If you’ve woken up this morning and your face is looking a little more puffy, or bloated, than you are used to, know that there are a few potential reasons why – most of which are easily remedied.
While there are some health conditions, such as allergies or a sinus infection that might be the root cause, for most people, it's more likely that late nights, red wine or salty snacks are what is going on.
To figure out what might be at play here, WH consulted a handful of leading experts, to get their take on the cause of, and solutions to a puffy face.
What causes a puffy face?
Typically, a puffy face is caused by water retention. 'The reason for your face becoming puffy is usually due to vasodilation [the widening of blood vessels] and electrolyte [minerals in your body that have an electric charge and which help to balance the amount of water in your body] imbalance, causing fluid to leave your veins and go into your skin area,' notes Harley Street Dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne.
Issues with your lymphatic system could also be involved. 'The lymphatic system is incredibly important in its role for clearing impurities from the body, and occasionally it gets blocked or slowed down. One of the most important things you can do to improve lymphatic drainage is to drink water,' adds Dr Craythorne.
The trigger for this build-up of excess water varies. There are quite a lot of reasons this could happen to you, from eating too much salt, allergies, early wake-up calls, hot showers, alcohol and (the ever-unavoidable) PMS,' says facialist Lisa Franklin.
Can any underlying issues cause a puffy face?
'There are many health conditions that can present with facial swelling including thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and kidney disease,' notes Dr Susan Mayou, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic.
A sinus infection could also be the reason you're looking a bit more bloated in the face than usual.
When you have a nasty cold the air-filled spaces between the eyes and behind your forehead, nose, and cheekbones become inflamed and can get they blocked up with mucus. The pressure caused by that backup causes a dull ache around your eyes, greenish-yellow discharge from your nose, pounding headaches—and sometimes, a swollen face.
Have concerns that this could be you? Give your GP a call and explain what's going on, to them.
How can I prevent a puffy face?
If you know you’re prone to puffiness, aesthetic doctor Dr Sophie Shotter recommends 'sleeping propped up in bed, which can help,' as it will help the excess water to drain. 'Also remove makeup before bed, inflammation in the skin worsens puffiness and dirty makeup left on overnight will contribute to this,' she adds.
'Triggers like allergies and hormones are unavoidable, so it’s worth being mindful of the amount of alcohol and salt you’re consuming around these times especially–and using cooler water to wash your face is a good idea,' advises Franklin.
What foods cause a puffy face?
'Too much sodium (from salt) in the body causes fluid retention which can present as a puffy face,' explains Dr Mayou. 'Use herbs and spices to flavour food rather than salt.
Reduce your intake of foods laced with salt such as the below
- Processed meats
- Gravy granules
- Salted and dry-roasted nuts
- Salt fish
- Soy sauce
- Stock cubes
Does alcohol cause a puffy face?
Alcohol is a diuretic that leads to general dehydration. Our skin becomes dry and can look wrinkly, but at the same time, the face can be puffy due to vasodilation. The complexion dulls but the facial skin can flush and with chronic excess alcohol ingestion the redness can become permanent with broken capillaries.
'Alcohol can deprive your skin of vitamins and nutrients and can cause long-term damage – heavy drinking is linked to permanent redness and skin conditions such as rosacea, so it is important to moderate alcohol,' she warns.
001 Skincare London CRYOpress Ice Facial Massager
De-puff with this ice-cold facial roller.
Caffeine and hyaluronic acid work too soothe and de-puff the delicate under-eye area.
Jade Gua Sha
Pop this in the freezer and then use it to massage away unwanted water retention and to unblock your lymph nodes.
Cooling Full Face Gel Mask, Ice Mask for Puffy eyes – Relaxation & Thermal Relief – Use Hot or Cold to relieve Stress and Tension
Use this ice-pack-like face mask to instantly cool and calm a puffy face.
Soma Glass Drinks Bottle with Bamboo Lid
Eating salty foods and drinking alcohol? Sipplenty of water to prevent a puffy face.
Jade Facial Roller (Medium)
Yu Ling Rollerscultbeauty.co.uk
Roll away water retention with this nifty gadget. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool skin too.
Energy-boosting treatment lotion mist
Keep a face mist in the fridge to soothe an inflamed, puffy face, any time.
This Works Stress Check Face Oil, 30ml
Massage away puffiness with a soothing, calming face oil.
