Does Creatine Make Your Face Fat? (4 Factors to Consider)

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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.

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.

Creatine May Cause Water Weight Gain/Retention

A Man Consuming Creatine

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.

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.

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, although I know some indivudals don’t enjoy the taste of creatine HCL.

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.

Be Wary of Your Nutrition

A Man Doing the "Bicep Pose" While Surrounded By Baskets of Nutritious Food

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Creatine Make You Chubby?

An Overweight Man Holding a Dumbbell in One Hand With a Measuring Tape Draped Around His Body

I’ll repeat once again, no creatine won’t make you chubby or fat.

I’ve mentioned that the main aim of creatine is to draw water from the body to the muscles.

This can make your muscles look fuller and bigger.

However, I won’t ignore the fact that this does lead to water retention with some individuals.

And I happen to be one of these individuals who has suffered this “side effect”.

That being said, there are certainly many, many trainees who never experience weight gain, chubbiness, or bloating through supplementing creatine.

I can’t say for certain why water retention occurs for some individuals, but not for others.

But in reality if you’re supplementing with creatine you should become leaner and more muscular.

Now, I don’t mean that simply taking creatine will help you achieve this.

Creatine’s main role (in terms of supplementation) is to give you a small boost while you work out.

So, you may find that you’re able to pump out an extra rep or two.

Then again, you may find that you’re able to sprint an extra set or run for another few minutes on top of what you’d normally achieve,

Essentially, you’re working out slightly harder, increasing your metabolic rate, and have additional endurance.

It’s not a huge amount, but every little counts.

And it is these tiny boosts in performance that will improve your body composition.

So, if you are one of the unfortunate few (like me) who do experience weight gain or getting fatter, this is something you’ll need to deal with while supplementing creatine.

Personally, I’ve found that cycling on-and-off creatine every 4-6 weeks seems to do the trick.

Basically, my body is becoming more used to creatine supplementation without the need to constantly take it.

And eventually this is how I stopped getting bloated and chubby whenever I took creatine.

Does Creatine Change Your Skin?

This is a bit of a weird one, in terms of what creatine will do or not do to your skin.

Firstly, I know many people feel that taking creatine can cause acne.

However, you must remember that creatine is naturally produced in the body.

Furthermore, there are actually face creams and face lotions which contain creatine.

And the reason for this is that creatine can promote skin cell turnover and recovery.

Therefore, you could say that creatine is good for skin.

That being said, the way creatine is applied to skin creams and the way it is supplemented in a training environment is very different.

What I will say, although creatine won’t dramatically improve strength and endurance, certain hormones in the body are increased through supplementation.

One such hormone is dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT, which is a by-product of testosterone.

Now, there have been scientific studies which show that DHT can increase by up to 50% in individuals who supplement with creatine.

But, further scientific studies show that an increase in DHT can cause hair loss for some individuals.

Once more, I know that many people ask whether creatine causes hair loss, and if you are suffering from this it is due to the increased levels of DHT.

Furthermore, this natural increase in hormones can cause other side effects in certain individuals, and this may include acne or poor skin.

So, much the same as creatine won’t make everyone fat or bloated, it won’t cause issues with the skin (or hair) in all individuals.

Some people will never see any of these side effects, whereas others will.

Can You Lose Fat While Taking Creatine?

Yes, 100% you can lose body fat while taking creatine.

I think it’s important to remember that all this talk of getting chubby, bloated, a fat face, etc. does not occur for everyone.

In fact, it’s only a small percentage of us who suffer this affliction.

And as I’ve mentioned, for those who do appear to put on weight, or feel they’re getting fatter, creatine HCL could be a suitable alternative.

However, in the main, creatine supplementation will help with fat loss and weight loss.

The whole point is that creatine should allow you to perform those extra few reps or go for a few seconds longer.

And this all adds up over time.

If you’re expending more energy on a daily basis, even if this means 2 more reps of squats, or an extra minute on the treadmill, you’re clearly burning more calories.

Furthermore, in terms of strength training, the increased reps can elevate your metabolism even more, and it is this that will burn body fat throughout the day.

Another way to look at it is that creatine can help you to increase muscle and strength.

So, if you are looking to lose weight or burn fat this is ideal, as you’ll typically be in a calorie deficit, so your body is more likely to burn fat than muscle mass for energy.

Does Creatine Make Your Belly Fat?

Hopefully you’re starting to get the point now that creatine won’t actually make you fat.

Sure, the fact that creatine works by drawing water to the muscles means that for some individuals this can cause water retention.

And if I’m being completely honest, for those who do suffer with water retention this is often most noticeable in the face, arms, legs, and belly.

Therefore,if like myself you do experience water retention and bloating it may seem as though your creatine supplementation is causing your belly to get fat.

Realistically, if you’re worried about getting fatter or putting on weight then you can of course stop taking creatine.

I have previously written about how long it takes to lose creatine water weight, and for most people you should start to notice a difference within 5-7 days.

Furthermore, creatine stores will typically start to deplete from 2 weeks and be completely out of your system within 4-6 weeks.

Therefore, you should notice any fat or weight that you’ve “gained” will be lost within this period.

That being said, as creatine draws water to the muscles you may notice that your muscles don’t appear as big or as full once you stop supplementing with creatine.

So, taking creatine or stopping creatine is almost a double-edged sword, especially for those of us who do seem to bloat or appear fatter when taking it.

Is Creatine Good For Strength or Size?

A Muscular Man Holding a Tub of Creatine

Realistically, creatine is a great supplement for individuals who want to get stronger or add more size to their frame.

So, it isn’t a case of one or the other.

You’ll probably most commonly hear that creatine is ideal for “increasing muscular strength”.

And this can be confusing, e.g. Should I take creatine if I want to get stronger or if I wish to add more lean muscle mass?

But, as I say, the truth is that creatine supplementation can help you achieve both of these goals.

Essentially, creatine increases your capacity to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the main form of energy in the body.

Simply put, the more energy you have the better you’re able to perform during your workouts, regardless of the training protocol.

Therefore, you could say that creatine is great for both strength and size.

Then again, it will also help for high-intensity exercise, cardio, conditioning, muscular endurance, and even sports performance.

I guess the best way to look at it is that creatine gives you that “bit extra” to keep going.

And this is true irrespective of what you’re specifically training for.

Clearly, this “additional energy” can help you to add lean muscle mass to your frame or increase your one-rep max.

Additionally, it’s interesting to note that creatine also creates certain processes in the body’s cells to aid recovery.

And the quicker you recover, the more gains you can make in the gym.

Final Thoughts

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.

I’ve spoken a lot about water retention, but it’s also important to ensure that you drink plenty of water when supplementing with creatine.

So, make sure to check out my article about what happens when you don’t drink enough water with creatine.

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