Last updated on November 5th, 2022 at 01:24 pm
I’ve seen this question asked numerous times, “Does Creatine Make Your Face Fat?”
The main reason you take creatine is to increase muscle mass and strength, while improving your sports performance.
However, you’ll also often hear of certain side effects when it comes to creatine supplementation.
And possibly the last thing you want when you’re trying to sculpt the perfect physique is a fat face to top it off.
So, allow me to explain about creatine consumption and the possible impact it may have on your face.
Does Creatine Make Your Face Fat?
Creatine draws water from the body into the muscles, which typically gives them a larger and fuller appearance. However, this can cause water retention and weight gain in some individuals. Although creatine typically goes straight to the muscles, weight gain can occur in any part of the body, including the face. For some individuals creatine weight gain may only be a temporary thing, whereas for others it might continue for as long as they consume creatine. It appears that many individuals report water retention when using creatine monohydrate, but not with creatine HCL.
1. Creatine May Cause Water Weight Gain/Retention
Firstly, it’s important to understand that creatine is completely natural.
In fact, our bodies produce creatine in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
It is then stored in the muscles.
Additionally, you’ll also ingest creatine whenever you eat meat or fish.
The main benefit of creatine supplementation is to rejuvenate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP is the molecule responsible for storing and transferring energy in the cells.
Therefore, once the creatine stores in your muscles become depleted, so does the production of ATP.
The result is that you have decreased energy levels.
So, by supplementing creatine you have now provided the much-needed “fuel” to kickstart ATP production.
And this typically means that you have more energy, strength and power output when you workout.
However, one of the main effects that creatine has on the body is to draw water towards the muscles.
In fact, creatine literally floods the muscles with water.
For some individuals this will cause water retention and water weight gain.
Now, although it’s the muscles that are primarily impacted by creatine, if you’re “putting on weight” then this can happen anywhere in the body.
So, it’s not unheard-of for individuals to look more bloated and puffy in general.
Your stomach may appear larger, your limbs may take on a more bulky appearance, and you may even end up with a fat-looking face.
2. Does Creatine Water Retention Go Away?
It’s important to remember that we are all different from each other as individuals.
So, whereas a great number of people will have water retention from supplementing creatine, there are just as many who won’t.
In fact, I know for a fact that there are a huge number of lifters out there who don’t know what all the “fat” fuss is about.
Basically, creatine provides their body with a boost, but they have never retained water or put on water weight.
So, as I say, everyone is different.
The same can be said when it comes to water retention from creatine supplementation.
There is no exact number of days or weeks that this will last.
For many people, they may retain water and look bloated and puffier during the loading phase.
So, once they revert to maintenance levels of creatine their body returns to normal.
There are others who will take a few weeks, possibly a month or two, to revert to “normal” after their initial creatine consumption.
Then again, there will be individuals who will retain fluids for as long as they take creatine.
If you are someone who appears to permanently retain water, it may not be a bad idea to cycle creatine use.
Therefore, you could take 2-3 weeks off every few months, and see if this has any impact on your body and your workouts.
3. You Can Try Creatine HCL
While researching the fat face (well, fat everything) creatine phenomenon I came across something quite interesting.
I found various people via online fitness forums who claimed that they always seemed to retain water, and put on water weight, when using creatine monohydrate.
However, once they switched to creatine HCL the problem went away.
Now, remember that not everyone’s the same.
There are still many, many people who use creatine monohydrate without any water weight gain.
With that being said, it’s certainly an intriguing anomaly.
So, what’s the difference?
Creatine HCL simply means that creatine molecules have been bound with hydrochloric acid.
However, this simple fact means that HCL is often viewed as the most superior form of creatine.
Basically, the hydrochloric properties make HCL more soluble and its pH is more aligned with the human digestive tract.
In other words, creatine HCL is more efficient in terms of solubility in fluids (it is said to be 40 times more soluble than monohydrate).
This in turn means that it is far easier to absorb by the intestines, and you won’t need as much of it either.
Furthermore, you are less likely to experience stomach issues that some creatine users report.
Plus, this also means that HCL is less likely to cause water retention.
So, if a fat face is a worry for you then you may wish to try creatine HCL.
Best Creatine – Creatine HCL or Creatine Monohydrate?
4. Be Wary of Your Nutrition
I feel this is something I should mention even though it isn’t directly related to creatine supplementation.
However, many people view the most basic supplements, e.g. pre-workout, whey protein, creatine, etc. as some type of magic elixir.
Basically, if they’re taking these supplements they can do no wrong.
They don’t have to train as hard, they can eat what they like, and miraculously produce the body of a Greek God within a matter of weeks.
Okay, I exaggerate, but hopefully you get my meaning.
Yes, consuming creatine can lead to water retention and water weight gain (including the face) in some individuals.
And there will be others who don’t experience any of these side effects.
Either way, creatine is still simply a supplement to restore ATP levels.
And it is this that gives you the energy to train harder and for longer.
So, by kicking your training up a notch you should start to see positive results in your physique.
With that being said, it is pretty much impossible to out-train a bad diet.
This is of course unless you’re training for a huge number of hours a day, but even then bad nutrition will impact on your energy levels to train efficiently.
Unfortunately, many lifters will take creatine, feel as though they have a boost, train harder, but then literally spoil everything by eating whatever they like.
In effect, they believe that they are able to eat anything due to their level of training.
However, this is not sustainable and will eventually catch up with anyone.
So, regardless of whether you’re supplementing with creatine or not (and potentially retaining water), always keep an eye on your diet.
So, as you can see, whether creatine will make your face fat isn’t exactly clear-cut.
Some individuals do experience water retention and water weight gain from creatine supplementation.
And this can cause them to put on weight anywhere in the body, the face included.
Then again, there are those who don’t have any water retention effects from consuming creatine.
Basically, we are all individuals and therefore we will react differently to supplementation.
However, if you do feel you are retaining water then you may want to try creatine HCL.
Furthermore, keep a close eye on your nutrition, as it may not even be the creatine that is causing that fat face.
If creatine is making you feel a little bulky then you’ll no doubt be interested in what I have to say about losing creatine water weight and how long it takes.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.