Skip to main content
June 25, 2024

What to Know About 'Ozempic Face' and How to Treat It

Dr. Sarah Allen

Weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy have taken the world by storm. They’ve become household names in record time; they’re all over the news, they’re advertised on TV, and people speculate endlessly about them on our social media feeds.

As a result, the demand for these medications has been astounding. NBC recently reported that we can expect to see a shortage of these medications through 2025. Just five months after it was approved by the FDA, nearly 80,000 new prescriptions were written for Zepbound (tirzepatide), surpassing Wegovy.  

As a physician, I’ve seen the health impacts of obesity, like coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease, first-hand. While there are side effects from the medications, known as GLP-1 agonists, in some patients (including GI symptoms like nausea and abdominal pain), the benefits in curbing these serious, obesity-related health conditions appear to be worth the risk.  

I am grateful for the advances this could make in managing chronic conditions over time in all patients. Most patients on these medications will lose a mean of 15-21% of their body weight when tolerating the highest weekly dose.  But as an aesthetic physician, I know how important collagen biostimulation will be in these patients.  We have all seen friends and family who have experienced rapid weight loss, resulting in a “deflated” appearance in their faces.  It can make people appear gaunt, drawn, and even sick. We’re all aiming for a healthy appearance, especially after you lose weight, and at Skin Clique, we want your face to reflect exactly how good you’re feeling on the inside.  

What's a biostimulator and how does it work?

Biostimulators like Sculptra (poly-l lactic acid or PLLA) and hyperdilute Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapetite) are great options for boosting volume in your face you may have lost while taking these medications.  Think about when you were young in college, when your face was nicely plump, giving you a healthy appearance. When we take weight loss medications, that volume goes away. You may be wondering—can I fill it with hyaluronic acid filler? And yes, you can. But, stimulating your body to produce your own new collagen will likely last longer, give you more bang for your buck, and provide a more natural appearance. And while they both stimulate collagen production, they act very differently.

Sculptra takes dedication and adherence to your treatment plan. A good rule of thumb is you will need one Sculptra vial for every decade of life for your initial treatment (typically split between two appointments).  If you maintain your treatment annually, you may only require one to two vials per year on your birthday after that.  Sculptra is injected at your appointment and then the water that’s included in it resorbs. The PLLA particles that are left start to work their magic over the next four to six weeks, turning you into Benjamin Button! Few products give you a glow and a collagen boost like Sculptra.  

What's the difference between Radiesse and Sculptra?

With Radiesse, results are instant and will continue to improve for four to six months.  This collagen stimulator gives patients a real-life airbrushed appearance and improves overall skin texture and laxity to give the appearance of lifting and tightening.  Radiesse is a workhorse of a product that can be used in most areas of the face and body, making it the most versatile filler and collagen stimulator on the market.  

Make sure your skincare routine is on point

I also find patients who take these medications often lose their overall glow and appear to have a dull complexion.  When you start taking these medications, make sure you are on a skincare routine with a cleanser (like Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser or ZO Gentle Cleanser)  an exfoliator (we recommend ZO Exfoliating Polish), a toner (like ZO Complexion Renewal Pads or Skin Clique Power Pads) and an SPF (I love Colorescience’s Glow Face Shield, Brush on Shield, and Face Shield Flex – anything Colorescience, really!). Patients who use these three products alone will see a decrease in sebum production, a decrease in pore size and an overall improvement in skin texture. Always make sure to speak with your provider before starting a skincare routine so you can make sure to find the right products for you!

GLP-1 medications for weight loss have the potential to change the face of healthcare. But it doesn’t mean they are without side effects. Make sure to meet with a board-certified healthcare provider who cares about your aesthetic results – and thank me when your collagen production ramps into high gear in all the right places.