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Ozempic Facial Side Effects: Addressing Facial Aging And Sagging Skin After Weight Loss

The diabetes medication Ozempic (semaglutide) has recently seen a surge in usage by people seeking dramatic weight loss results, with more than 15 million people currently using a prescription. With its ability to make people feel fuller and slow down digestion, leading to reduced calorie intake, Ozempic has become a popular way to shed pounds quickly. However, this rapid weight loss is coming at a cost for many - the so-called "Ozempic Face." 

The loss of facial fat from Ozempic can lead to sagging skin, a hollowed-out appearance, and increased wrinkling that makes people look prematurely aged. Widespread cases of this side effect have been documented as off-label Ozempic use has increased, leaving users to grapple with the unfortunate trade-off of a slimmer body with sagging, aged-looking facial features.

What is Facial Drooping? 

Facial drooping or sagging refers to the loss of firmness and elasticity in the facial skin and tissues, resulting in a noticeably more aged and hollowed appearance. When taking Ozempic, this drooping effect happens because the medication causes rapid and significant weight loss. As people lose weight, they also lose the underlying fat that helps plump and fill out the face. 

“Without facial fat to support it, the skin can start to sag and droop downwards, leading to exaggerated lines, wrinkles, and a deflated, gaunt look - especially around the cheeks, jawline, and under the eyes,” says Dr. Michael Rose, M.D., FACS, a plastic surgeon at The Plastic Surgery Center.

The face loses its underlying structure as fat disappears too quickly for the skin to adapt and shrink at the same rate. This results in excessive, loose skin with far less volume, creating the facial drooping or sagging associated with Ozempic's dramatic weight loss.

While the exact number of Ozempic users who experience this symptom is currently unknown, women seem to lose more weight than men when taking Ozempic, which could lead to an increased prevalence of facial drooping among women. (NIH) Noticeable facial drooping seems to commonly occur after losing around 15-20 pounds or 10-20% of your total body weight. This amount of weight loss often happens over a span of 2-6 months while taking Ozempic. The rapid pace of fat loss, especially in the face, is the primary driver of this aged, sagging appearance.

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Signs You Are Experiencing Facial Drooping

  • Increased signs of aging, such as more lines and wrinkles
  • Loss of facial fat, which can lead the skin to become loose and sag
  • A hollowed-out or gaunt appearance to the face
  • Drooping skin around the cheeks, jawline, and under the eyes
  • Development of dark circles or hollows under the eyes 
  • Exaggerated nasolabial folds (lines from nose to mouth)
  • Increased visibility of cheekbones and other facial bones due to diminished fat
  • Overall loss of facial fullness, plumpness, and youthful contours

Ways To Restore Facial Volume 

There are a few surgical and non-surgical options for reducing facial sagging from Ozempic. "For many of my patients experiencing facial sagging and volume loss from Ozempic, we can employ a combination of treatments to help restore facial volume," says Dr. Rose. Non-surgical options can help temporarily restore volume with less downtime, while surgical procedures can achieve more dramatic, long-term tightening and re-contouring of the face and neck area.

Non-Surgical Treatments: 

  • Dermal Fillers: Temporary fillers like hyaluronic acid can be injected into areas of volume loss to re-plump and smooth out wrinkles, folds, and hollow areas. Common sites are the cheeks, under-eyes, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): The patient's own blood is drawn, processed to isolate platelets and plasma, and then re-injected into the face to stimulate collagen production and improve skin quality/tightness.
  • Microneedling: A device with tiny needles creates controlled micro-injuries in the skin to induce a wound-healing response that boosts collagen and elastin.

Surgical Treatments:  

  • Fat Transfer: Fat is liposuctioned from another area like the abdomen or thighs, purified, and then injected into areas of the face that have lost volume for a longer-lasting enhancement.
  • Facelift: Incisions are first made near the hairline/ears.  The deeper tissues and muscles are then tightened and repositioned to lift sagging skin and smooth out wrinkles and folds.
  • Neck Lift: This procedure is similar to a facelift but focused on the neck area. It tightens loose neck skin and removes excess fat under the chin/jawline.

Is Facial Drooping Permanent?

While facial drooping is a common side effect of Ozempic usage, it does not necessarily have to be permanent. It is possible that if someone stops taking Ozempic and maintains their weight loss, the facial skin can gradually retract and regain some fullness over time as it adjusts to the new slimmer shape. However, this "rebound" effect is more likely in younger individuals with greater skin elasticity. For older patients whose skin has less collagen and elastin, the facial sagging may persist even after cessation of the drug. 

Additionally, if a person regains all the weight they had lost while on Ozempic, their face is expected to return closely to its original, pre-weight loss appearance once that underlying facial fat is regained. 

While Ozempic can create an undesirably aged look during treatment, it has the potential to resolve partially or fully, depending on the individual's age, degree of weight regain, and skin's ability to effectively re-tighten. Surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, as well as preventative lifestyle modifications, can also play a significant role in maintaining a more youthful appearance when experiencing significant weight loss.

Schedule an Appointment

If you're among the many who have experienced a change in your facial appearance after taking Ozempic, don't resign yourself to looking older than your years. The skilled surgical team at The Plastic Surgery Center specializes in the latest techniques to restore youthful facial contours and smoothness. From minimally invasive injectable fillers to surgical facelifts, we offer customized treatment plans to help you reclaim your pre-weight loss look.

Call 833-615-2618 to schedule a consultation with our team. 

 

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