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Soul & Body

Don’t let ‘Ozempic face’ get you down: tips from a top plastic surgeon to keep skin firm before and after weight loss

Photo courtesy of Pexels


 
How fortunate we are to have so many accessible weight loss options that are not only safer than in years past, but more effective. While this newfound convenience and efficacy are mostly advantageous, many remain unaware of the drawbacks and side effects in the haste and excitement to fit into an old pair of jeans or watch the number shrink on the scale.

With prescription weight loss medications such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and Rybelsus experiencing a surge in demand, many plastic surgeons and æsthetic doctors are witnessing a surge in patients experiencing the most unexpected side effect—sagging, loose skin, and premature ageing skin, often referred to as ‘Ozempic face’.

Weight loss does not only affect skin on the face and neck, it is common on all areas of the body, particularly on those who lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. Plastic surgeons have witnessed this for decades with bariatric patients, but the average consumer taking weight loss medications for the first time are often unprepared for this phenomenon. We had the opportunity to speak with Dr David Hill, co-founder and medical director of Fulcrum Aesthetics, one of Chicago’s most prestigious and cutting-edge surgical and æsthetic medicine practices. Dr Hill discusses the physiological changes during weight loss and one can best correct, and to some extent prevent, the ageing effects weight loss can have on the skin. We also have a few product suggestions to help your skin stay firm and supply before and after your weight loss journey.
 
What causes sagging and loss of laxity after significant weight loss?
Reduced fat volume that previously stretched the skin is the main reason. When you lose weight, especially quickly, the skin doesn’t always snap back. This is largely because the skin’s elasticity, primarily driven by collagen and elastin, has been stretched beyond its limits, much like an overstretched elastic waistband. Some fibres are broken, some don’t contract as well, and some cause the fabric (skin) to bunch up. This presents as stretch marks or skin laxity. Additionally, the longer the skin has been stretched due to excess weight, the less likely it is to return to its original state.
 
What other skin conditions can occur after significant weight loss?
In addition to those listed above (stretch marks and skin pigmentation) you might also see an increase in rashes and skin irritation where there are loose skin folds. These can trap moisture, leading to fungal infections or chafing which may cause changes in skin texture.
 
Does this vary by age and overall health?
Absolutely. Both age and overall health are major contributors to how skin responds to weight loss. Younger skin has more collagen and elastin, giving it a much better chance of bouncing back. It also has less UV exposure and damage, so is overall a better quality. Other factors like genetics, smoking, and nutrition also impact skin elasticity, regardless of age. Lastly, medical factors like pregnancy or cirrhosis can rapidly enlarge abdominal skin and cause the dermis (the strength layer of the skin) to thin, stretch marks to develop, or skin pigmentation to occur that becomes permanent. 
 
What steps can one take to mitigate or prevent drastic changes?
Consider a gradual weight-loss approach, allowing your skin time to adapt. Strength training can help build muscle mass, which might fill out some of the looseness. Staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet rich in collagen-boosting nutrients like vitamin C and zinc, and protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure are also crucial. Topical therapies like quality moisturizing skin care or injectable treatments to boost collagen like Sculptra (poly-L lactic acid) or dilute Radiesse (calcium hydroxyapatite) can help. Æsthetic treatments like laser resurfacing and chemical peels can help to rejuvenate skin appearance and improve skin texture. Lastly, surgical options such as body contouring like tummy tucks, breast lifts, or body lifts can offer a more definitive solution for excess skin.
 

Products to help firm skin

Factor Five Regenerative Serum
Factor Five Regenerative Serum
An anti-aeging breakthrough that deviates from traditional age-defying skin care to target the signs of ageing: wrinkles, sun spots, tightness, thickness, texture, and more. This potent serum combines human stem cell derived growth factors with copper peptides to help restore your skin.
 
SBLA Beauty
SBLA Beauty Neck, Chin & Jawline Sculpting Wand XL
The revolutionary Neck, Chin & Jawline Sculpting Wand uses Macro-Sphere technology to target the thinnest and most fragile areas of the skin that are prone to ageing: the jawline, chin, neck area as well as the décolleté.
 
Althaea Beauty
Althaea CARA Multi-Modal Tool and Activation Mask
Designed to be used in the evening, CARA ’s energies and blue and red light amplify our clock genes’ ability to turn on the repair and rejuvenate functions that naturally occur within our skin cells. This helps promote healing of the damage that may have been caused by environmental stressors during the day, such as pollutants and UV rays. CARA works synergistically with the Activation Mask for optimal results.
 

 
Colleen Rothschild Bio-Azure Replenishing Oil
This powerful elixir deeply hydrates, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and enhances skin’s firmness, revitalizing your complexion instantly. Its robust formulation strengthens the skin’s natural barrier, safeguarding against the daily wear and tear of modern life, leaving the skin refreshed and resilient.
 
Dr David Hill uses his dynamic artistic skill and innovative surgical techniques to craft beautiful outcomes. He is conscientious, compassionate, and comprehensive. While there are many routes to becoming a plastic surgeon, Dr Hill chose the most demanding, completing entire residencies in both plastic surgery and general surgery. His enthusiasm for lifelong learning led to his development of a unique surgical instrument for which he holds a patent, and he is sought-after for his insight in operative efficiency and improved outcomes. As a surgeon, Dr Hill combines his eye for detail with a gift for crafting natural results, specializing in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body. Visit www.fulcrumaesthetics.com.

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