands include Wegovy (an injection) and Rybelsus (tablets). 

Why Has Ozempic Become So Popular?

Although Ozempic was first approved in America for treating Diabetes in 2017, many doctors quickly realised that its weight loss side effect was beneficial for many people and began to prescribe it off-label. People who were struggling with obesity, which may be impacting their health, as well as other aspects of their lives could benefit hugely from being able to lose significant weight (2-4lb per week). This then spread to people, who although not excessively overweight, were finding that traditional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise weren’t producing the results they were looking for.

Many celebrities have openly spoken about using Ozempic and similar Semaglutide drugs to lose weight, including Elon Musk, Rebel Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg and Sharon Osbourne. This has led to more people seeking these medications to help with weight loss. 

What Is Off-Label Prescribing?

Ozempic is authorised in the USA and UK for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, but not as a specific weight loss drug. However, as it is an approved drug, it can be prescribed for other uses (such as weight loss) if a doctor feels it is appropriate for a patient in their care.

In comparison, Wegovy is a Semaglutide medication which has been approved as a weight loss drug in both the USA and the UK. Doctors will often prescribe Ozempic and Wegovy interchangeably depending on the needs of the patient. Wegovy contains a higher dose of the active ingredient, which means it isn’t suitable for everyone.

Off-label prescribing is safe and legal. It is at the discretion of the doctor who is caring for you whether they decide to prescribe off-label. In July 2023 the UK government put out a National Patient Safety Alert due to shortages of Semaglutide drugs which had occurred due to the increase in off-label prescribing. The recommendation was made that prescriptions should be limited to patients who require Ozempic or similar drugs to treat Type 2 Diabetes and that it should not be used as a weight-loss drug until supply levels have been stabilised.


What Is Ozempic Face?

One of the most common Semaglutide side effects is dramatic and rapid weight loss. When large amounts of weight are lost quickly using any method, the skin can become loose and saggy. As it is not possible to direct the weight loss resulting from Semaglutide drugs, loose skin can develop around the face, creating a gaunt appearance, which can also make patients look much older than they are. This effect has become known as Ozempic Face.

Although Ozempic Face is not a recognised medical condition, it is well understood that rapid weight loss can lead to excess, loose skin all over the body, not just the face. However, the appearance of loose facial skin and sunken cheeks can often appear more significantly with the use of Semaglutide drugs.  

Further to this, people who choose to use Ozempic to achieve weight loss, are often doing so for aesthetic reasons. Therefore, although the weight loss may be welcomed, the facial side effects may be less appealing to many.

The main symptoms associated with Ozempic Face are:

  • Sagging skin around the jawline (jowls), cheeks, and under the eyes
  • Sunken cheeks
  • Hollow eye area

Especially when you take into account how quickly these signs can develop when taking a drug such as Ozempic, it is understandable how this could affect someone’s confidence. 

Is It Possible to Prevent Ozempic Face?

If you discuss Ozempic as an option for weight loss with your doctor, they will make sure you understand any potential side effects that may arise during your treatment.

Although it may not be possible to prevent Ozempic Face entirely, there are steps that you can take to reduce how far it develops:

  • Drink plenty of water – staying hydrated will help to maintain the strength and structure of the skin
  • Eating a diet high in protein – this will also help to prevent the breakdown of the skin over time
  • Adjusting your medication dosage – taking a lower dose of Semaglutide may slow down the rate of weight loss which may stop the skin from sagging as quickly

For many people, the rapid weight loss achieved through Semaglutide medications such as Ozempic is not completely necessary. If you have not already tried to lose weight through methods such as diet or exercise, your doctor may recommend these methods first, before trying Ozempic to avoid unwanted side effects such as premature facial ageing. 


How To Treat Ozempic Face

For people who are already experiencing facial ageing as a result of Ozempic Face, preventative measures may not be effective. There are several non-surgical and surgical procedures which can effectively improve the appearance of Ozempic Face and rejuvenate the skin to restore a more youthful and less gaunt or sagging face. 

Injectables

There are a variety of injectable treatments which can address several of the concerns which are associated with Ozempic Face.  

For people who are struggling with sunken cheeks or hollowed eyes, Dermal Filler can be injected to fill the area, creating a plumper appearance. This gives an immediate youthful fullness to the face.

