Ozempic is the brand name for a prescription drug called semaglutide. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar. It’s administered once a week via injection.
Recently, many people have started using Ozempic off-label to lose weight. This behavior can cause a side effect called “Ozempic face.”
What Is Ozempic Face?
Along with controlling blood sugar levels, Ozempic can also decrease appetite and increase feelings of fullness. That’s because it increases a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, which slows down digestion.
Due to this effect, many people use Ozempic off-label in hopes of experiencing significant weight loss. According to Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Ozempic, most people lose between 8 to 14 pounds on the drug. This weight loss often occurs in a very short span of time.
When you lose a lot of weight quickly, you may notice sagging and gauntness in your face. That’s because rapid weight loss depletes your skin of essential nutrients and vitamins, leading to volume loss.
This condition can also occur if you have bariatric surgery or go on an extreme diet. When caused by Ozempic, it’s often called “Ozempic face.”
This term has recently become popular on social media apps like TikTok, where Ozempic users are sharing strategies to fix this unwanted side effect.
Other drugs that can cause similar facial skin changes include Wegovy (another formulation of semaglutide) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro).
How To Fix Ozempic Face
In general, you can restore facial volume after significant weight loss by:
- eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other nutritious foods
- staying hydrated
- wearing sunscreen
- not smoking
You could also try over-the-counter retinoid products. Retinoids are a class of compounds derived from vitamin A. They can improve skin texture by increasing your body’s production of collagen.
Collagen is a protein responsible for skin elasticity. Talk to your doctor before trying retinoid products, as they sometimes cause skin dryness and irritation.
Dermal Fillers & Other Options
In addition, some people treat Ozempic face with dermal fillers.
Dermal fillers are gel-like substances that can create a fuller or smoother appearance when injected under the skin. There are currently five FDA-approved dermal fillers. Possible side effects include pain, bruising, and allergic reaction.
If fillers don’t work, some people turn to facelifts or other forms of plastic surgery.
How To Prevent Ozempic Face
You can avoid extreme changes in facial skin by losing weight gradually. Since Ozempic tends to cause rapid weight loss, you might want to try a different weight loss method. Many doctors say it’s healthiest to lose no more than one to two pounds a week.
Also, as you lose weight, make sure you stay hydrated and eat plenty of protein-rich foods such as eggs, fish, and poultry. Water and protein can help you maintain facial volume.
Risks Of Using Ozempic For Weight Loss
Ozempic was not designed as a weight loss drug. That’s why you should always talk to your healthcare provider before trying the medication. Some doctors will not prescribe the medication for weight loss unless you have been diagnosed with obesity.
Increased Side Effects
Along with Ozempic face, other side effects of the drug may include:
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach pain
Some people also experience rarer, more serious side effects, including:
- ongoing pain that starts in the stomach and sometimes spreads to the back
- vision changes
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- rash or itching
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, throat, legs, ankles, or feet
- low blood sugar
- kidney problems
- gallbladder problems
In addition, the drug may increase your risk of thyroid cancer and pancreatitis.
To reduce your risk of side effects, use Ozempic exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You may also want to ask about switching to a weight loss medication that was actually designed for weight loss.
Along with causing side effects, Ozempic might not be as effective as you think. Studies show that many people regain some of the weight they lost once they stop using the drug.
If you or someone you love misuses Ozempic or another substance, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay sober.
Food and Drug Administration — Dermal Filler Do’s and Don’ts for Wrinkles, Lips and More
Harvard Health Publishing — Do retinoids really reduce wrinkles?
JAMA Network — Effect of Continued Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Placebo on Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults With Overweight or Obesity
National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Semaglutide
Ozempic — What Is Ozempic®?