What is so-called Ozempic face? Plastic surgeons warn against effects of weight loss treatment

Surgeons analysed 15 celebrities who lost a large amount of weight (Sam Moghadam Khamseh/Unsplash)
Surgeons analysed 15 celebrities who lost a large amount of weight (Sam Moghadam Khamseh/Unsplash)

Weight loss treatment Ozempic has recently skyrocketed in popularity but surgeons are warning against a side effect referred to as “Ozempic face”.

“Ozempic face is essentially the same characteristics that we see when patients have rapid or regular weight loss,” Dr Smita Ramanadham, a plastic surgeon in New Jersey, told the Daily Mail.

“We see a loss of volume in the face, and when we lose fat in the face we see signs like the cheeks are more sunken in, more sagging skin and a general hollowing out of the features.”

After examining pics of 15 celebrities who lost a large amount of weight, a panel of surgeons speculated that at least half may have had the symptoms.

The surgeons analysed the case of actor John Goodman, 71, who shed nearly 200 pounds – nearly half his heaviest weight – since 2007.

However, Goodman has denied taking Ozempic and credits dieting, exercise and giving up booze for his pound-shedding pilgrimage.

They also pointed to Sharon Osbourne, who reportedly lost 42 pounds on the drug, as the most dramatic example of the side effect.

What is Ozempic face?

According to surgeons, Ozempic face is a term referring to side effects of taking Ozempic – it comes with sunken eyes, gaunt cheeks and saggy skin, often making the Ozempic user appear older and more deflated.

Dr Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic and celebrity dermatologist, coined the term after treating many individuals with this symptom.

Ozempic can cause rapid weight loss that is often more pronounced on the face.

Facial fat serves a protective function and affects facial aesthetics and elasticity, Medical News Today said. Weight loss can cause dermatological changes and shrinking because the fat that stretches and cushions the skin is no longer in place.

What is Ozempic?

Adults with type 2 diabetes use the once-weekly injectable drug Ozempic to help control their blood sugar levels.

Despite Ozempic not being classified as a weight-loss medication, research indicates that those who use it may experience slight weight reduction while doing so.

The drug works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone. As those hormone levels rise, the molecules go to your brain, telling it you're full. It also slows digestion by increasing the time it takes for food to leave the body (similar to the effect of bariatric surgery).

However, Ozempic has been said to be an ineffective treatment long-term. In January, several Ozempic users claimed they stopped taking the drug and ended up regaining more weight than they lost.