‘Ozempic Face’: The Shocking and Ugly Side Effect of the Popular Weight Loss Drug

By: Lauren Fokas | Last updated: Jun 16, 2024

Everyone’s talking about Ozempic. The type 2 diabetes medicine has become the most popular weight loss drug among celebrities and the ultra-wealthy, as well as some in the general public.

However, it’s become clear that the major ingredient in the drug, semaglutide, is causing what many are calling “Ozempic Face,” where a person’s skin essentially loses its elasticity, aging them years in just months.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic was designed to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing a person’s levels of the incretins hormone that ensures the body produces insulin when needed and suppresses the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Two hands hold and Ozempic injection

Source: Adobe Stock

However, because Ozpemic is made with semaglutide, it also induces satiety, i.e., making the brain think the stomach is full, even when it isn’t. Therefore, it works extremely well as a weight loss drug.

Prescribing Ozempic for Weight Loss Is Illegal

Although the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved Ozpemic to treat type 2 diabetes, it has not sanctioned the drug as a prescription for weight loss.

A faceless woman preparing to inject her stomach with Ozempic

Source: Adobe Stock

Most People Aren't Actually Taking Ozempic

But while everyone knows the name Ozpempic, what many people are actually taking is actually called Wegovy. 

Woman pouring medicinal pills into her hand

Source: Freepik

Unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is a medicine specifically made and approved for people with obesity, but it has almost the exact same chemical makeup as Ozempic.

Negative Side Effects of Ozempic

Although both of these drugs have been approved by the FDA, they should not be taken lightly. Misusing either Ozpemic or Wegovy can be incredibly detrimental to one’s health.

A woman in an orange sweater holds her stomach in pain while laying on the couch

Source: Freepik

According to Ozempic, the most common side effects are “nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting,” though many who have taken the medication have had far worse ramifications than stomach aches.

Misusing Ozempic and Wegovy Can Be Extremely Dangerous

The semaglutide in both medications can and often do cause intense changes in the intestine and digestion.

A box for the weight loss injection drug Wegovy

Source: Reddit

These changes can lead to the inability to absorb nutrients, cause pancreatitis, and in some cases, gastric, colon, or intestinal cancers. These warnings are written clearly on the labels, but sadly many people so desperately want to lose weight that they’re willing to take the risk.


People Are Buying Ozempic and Wegovy Without a Prescription

Additionally, there are some people who have decided that they are so eager to lose weight quickly that they are willing to purchase either Ozempic or Wegovy on the black market if they cannot get a prescription from their doctor.

A very thin woman holds a tape measure around her waist in front of a mirror, signifying weight loss

Source: Freepik

Online, there are far less regulations, and a person may be getting a diluted or even completely different drug then they thought they were purchasing.


Even Those Who Take the Right Medicine Correctly Are Still at Risk

However, it’s important to note that while no one should attempt to buy such a dangerous medicine online, even those who do receive a prescription for the proper drug from their doctor are at risk of several negative side effects.

A faceless doctor fills out prescription paperwork while holding a medicinal bottle

Source: Freepik

One of which is what people are calling “Ozempic Face.” While Ozempic Face technically isn’t fatal or even dangerous, it looks horrible.


What Is Ozempic Face?

Ozempic Face is when a person who has been taking Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss starts to experience facial sagging or premature aging.

A digital illustration of a woman’s face split in half; on the left, she is young and on the right, she is old

Source: Depositphotos

Dr. Adil Sheraz, a consultant dermatologist at the British Skin Foundation, explained, “The face has a layer of fat that essentially stretches the skin. Ozempic results in rapid weight loss and does so very effectively. This, of course, will lead to rapid loss of subcutaneous (under the skin) facial fat.”


The Skin Cannot Shrink Into Place Nearly as Fast

Dr. Sheraz continued, “The overlying skin however will not be able to shrink at the same rate, resulting in a sagging, droopy and wrinkled appearance.”

An older woman with gray hair sits on a leather couch

Source: Freepik

Essentially, it may look like a person has aged several years or even decades in just a few months or weeks as their skin is now sallow and loose. Depending on a person’s facial elasticity, this side effect can affect some more than others, but it is extremely common.


Dermatologists Say They’re Seeing Ozempic Face “Every Day”

In fact, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a New York dermatologist, told the New York Times that he sees Ozempic Face “every day” since the drug became a popular weight loss tool.

A dermatologist inspects the facial skin of a young female patient

Source: Freepik

Dr. Frank explained, “A 50-year-old patient will come in, and suddenly, she’s super-skinny and needs filler, which she never needed before. I look at her and say: ‘How long have you been on Ozempic?’ And I’m right 100 per cent of the time.”


Celebrities With Ozempic Face

According to a shocking survey conducted by Gallup, nearly 15.5 million Americans have used injectable medicines like Ozempic and Wegovy to lose weight. But even those millions of Americans who have never used or known anyone who have used the drugs can see their side effects on the dozens of world famous celebrities who have.

A before and after Ozempic photograph of Sharon Osbourne

Source: Reddit

From Elon Musk to Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Osbourne and her mother, Sharon, Jessican Simpson, and Scott Disik, Ozempic Face is clearly a real byproduct of using the drug for weight loss.


Everyone Looks Worse After Using Ozempic

It is possible for a person to take Ozempic or Wegovy and not end up with Ozempic Face. However, it seems to be far more common that people come off the drug without looking at least a bit older than they did before.