Some people find that Ozempic face leads to dry and dehydrated skin. Profhilo is an injectable treatment made from Hyaluronic Acid, which hydrates the skin, giving a smoother, more toned appearance, without adding any volume as Dermal Filler does.

Many patients find that a combination of injectable treatments offers the most successful result. Depending on the treatment used, follow-up sessions may be required to maintain the optimal results.

Radiofrequency Microneedling

Radiofrequency Microneedling is a non-surgical procedure which involves a combination of Microneedling and Radiofrequency waves being used to rejuvenate and tighten the skin.

Microneedling involves small needles penetrating the skin to stimulate the skin’s natural healing response. This encourages collagen and elastin production and can also improve the appearance of rough texture or scarring. Radiofrequency treatment involves Radiofrequency energy heating up the skin. Like the Microneedling, this encourages collagen and elastin production, but also tightens loose skin, emphasising the final result and giving a toned and lifted appearance.

For people who are worried about issues such as jowls, sagging cheeks or an undefined jawline or chin, caused by Ozempic Face, Radiofrequency Microneedling can be a highly effective treatment that rejuvenates the skin and results in a more youthful appearance. 

Nitrogen Plasma Treatments

Nitrogen Plasma Treatments are another non-surgical treatment which are commonly used alongside Radiofrequency Microneedling, but can also be used as a standalone treatment.

Plasma energy is applied to the skin, which causes heat to be generated. This causes a controlled injury which stimulates the skin’s natural healing response, encouraging collagen and elastin production.  

Nitrogen Plasma treatments reach all layers of the skin tissue, allowing for comprehensive remodelling and improvement. It is an effective treatment for several concerns caused by Ozempic Face including:

  • Loose skin around the eyes, jawline and cheeks
  • Lines and wrinkles
  • Rough skin texture 

Facelift

When concerns caused by Ozempic Face are more severe, such as loose skin, injectables and non-surgical treatments may not be sufficient to achieve the desired result.

In this instance, a Facelift is an effective and long-term solution to remove excess skin and tighten the face and neck area. Depending on the patient’s exact concerns and needs, there are different types of Facelifts, from the minimally invasive Micro Facelift to the more comprehensive Mini Facelift or Traditional Facelift.

Some patients may opt to have a Facelift after trying injectables and non-surgical options, while for others it may be their first choice. 

Neck Lift

Many patients who are worried about Ozempic Face find that issues such as loose skin manifest around the neck – this is also known as turkey neck and can result in lost definition and tone around the neck and lower face.

Neck Lift is a surgical procedure which removes excess skin around the neck and tightens the underlying muscles to create a toned and smooth neck and jaw contour. Neck Lift can be combined with other surgeries such as Facelift or can be performed as a standalone procedure depending on the concerns and desired results of the patient. 

Blepharoplasty

Concerns around the eyes such as hollowing and under-eye bags are commonly associated with Ozempic Face.

The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than other areas of the face and shows natural signs of ageing much earlier. However, this can be accelerated dramatically with an issue such as Ozempic Face due to the rapid nature of the weight loss which occurs.

Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure which removes excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids, resulting in a more open-looking eye and a more toned appearance to the skin in the eye area. This can result in a much more youthful appearance overall. 

Fat Transfer to Face

When Ozempic or similar drugs are used to aid weight loss, it is not possible to control where on the body the fat is lost from. This can result in excess fat being lost from around the face, which can lead to a gaunt and prematurely aged appearance – a common concern of Ozempic Face.

Fat Transfer procedures involve fat being removed from other areas of the body such as the abdomen and thighs to be processed and injected into the face. This is an effective, and permanent, alternative to Dermal Fillers for some patients and can be combined with other surgeries such as Facelift to enhance the final results. Fat Transfer results in a youthful, smooth, fuller appearance to the face, counteracting the concerns of Ozempic Face. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Semaglutide medication has become a popular off-label option for helping patients lose weight for health and aesthetic reasons. Unfortunately, this can have unwanted side effects including what has become known as Ozempic Face – a prematurely aged and gaunt appearance with loose skin, often counteracting the positive impact of any weight loss achieved. There are many treatments and procedures which can help to address these concerns, and it is important to speak with a qualified aesthetic doctor or cosmetic surgeon to develop the best treatment plan for you.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

Treatments mentioned in this article



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