While Mounjaro has been hailed as a breakthrough in weight loss and diabetes management, its journey is not without its unique set of challenges. Among these is a phenomenon increasingly being referred to as “Mounjaro Face,” a term paralleling the already-known “Ozempic Face.” These terms describe the noticeable changes in facial appearance, particularly the sagging or aging of the skin, observed in some individuals undergoing treatment with these medications. This article aims to delve into the intricacies of Mounjaro, its effects on the body, and the cosmetic implications that accompany its use.

Mounjaro and VialWhat is Mounjaro?

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2022, Mounjaro has emerged as a significant player in the realm of type 2 diabetes treatment and chronic weight management. Containing the active ingredient tirzepatide, Mounjaro demonstrates potent effects not only in lowering blood glucose levels but also in aiding significant weight loss. Its counterpart, Ozempic, with the active ingredient semaglutide, shares a similar profile, leading to the coining of the term “Ozempic Face” to describe similar facial changes due to weight loss. Understanding these medications, their benefits, and their side effects, including the impact on facial aesthetics, is crucial for those considering or currently undergoing treatment.

How does Mounjaro work?

Mounjaro contains the active ingredient tirzepatide, which is both a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. In terms of diabetes treatment, Mounjaro mimics naturally occurring GLP-1 and GIP. In doing so, it activates insulin release from the pancreas, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and thus manage diabetes.

It also works by slowing gastric emptying. Gastric emptying is the process in which the food you ingest moves through the digestive tract. By delaying this process, food contents sit in the digestive tract for longer, keeping you full. When you are satiated for longer, you end up eating less food and thus losing weight. This is why many individuals on Mounjaro can see significant drops in weight with treatment.

How effective is Mounjaro in losing weight?

Through Mounjaro’s dual GLP-1 and GIP activity, it induces significant decreases in weight. A series of studies known as the SURPASS clinical trials have helped to understand the extent of these effects. These studies analyzed how Mounjaro compared to placebo and other medications with regards to weight loss. The data from the trials are as follows:

  • SURPASS-1: Mounjaro caused weight losses of between 6.3 to 8.8 kg
  • SURPASS-2: Mounjaro caused weight losses of 5.5 kg more than semaglutide
  • SURPASS-3: Mounjaro caused average weight losses of 7.5 kg (5 mg), 10.7 kg (10 mg), and 12.9 kg (15 mg) versus an increase in 2.3 kg with degludec
  • SURPASS-4: Mounjaro had more potent weight loss compared with insulin glargine
  • SURPASS-5: Mounjaro lowered patient weight by an average of 10.9 kg versus the placebo group that gained an average of 1.7 kg

As you can see, Mounjaro can be incredibly effective in inducing weight loss. It is comparable, if not better, than several other drugs on the market, including semaglutide (also known under its brand names Ozempic and Wegovy). Likewise, Mounjaro is becoming a popular weight loss medication for those seeking to shed the pounds.

What are the side effects of Mounjaro?

Although Mounjaro can be incredibly effective, it does not come without some inherent risks. Mounjaro can cause certain side effects that may be uncomfortable or unpleasant. Some of these side effects may resolve with time, while others may be long-term. Common side effects of Mounjaro are related to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and include things like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and stomach pain. These side effects are dose-dependent and tend to get better as your body gets used to the medication.

It is important to note that the aforementioned side effects are the result of Mounjaro itself. However, you may also experience differences in your body because of the weight loss and not Mounjaro. Let’s review some of the effects of weight loss.

What are the effects of losing weight?