How can I get rid of a puffy face?
1. Get up and about
Woken up with a puffy face? 'Get up and out of bed!' says Dr Shotter. 'Being upright will encourage fluid to drain from the face and swelling to reduce quicker.'
2. Stay hydrated
Also, Dr Shotter recommends drinking plenty of water. 'It might sound counter-intuitive, but staying well hydrated will mean your tissue fluids are more balanced and puffiness will decrease.'
3. Use a cold compress
All the experts agree that using cold water to cleanse or using skincare or facial tools straight from the fridge can help de-puff. 'Water retention can sometimes feel a bit inflamed or uncomfortable,' notes Franklin. 'The cool temperature will not only feel great but also help de-puff.'
Cryo Facial Tools
4. Try lymphatic drainage
Franklin ends all her facials with a lymph draining massage using a rose quartz stone. 'We have lymph nodes all over our bodies and their purpose is to drain fluid from the tissue in the skin and transport it back to the bloodstream, however, if there’s any kind of obstruction then fluid will build up (aka water retention / puffiness).
'This is where massage comes in, as it will help clear any blockages and accelerate the transportation of fluids. For example, to target puffiness around your jawline, use your Rose Quartz facial tool to sweep along your jawline with gentle pressure, sweeping from the chin towards your ear. Then, sweep downwards along the outside of your neck – always start in the middle and sweep out towards the edge of your face.'
Hayo’u Beauty Restorer
Rose Quartz Gua Sha
Rose Quartz Gua Sha Heart Sculpty
O'o Hawaii Rose Quartz Gua Sha Beauty Tool
A workout can make all the difference to your bloated face. When you lay still and flat at night swelling accumulates around the eyes making them look puffy. Doing a workout or even just some light exercise will help.
6. Try a cooling moisturiser
This uniquely cooling moisturiser is enriched with super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and is suitable for use when applied straight from the freezer for an icy, soothing saviour to combat tired and puffy skin
Skin Proud Frozen Over - Gel to Ice Hydrator
7. Turn down your shower
A hot shower may feel nice and relaxing but it can increase fluid as well as blood supply to the face, meaning you exit looking hot and puffy.
Turning the heat down a notch or two is the best way to avoid this, however if you need high temperatures then just make sure to end your wash by splashing cold water on your face.
How can I get rid of a puffy face from alcohol?
As well as trying all the above, all the experts suggest skilling up on your at-home facial massage if you want to deflate a puffy face, fast.
If you don’t have a facial massage tool, you can use your hands. Dr Craythorne recommends the following five minute facial massage for puffy faces:
- Apply gentle but firm pressure and swipe upwards, using a gentle facial oil
- Use your ring finger for the eye area and gently pat around each eye, in circular motions
- Move your fingers across your forehead in both directions for around thirty seconds
- Move your fingers from below your chin using upward strokes towards your ears
- Tap fingers around your lower jaw
- Move your hands from the top of your nose downwards and back upwards.
- Gradually move your fingers and hands in sweeping motions towards your earlobes.
- Pucker your lips together for a few seconds to stimulate blood in the mouth area and then smile widely.
- To finish, move your fingers and hands from the base of your ears down to your collarbone in gentle sweeps
How to get rid of a puffy face, fast
In a rush? De-puff and cool by grabbing some trusty ice cubes that have been chilling in your freezer, wrap them up in gauze, and run over your skin, focusing on the eye and forehead areas. 'Your skin will be brighter, tighter and lifted,' says Dr Alexandrides.
Follow with this sheet mask. Formulated with cryotherapy technology, it mimics the refreshing and detoxifying effects of extreme cold on the skin, helping to reverse the visible signs of fatigue and de-puff your face.
Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask
What foods reduce swelling in your face?
Occasional swelling can be a sign of long-term inflammatory disease so see your GP if you're concerned. In the mean time though you can also raid your fridge and pantry as certain foods can help to dial down inflammation.
- Dark Green vegetables
- Healthy fats such whole nuts
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
You're not working out enough
As a consequence, water and salt both are excreted from the body as sweat. This keeps the water-salt balance low in the body and reduces puffiness. So it's important to have an active lifestyle to maintain this balance and avoid a puffy face,” says Dr Goel.
"Healthy habits, such as a low salt diet, avoiding excess alcohol, and drinking plenty of water, as well as getting a good night's sleep are crucial in reducing puffiness," says Viscusi.
