The once-weekly injectable pharmaceutical semaglutide is an FDA-approved drug designed to treat Type II diabetes and obesity.

In March 2021, the New England Journal of Medicine identified at 68-week follow-up that the drug conferred an average of 15% decrease in weight and an improvement in cardiovascular health when paired with diet and exercise.  

However, the rapid weight loss among semaglutide users is often accompanied with a facial appearance now termed “Ozempic face” (Ozempic is one brand of the drug).

Semaglutide depletes fat stores within the face, resulting in a gaunt or hollow appearance – in other words, the Hollywood elite using this drug feel that their physique looks fantastic, but their faces looked aged. 

The gaunt Ozempic face appearance can be treated using hyaluronic acid (HA) based dermal fillers injected in the temple, cheek and piriform sinus (the small area of shadowing beside to the nostrils) to restore the volume lost and fill sagging skin. This method of using dermal fillers in multiple areas is often referred to as a “liquid facelift.” 

The goal should be to gracefully enhance the existing volume, not to overfill. Additional filler can always be layered to achieve increased fullness at any time. Moreover, dermal fillers are precise, predictable and safe. 

Many patients have been very satisfied with this approach. It is important to note that most dermal fillers last between 12 and 18 months. 

Other injectable products such as Sculptra stimulate volumization over a series of injections spaced months apart. Results can be good, but variable, with effects lasting 24 months on average. 

For patients who have experienced significant weight loss that are weight stable and desire a more long-lasting treatment, a well-tolerated minimally invasive outpatient procedure called Facial Fat Grafting is an excellent option. 

In this procedure a patient’s own adipose cells, typically from the abdomen, are made into nano-fat particles that are then injected into the hollow-looking areas of the face. Patients can expect an improvement in the texture of the skin as well through a theorized stem-cell like effect. 

Ultimately, the way to begin the process of facial rejuvenation and the best approach for restoration of a youthful and natural appearance is first through an aesthetic consult with a plastic surgeon or an experienced aesthetic provider.

Mathew T. Epps, MD, MS, DABS is a plastic surgeon, triple- fellowship trained in facial, eyelid, and breast surgery. or