Does Creatine Bloat Your Face?

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does creatine bloat your face

Does Creatine Bloat Your Face? Find Out In This Conclusive Article

You’ve finally decided to take your training to the next level by using the most recognised supplement in the fitness industry – Creatine.

The only problem is that your face isn’t such a fan. So, let’s answer the question, “Does creatine bloat your face?”

In a nutshell, there is evidence that shows creatine increases water retention within the cells of your body to a small degree and that this only happens in the short term.

Whether or not your face will be directly impacted and become puffier comes down to whether you have hypersensitivity to water retention as well as the possibility of other factors such as diet, hormones and allergies.

Does Creatine Make Your Face Puffy?

On the surface, this question seems a bit counterintuitive since your body naturally produces creatine and you would expect that after supplementing with creatine there isn’t any difference to the fullness of your face but it’s not as simple as that.

In reality, your body will produce 1-2 grams of creatine a day and what we find with pretty much all creatine dosage instructions is that you should consume an excessive amount of creatine during the initial phase of supplementation which typically lasts 5-7 days.

During this “loading phase”, it’s recommended to take as much as 20 grams of creatine per day which is 10-20 times the normal amount produced by your body!

Combine this with the fact that a somewhat old creatine study published by the Journal of Exercise Physiology proves that, at least in the short term, an increase in water retention of 2-3% was observed in individuals supplementing with creatine.

It’s important to note, however, that this water retention was predominantly intracellular, which means it’s the cells of the body that retained water and not any specific region such as the face.

What that means is that any noticeable water retention of the face should be linked to an overall increase in water retention of the whole body.

Also note that this observation was documented over a very short time frame of just 3 days and we know from many other studies that over the long term, creatine has no known side effects, not even water retention, making it one of the safest supplements around.

How Long Does Creating Bloating Last?

If we look at the reports of people online who confirm an increase in face puffiness after supplementing with creatine, we find that this doesn’t last very long.

On average it seems that creating bloating can last anywhere from a week to one month and that in the long term, no one seems to have an issue with creatine related water retention in the face.

Some people start a creatine loading cycle and then stop as soon as their face starts to look puffy, but all this does is repeat the process of making your face look fat with every creatine loading phase.

What you should actually do is maintain the cycle beyond the loading period, preferably for at least one month and take note of how your face looks at that point.

It might be a good idea to also have some photo evidence to confirm your suspicions. Take a picture of your creatine face before and after supplementation and see if there is indeed a difference.

How To Prevent Creatine Bloating

This may seem counterintuitive to the idea of water retention but staying sufficiently hydrated is generally a good way to prevent facial bloating and puffiness. Strangely enough, dehydration will actually cause your face to look fatter than it is.

Decreasing the amount of creatine consumed on a daily basis is another way you can avoid the dreaded puffy face look. The logic here is that based on the study above, it’s during the loading phase of creatine where this fatter face effect kicks in due to the huge amounts of creatine being absorbed by the body.

This leads us to the final way to stop creatine making your face look puffy and that is to completely avoid the loading cycle altogether.

Is A Creatine Loading Phase Necessary?

So far, we’ve covered the fact that creatine can lead to temporary water retention in the initial stages of a loading cycle. Remember we also mentioned that these loading dosages can exceed the body’s natural creatine production levels by 10 to 20 times!

If we also consider the fact that people don’t report symptoms of creatine face bloat when using a daily dose of 3-5 grams during a maintenance cycle, we can see a correlation between the creatine dosage and a puffy face.

In other words, one way to prevent “creatine fat face” is to completely skip the suggested loading phase altogether and start your creatine supplementation at 5 grams per day right from the start.

Additional Causes Of Puffy Face

It’s important to note that sometimes other factors are at play when it comes to your face swelling up and not necessarily something that’s linked to creatine.

Examine some of the common causes of a bloated face below and see if you aren’t possibly being negatively affected by them. If so, you’ll be able to confirm whether creatine is the culprit or not.

Allergic Reactions

It’s well known that having an allergic reaction to something can cause problems for your face, such as a bee sting for example.

Other things to consider include:

  • Insect bites
  • Plants
  • Shellfish
  • Pollen
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Pets

Medication

All pharmaceuticals come packaged with common side effects to be aware of and monitor. Facial swelling may be on the list of new or chronic medication you’re taking so make sure to consult the accompanying documentation.

Hormone Imbalances

Besides medication, your very own body might be doing you a disservice with medical conditions such as thyroid diseases.

Often times these can go undiagnosed so check in with your local doctor if that might be the case, especially if you’ve been experiencing a puffy face before taking creatine.

Diet

This is a big point. A lot of people aren’t aware of the impact food has on their bodies. Remember, not everyone responds to certain types of food in the same way.

A big culprit of a bad diet is sugar. This tasty sweetener that’s part of pretty much everything you eat and drink these days is the real reason most people suffer from face bloating.

Once you cut this out of your daily life or severely limit your sugar intake, you’ll be amazed at the positive changes that come about in a physical and mental way.

Sugar aside, take note if your diet has changed in any other way around the time you started taking creatine. Often, your diet changes when you’re in a bulking or cutting phase or you’re preparing for a sporting event of some type.

Infection

This article seems to have taken a turn into the WebMD direction but fear not. We’re still talking about creatine over here.

Infections are yet another way your face can swell up. Why is it always the face that reacts?

If you have any symptoms that have suddenly made an appearance since your fitness/health transformation, check in with your local doctor or if you’re brave enough, do a self diagnosis online with this tool.

Excessive Calorie Intake

Last, but not least is the possibility that you’re simply eating too much!

I get that you need to eat an excessive amount of calories during a bulking phase if you’re trying to build muscle and gain weight, however, it’s very easy to get this wrong.

The goal with bulking is to only increase your daily caloric needs by about 300 calories. Any more than that, and the scale will start rolling its eyes every time you get on it.

Try to follow a basic 50/30/20 or 40/30/30 calorie split which relates to the percentage of carbs/protein/fat you should be taking in every day based on your daily caloric needs.

For example, if your daily calorie needs were 2000 calories and you followed a 40/30/30 split, you would need 800 calories of carbs, 600 calories of protein and 600 calories of fat.

Following simple dietary guidelines when it comes to gaining or losing weight is 90% of the battle. Get this right and you can say goodbye to a bloated face.

Summary

Does creatine bloat your face? It can and does for a small number of people, but this is only of concern in the short term.

This side effect, most likely related to temporary water gain within the cells of your body (intracellular water retention) has only been shown to occur during the loading phase of creatine where the amount consumed every day is extremely high compared to the maintenance dose.

Other factors can also be the cause of facial swelling, most notably, dehydration, sugar and excessive calories which can all be fixed with simple changes to your diet.

With that said, there’s no need to ask yourself questions like, “What does creatine do to your face?”, or “Does creatine make your face fat?”

Go out there and build the body of your dreams with creatine by your side.