Have you heard of Ozempic, the buzzy new treatment for rapid fat loss that celebrities like Elon Musk and Chelsea Handler are raving about? While this novel treatment can help trim waistlines and slim down arms, there have been some unexpected consequences from the treatment that you will probably see with clients coming into your beauty business (if you haven’t already). So, what is it and how can you help your clients?
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide, an antidiabetic. It is sold under other brand names like Wegovy and is prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Both Ozempic and Wegovy can help manage insulin levels and induce weight loss. However, the FDA approved Ozempic to treat Type 2 diabetes and Wegovy is approved to treat obesity.
However, Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic and Wegovy recently told TODAY.com in a statement, “We do not promote, suggest, or encourage off-label use of our medicines,” which includes the use of Ozempic for weight loss.
Side effects from these medications, which have skyrocketed in demand, are typically gastrointestinal, but skincare professionals are seeing some unintended consequences—like sagging skin of the face, which has been coined “Ozempic Face” due to rapid weight loss and the skin not having time to adjust to the changes.
What Is Ozempic Face?
The name for this phenomenon is “Ozempic face”, a term coined by cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, after many of his middle-aged patients came into his office with gaunt faces after losing a large amount of weight in a relatively short period of time.
Frank recently told Business Insider, “I think a combination of age and the rapidity of the weight loss is what’s causing what I call ‘Ozempic Face,'” Frank told Insider. “When you meet someone that you saw not too long ago and they’ve [suddenly] lost a lot of weight, particularly in that area, it’s kind of like a telltale sign.” Frank goes on to say that the sagging of the skin mostly occurs in people over 40 years of age due to the lack of elasticity in the skin at that age and not because of the medication itself.
How Can You Help Your Clients Treat The Unintended Consequence?
One of the experts I tapped into to get her thoughts on the matter is Pamela Weinberger PA-C, who is a Founding Injector at Plump Cosmetics and Injectables and National Trainer for Allergan Medical Institute and who practices in both New York and Florida.
“I can definitely say I have a few clients that have mentioned starting their weight loss journey with Ozempic and they are coming into the office complaining of facial hollowing,” explains Weinberger, who likes to work with her clients in an empathetic manner while they share their areas of concern with her. “With my patients, I have been addressing new areas of concern lately like temples, submalar cheek region (rather than the lateral contour area), and prejowl region from face losing collagen and having laxity. The most common areas of the face to treat in the past with facial fillers were lips and nasolabial folds, which I see a drastic decrease in.” When it comes to “Ozempic Face,” Weinberger suspects she will see this condition more and more as the drugs gain more popularity.
Even though Weinberger considers herself to be mainly a cosmetic injector, at her core she is and always will be a medical practitioner. “The relationship I have with my patients is very personal and close. I first like to encourage any of my patients on Ozempic, to still focus on eating healthy and exercising. It’s important to build a strong foundation for yourself so that when you discontinue this medication you are able to maintain the results you have gained and by living a healthier and balanced lifestyle you will have less facial hollowing,” she tells me. “However, even with safely doing all of this you will most likely need a little help in the filler department as you go through these weight loss changes rapidly. The good thing about fillers is you get to enjoy your look immediately, with a small wait time of 2 weeks for them to fully settle.”
When it comes to addressing the specific side effects from Ozempic, Weinberger tells me the two areas that deliver the most visible improvement are the cheeks and the temples. “Temple Fillers can really make a huge difference in making people appear more youthful. It is an off-label injection (meaning that it isn’t FDA approved) and should only be performed by an extremely experienced injector, but I do think this is going to be one of the most impactful for a thin face,” she explains. “Cheek filler, in particular, submalar cheek filler is an amazing filler to be injected in areas of volume depletion and it can really brighten and lift upwards most areas of the face that start to deplete in collagen and fat.”
For those who want a more natural filler, Weinberger suggests Sculptra, which she tells me stimulates collagen and delivers a soft appearance to the face. “Sculptra will have more of a wait time to volumize taking up to 6 weeks, but the results are extremely natural, safe, and long lasting. If someone isn’t in a rush for their appearance, I think Sculptra is an amazing treatment to add onto a weight loss journey with/without facial fillers.”
I also caught up with Lindsay Malachowski, Chief Operating Officer at SKINNEY Medspa since they just began offering Ozempic. “We now offer Ozempic for clients that are not candidates for non-invasive procedures, or clients that have visceral fat and are over a BMI of 32, that are not within 15-25 pounds of their goal weight,” she tells me. “Once they lose weight with the aid of Ozempic and a healthy lifestyle, we can now treat and destroy the pliable and pinchable fat with permanent non-invasive treatment options.”
One of SKINNEY’s Aesthetic Trainers, Josie Holmes, who is a licensed esthetician adds, “With SKINNEY Medspa being the #1 provider of non-invasive fat reduction treatment options, such as CoolSculpting, TruSculpt iD, EmSculpt, and more, we wanted to be able to provide another solution for people who come to us who are not the best candidate for these procedures. Enter Ozepmic. Bringing Ozempic to SKINNEY Medspa will allow us to work with people who we may have initially had to turn away.”
Holmes continues, “As a body contouring specialist, I am excited that we can now offer an initial plan of treatment with Ozempic for those who fall outside of the parameters for our non-invasive fat reduction devices. This also goes both ways, if you are seeking fat reduction but are not a candidate for Ozempic, SKINNEY Medspa’s lineup of fat reduction devices can tailor to your aesthetic goals.”
Not everyone who takes Ozempic or similar drugs will experience “Ozempic Face.” However, anyone who is middle-aged or older may experience skin hallowing or skin sagging because of the rapid weight loss. If your clients decide to use these types of drugs for weight loss, make sure they talk to their doctor (or injector) about any concerns they may have regarding this matter. If your beauty location offers injectables, make sure you devise a plan to counteract these side effects, should your clients experience them.