A thin woman in jeans several sizes too large

Source: Freepik

Some may say that various celebrities look “better” because they lost weight on the drug. But remember, it’s likely that those whose faces still appear full and beautiful received several other cosmetic surgeries or implants before returning to the public eye.


Many Ozempic Users Don't Know When to Stop

In most cases, whether or not their face will sag a little or a lot depends on their body composition. But for others, it’s a clear sign of overusing the drug.

Two photographs of Scott Disick before and after using Ozempic to lose weight

Source: @TrendTasters/YouTube

Several celebrities, Scott Disick to name one, clearly took more Ozempic than his body needed. Although some say he was overweight before starting the drug, he certainly wasn’t obese. And now, many say he looks skeletal and even worse than he did before.


Ozempic Face Is Permanent

For those who still believe that living with Ozempic Face while on the drug would be worth it to lose those stubborn extra pounds, they should know that the unfortunate side effect is most often permanent.

A black and white photo of an old woman with her head in her hands.

Source: Danie Franco/Unsplash

Even if a person gains the weight back, which they usually do, it’s highly unlikely that the face will regain its original elasticity and full structure.


Ozempic Face May Be the Least of These Users Worries

Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, Ozempic has been known to cause intestinal and digestion issues.

A woman in bed holding her stomach and looking like she is in pain.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

But it’s extremely important to understand that these cases are not few and far between but widely extensive. In many cases, people are becoming dangerously sick from the drug, and Ozempic Face is the last of their worries.


10,000 People Have Complained to the FDA About Ozempic

According to Forbes, the FDA has received more than 10,000 adverse reports about Ozempic and Wegovy in only the past year.

The entryway to the FDA headquarters

Source: iStock

In response to the extensive physical harm the drugs have caused them, hundreds of those negatively affected have decided to take their cases to court and sue both companies for their negligence.


The Ongoing Class Action Lawsuit Against Ozempic

The first lawsuit against Ozempic was filed on August 2, 2023, but by February 2, 2024, there were a total of 55 lawsuits in action.

A close-up photograph of a piece of paper that reads “Notice of Lawsuit”

Source: iStock

As of June 2024, there are exactly 101 plaintiffs filing against the drug company for personal injuries, including but not limited to ileus, intestinal blockage, and gastroparesis. However, experts expect there to be thousands more before the year’s end.


What Is Gastroparesis?

The most commonly noted side effect of Ozempic or Wegovy in the lawsuits and FDA complaints alike is a condition called gastroparesis.

A faceless woman in a blue suit holds her stomach with an illustration of the stomach and intestines in front

Source: Freepik

According to Web MD, “Gastroparesis is a condition in which food stays in your stomach for a longer period than it should.” But it’s far more dangerous than it sounds; gastroparesis can and does cause further complications, such as severe dehydration, malnutrition, late onset diabetes, and bacterial growth, each of which can be fatal.


Why Are People Taking Ozempic If It's So Dangerous?

For those reading about the hazards of Ozempic for the first time, you may be wondering: Why are people continuing to take this dangerous drug?

Woman breaks down in tears inside of a public bathroom as she looks in the mirror

Source: Freepik

The sad truth is that, while many still don’t know the risks involved when taking Ozempic or Wegovy, those who do don’t care. They are willing to put their internal health risk in order to look “better” on the outside.


The Ozempic Trend Sheds Light on a Bigger Problem in Our Society

The widespread use of Ozempic and its off label counterparts is quite telling of a much more important trend plaguing America and many other countries in Europe and around the world.

A photograph of a faceless person standing on a scale

Source: Freepik

The idea of an idyllic body shape is not new to society; however, it seems that over the past few decades, people have been more willing than ever before to inflict physical harm on themselves in order to obtain the idolized beauty standard. 


24% of Americans Have Undergone Cosmetic Treatments

In fact, an almost unbelievable 24% of American adults have undergone some kind of cosmetic treatment. And the Aesthetic Surgery Society reported that cosmetic surgical procedures increased by 54% in 2021 from the year before.

A close-up of a doctor injecting Botox in a woman’s face.

Source: Sam Moghadam Khamseh/Unsplash

These surgeries are generally safe, they are extremely expensive. The statistics show that Americans are prepared to spend and put themselves at risk, however minimal, to look a certain way.


Should You Be Taking Ozempic?

It’s crucial to understand that Ozempic is a helpful drug for those living with type 2 diabetes. However, if you do not have type 2 diabetes, Ozempic was not made for you.

An image of a man attending a checkup appointment with his local doctor

Source: Freepik

Of course, it’s always important to speak directly with your doctor about any medication. But not all physicians are aware of the dangers these drugs can pose. Therefore, it’s important as the patient to keep yourself informed of anything you might want to or are currently taking.


These “Quick Fix” Weight Loss Injections Are Not a Good Idea

Even though Ozempic and Wegovy will certainly help someone lose weight, the benefits stop there. The drugs are known to cause malfunctions within the intestines and can even lead to fatal diseases like pancreatitis and cancer.

A young healthy woman smiles as she holds her face in her hands

Source: Freepik

If that wasn’t enough, the average person will gain back two-thirds of the weight they lost the moment they stop taking the medicine, and for many, their Ozempic Face will never go back to normal.