Weight loss drug Ozempic has been heralded as a miracle cure for people struggling with obesity and associated conditions such as type 2 diabetes. In March, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the use of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, for adults that have a high BMI combined with at least one weight-related comorbidity.
Semaglutide works differently to other previous weight loss treatments. It mimics a hormone that is produced in the gut after food consumption. As a result, it reduces the appetite and leaves you feel fuller for longer. Administered through a once-weekly injection, it also manages insulin levels and, at its highest dose, is proven to cause up to 10 kg weight loss in about one-third of users.
Although Ozempic is considered a relatively safe medication, it has can have several unpleasant side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation. The rapid and extreme weight loss that typically results from taking Ozempic also causes facial fat to deplete and skin to sag. The term ‘Ozempic face’ has now been coined to describe the gaunt, ageing look associated with drastic weight loss.
How does fat loss affect facial ageing?
Traditionally, it was believed that ageing was down to our skin and other facial tissues succumbing to the effects of gravity. Now evidence suggests that loss of facial fat is the real culprit – both just under the surface of the skin and in the deeper facial compartments.
In a 2021 study published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, US cosmetic surgeons took CT scans of patients on two occasions at least a decade apart to measure changes in the fat deposits in the mid-face. It found that there was definite and measurable loss of mid-face fat volume. In the superficial level of the dermis, fat decreased by an average of 11.3% and in the deep facial fat compartment it decreased by an average of 18.4%.
This fat loss coupled with depletion of collagen and elastin that provide support and elasticity in the skin, leads to flattening of the mid-face, nasolabial folds appearing and softening of the jawline. Rapid weight loss – whether due to Ozempic or otherwise – accelerates this process.
Treatments to address facial fat loss
The reduction and shifting of facial fat can be addressed in two ways. Firstly, volume loss can be addressed with carefully injected dermal fillers. Composed of hyaluronic acid, temporary dermal fillers injected into the mid-face can revolumise the cheeks which effectively minimise nose to mouth lines and jowls.
The other approach, often performed in combination with dermal fillers, is to stimulate production of new collagen which produces a subtle and natural lifting and tightening of the facial tissues. Viscoderm Hydrobooster and Profhilo are composed of pure hyaluronic acid and, as well as hydrating the skin, they induce collagen synthesis which in turn bio remodels the facial tissues, so the face looks more lifted and plumper.
For more advice on how to combat facial ageing, call 0115 772 2363 to arrange a consultation with Dr CP Aesthetics.