Miracle new weight-loss injections are sparking a wave of facelifts, with Brits left ‘exhausted’ after beating the bulge.
Cosmetic doctors based in London have reported an influx of patients requesting tightening of their loose skin after taking Ozempic or Wegovy, with rates trebling in months.
Both once-weekly injections contain semaglutide, a hormone-mimicking drug that tricks the body into thinking it’s full, causing people to eat less and lose weight.
But the muscle-removal drug doesn’t discriminate which weight it targets, meaning that in addition to slimming the waistline, it also eliminates facial fat.
This leads some patients to complain that they look sick, exacerbating wrinkles and causing the skin to sag.
The trend has been dubbed the ‘Ozempic face’, with social media users posting dramatic before and after images of the drug’s effects.
One medic who takes the drug himself describes how people think of him as a “chemo patient” because of how it melts away the fat on his face.
Originally designed to help type 2 diabetes patients lose weight, the “game-changing” drug has also been approved by US and UK regulators specifically as a weight-loss weapon.
It’s already taken the celebrity world by storm, used by the likes of Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson to combat sagging. Even Kim Kardashian has faced allegations that she took Ozempic.
But such noise comes at a price.
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Surgeons said such patients require fillers to replace lost fat on their cheeks, as well as surgery to remove loose skin from their necks, jaws and eyelids.
Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon in London, says demand for such procedures has tripled in the past six months because of the way the drug works.
“There’s a difference between the facial weight loss you get from Ozempic and the weight loss you get naturally or from gastric band surgery,” he told The Times.
“Even patients with a small weight loss from Ozempic — 5-10 kg (2.2-4.5 kg) — come to see me with loose skin. This has affected their lower face and neck, which would not have happened if they lost weight naturally.
Dr. Jennifer Doyle, cosmetic surgeon and chief operating officer at The Clinic at Holland Park, said the fact that non-obese patients are taking drugs as a “quick fix” to lose weight is causing them to suffer extreme facial problems. effects.
“Ozempic is designed to target obesity,” she said. “But you’re getting people using it who might be a little overweight.
“Many people turn to it as a quick option to lose weight quickly and keep it off.”
Patients taking semaglutide in the US, where it is more readily available, have been reporting “Ozempic face” for months.
One of them is Dr. Jonathan Zelken, a California-based plastic surgeon who uses it to lose weight.
Although he managed to lose 22 lns (10 kg) while on the injections, a result he was pleased with, he also documented the effect the drug had on his facial structure.
In a YouTube video detailing his experience, he said: “It came at the cost of the so-called ‘Ozempic face.’
He recalls how people were initially very complimentary about his weight loss, but then became concerned when he started losing facial fat.
“At first, neighbors and friends and family would say either ‘you look like a chemo patient’ or ‘you’ve got something,'” he said.
Dr. Zelken said it’s important to remember that “Ozempic face” is not a new condition or disease, but rather a different name for facial fat loss, a known consequence of rapid weight loss.
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“That’s the price we pay for medically induced weight loss, and it may be worth it for some, but not for others,” he said.
He added that it is likely that other knock-offs, such as rival Mounjaro, are also likely to see a similar fatty tissue side effect.
Cosmetic clinics across America also treat patients who want to fix their depleted Ozempic faces with fillers and other non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
Jennifer Wilson, co-owner of The Aesthetics Lounge & Spa in Florida, posted on Instagram a shocking transformation of a client who had undergone facial volume loss.
“Weight loss from exercise or injections like Ozempic can cause facial volume loss and sagging, which can make you look older,” she said.
But some users say fears of Ozempic’s face are exaggerated.
One of them was a woman on TikTok with the username smyers45 who posted a before and after comparison of her face while using Ozempic.
Although she acknowledged the concerns she’s heard, she countered: “I think my face looks great, so I think it’s a bunch of crazy.”
Other TikTok users talked about getting fillers and botox to deal with fat loss on their faces, or asked for advice on how to fix their “turkey neck” as the skin on their throats began to sag.
Clinical studies show that people on semaglutide can lose about 11 percent of their body weight, about 38 pounds (17 kg), in 68 weeks.
The drug’s maker, the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, sells it under two brands, Ozempic for type 2 diabetes and Wegovy, which differs in a higher maximum dose, for weight loss patients.
Wegovy only received NHS approval in March and is not yet available in the UK.
But Britons looking to lose weight have been able to get ‘off-label’ Ozempic prescriptions from some private clinics as well as some online sellers.
Health chiefs have pinned their hopes on slimming injections as a key tool to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.
NHS figures show 64 per cent of British adults are overweight, with more predicted to gain weight in the future.
Obesity isn’t just expanding Britons’ waistlines, it’s also driving up healthcare costs, with the NHS spending around £6.1 billion treating weight-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers between 2014 and 2015.
In the US, about 42% of people are obese.