Eat Sodium, Carbs, and Processed Foods in Moderation
"The three biggest culprits for fluid retention that shows up on the face are sodium, excess carbs, and alcohol." If those are part of your regular diet, you may want to pay attention to how you consume them.
In the early stages of dehydration, your body tries to hold on to fluid causing water retention. Water is drawn into the blood vessels, causing them to swell. This leads to areas of the body, especially the face, becoming bloated and puffy looking.
How Long Does Facial Swelling Last? Facial swelling may take 3-7 days to heal. In case your face is bruised, it takes 10-14 days for the bruises to fade.
Dehydration can cause blood vessels to enlarge that can lead to water retention, especially in the face causing it to be puffy. One of the main reasons for your face to swell up is the high content of salt in the body. Salt tends to retain water in the body that causes puffiness.
A Swollen Face Is One Of Many Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
A swollen face is one of the common Hypothyroidism Symptoms that people experience. A swollen face that is caused by low thyroid function is often referred to by medical professionals as “myxoedema.”
Moon facies occurs when extra fat builds up on the sides of the face. It is often related to obesity but can be from Cushing's syndrome. That's why people sometimes refer to it as a Cushingoid appearance. Cushing's syndrome occurs when the body is exposed for long periods to high levels of a hormone called cortisol.
It takes a lot of water for your body to get rid of excess sugar, as your kidneys work overtime and blood pumps around your body. Too much sugar therefore leaves you dehydrated. On your face, this means sagging skin and puffy eyes.
Antihistamines can reduce the swelling, redness, and itchiness of rashes and hives on the face. They can also help with symptoms, such as watering eyes, stuffy nose, and breathing difficulty.
- Load up on anti-inflammatory foods. ...
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods. ...
- Control blood sugar. ...
- Make time to exercise. ...
- Lose weight. ...
- Manage stress.
Ice and heat can help to decrease facial swelling, but they must be applied according to a specific timetable. For the first 48 hours after your procedure, use an ice pack — 20 to 30 minutes on one side of the face, then remove or switch to the other side of the face for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
- Decrease Sodium Intake.
- Cut Back On Refined Carbs.
- Drink More Water.
- Take Supplements. Chromium Picolinate. Potassium Citrate.
- Eat Potassium Rich Foods.
- Manage Stress Levels.
- Take Electrolytes.
Nigma Talib, a naturopath who works with celebrities, has popularized the term “Sugar Face” to describe the effects that excess sugar has on the skin. Supposedly, she can look at someone's face and determine if they have a sweet tooth by the appearance and the location of their blemishes and wrinkles.
Reduce your salt intake
Also, opt for low-sodium foods which include broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, red beans, brown rice, quinoa, berries, apples, bananas, pears and more. When you reduce your salt intake, it helps in reducing inflammation as well as bloating. All these will result in a slimmer face.
Besides being very healthy overall, water intake is actually quite effective at reducing facial fat. When you drink a glass of water, your body will naturally want to eat less food as well as help your skin look younger. This results in your face looking flat and slim rather than plump and bloated.
Infectious causes of face swelling
Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis (noticeable swelling around the eyes) Erysipelas (an aggressive Group A Streptococcus infection that most frequently harms children and the immunocompromised) Cellulitis (skin infection) Mumps.
Hold the swollen part of your body above the level of your heart several times a day. In some cases, elevating the affected body part while you sleep may be helpful. Massage. Stroking the affected area toward your heart using firm, but not painful, pressure may help move the excess fluid out of that area.
How to Do a Self Thyroid Exam - YouTube
In people living with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), the body's metabolism slows down. This can often lead to many symptoms, including lethargy and fatigue. In people with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), the body's metabolism speeds up.
You may feel nervous, moody, weak, or tired. Your hands may shake, your heart may beat fast, or you may have problems breathing. You may be sweaty or have warm, red, itchy skin. You may have more bowel movements than usual.
How can I lose face fat in a week? Reducing alcohol consumption, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and limiting salt intake are a few simple ways to reduce swelling and fluid retention, which may make the face appear slimmer.
“Excess facial fat typically occurs from weight gain resulting from a poor diet, lack of exercise, aging, or genetic conditions. Fat is usually more visible in the cheeks, jowls, under the chin and neck.”