If you are on Mounjaro to help you lose weight, then you are likely to welcome any weight loss you see. Weight loss, particularly in those that are overweight or obese, has so many advantages for your overall health and wellness. Some of the many benefits of maintaining a healthy weight include:

  • Improving your cardiovascular health, including decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Lowering your risk of certain cancers, including pancreatic, breast, liver, kidney, and endometrial cancer
  • Improving blood sugar control, particularly in type 2 diabetes
  • Improving your mobility and joint pain
  • Lowering your risk of stroke
  • Improving your quality of sleep, thus increasing your energy
  • Improving your self esteem
  • Increasing sex drive

There are many more benefits to weight loss beyond what is just listed here. Thus, if you are obese or overweight, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is a great goal to support your overall wellness.

It is important to note, however, that weight loss is not all rainbows and butterflies. Shedding the pounds can sometimes cause some unwanted effects, particularly cosmetic effects. Let’s discuss what can happen, particularly with regards to skin.

How does weight loss affect skin?

How does weight loss affect skin?

The unfortunate downside of losing weight, specifically large amounts of weight, is that you may be left with excess amounts of skin. This loose skin can be present anywhere in your body where you carried fat. Some people even notice it in their face, where fat loss causes their skin to sag more. With saggy skin, it may appear that you look older than before, as your face is no longer as full, and the skin is less taut.

Thus, although drugs like Mounjaro help you to drop in weight, you may notice an undesired effect of loose skin and the appearance of aging. While Mounjaro itself did not accelerate aging, the weight loss can make it appear as such.

What can I do about my loose skin?

Woman receiving facial skin treatment to remove wrinkles

The good news is that there are many options for treating loose and aging skin. Some great options are as follows:

  • Natural treatments. Depending on how much weight you lost and the severity of the loose skin, you may be able to see results with at-home treatments. Specific oils like coconut oil can help to restore the function of your skin barrier, improving the look and feel of your skin. Other topical treatments like creams may help to firm up the skin as well. However, anything more than minor loose skin will likely need to be treated professionally.
  • Body contouring. Body contouring is one of the surgical options to remove excess skin. This can be done to the upper and/or lower body, and results can be fairly drastic.
  • Thread lift. A method using polydioxanone (PDO) threads can be used to lift skin internally. This is not a surgical procedure, and it works by boosting collagen production, preventing sagging. It can be done on the face, knees, chest, and buttocks. Thus, if you are noticing aging in your face, this may be a good option.
  • Ultrasound. Another option is ultrasound therapy, which must be done in a medical office. An ultrasound produces deep waves into the skin to promote collagen production. It is often used on the face to treat excess skin, particularly after bariatric surgery.
  • Radiofrequency. Another in-office method involves utilizing radiofrequency and infrared light into your tissues. In doing so, your skin tightens, preventing sagging of the skin.

What else can I do to prevent aging skin?

Outside of treating sagging skin due to weight loss, you can also institute preventative measures to avoid accelerated aging of your skin. Follow these tips and tricks to do so:

  • Utilize SPF. One of the best and most important ways to prevent aging is to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays. To do so, opt for a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, and wear it every single day. You can also further safeguard yourself by wearing sun-protective clothing, seeking shade, and wearing a hat.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can certainly accelerate aging, so if you smoke, this can affect the appearance of your skin. There are also several other widespread benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Avoid getting a tan. Tanning can accelerate aging in your skin. Thus, if you want to maintain tanned skin, opt for an at-home self-tanner instead of the sun or a tanning bed.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. These foods contain antioxidants that provide a protective effect against free radicals, which are harmful substances both to your body and skin.
  • Moisturize. It is important to keep your skin hydrated, so apply moisturizer to your face to keep it looking young and hydrated.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can dehydrate you and thus your skin. Over time, dehydration damages the skin, making you appear older.
  • Engage in exercise. By working out consistently, you are both improving your immune system and boosting circulation. Doing these can benefit the appearance of your skin.

Conclusion

In summary, though Mounjaro is incredibly effective in the realm of weight loss, it can also cause some unwanted effects. In particular, weight loss can cause excess skin all over the body, which may provide the appearance of increased age. Thankfully, there are many options available to improve the cosmetic consequences of weight loss and other methods to prevent aging skin.