Puffy Face

Swollen or puffy face may be normal if you develop it occasionally or once in a blue moon (requiring no medical work-up) however, if you are experiencing frequent episodes of facial puffiness, you should seek immediate medical intervention as it may be a sign of a grave underlying pathology that must be corrected. You should also observe if your family members or siblings had/ have a history of facial puffiness after waking up in the morning.

Symptoms of Puffy Face

Knowing associated symptoms of puffy face are helpful in diagnosing the primary etiological event that has led to the development of puffy face. The associated symptoms of facial puffiness respond very well to lifestyle modification and home remedies to restore the natural healthy look on your face.

1. Mild Symptoms

Mild symptoms that are associated with puffy face includes pain, redness of entire face or localized redness at or around eyes, nose or upper/ lower face. In addition, facial puffiness may also be associated with hives, rashes, bumps or localized lesions. Other mild symptoms include low grade or high grade fever, nausea and sneezing.

2. Severe Symptoms

Severe symptoms that are associated with facial puffiness warrant emergent medical attention to prevent life threatening consequences. These symptoms include swelling of throat that may lead to difficulty with swallowing or breathing, swelling of tongue that increases the risk of sudden death due to angioedema and obstruction of respiratory passageways, swelling of nostrils and other vital structures that are associated with breathing.

Causes of Puffy Face

There are a number of causes that may present as puffy face. Few popular ones are listed as under:

1. Dehydration

One of the most common causes of facial puffiness is dehydration. In situations when the total body intake of water is low, the kidneys conserve water by increasing the absorption of water that is stored in soft tissues. Moderate dehydration leads to puffiness of face in addition to swelling of feet and hands. The puffiness of face due to dehydration responds very well to water intake.

2. Dietary Factor

Certain foods and nutrients significantly increase the risk of developing temporary puffy face. This includes fatty foods or beverages that dehydrate your body like coffee and tea. In addition to dehydration, deficiency of vitamin C also presents with puffy face and responds to supplemental vitamin C and water- melon juice. If you consume alcohol in moderate amounts, cutting down intake also helps tremendously.

3. Kidney Diseases

Kidney diseases (or renal failure) may also present with puffy face but in vast majority of cases, the swelling is more pronounced in the peri-orbital region, hands and feet. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are also experiencing urinary symptoms that points to a renal pathology.

4. Hypothyroidism

Hormonal disorders are yet another common cause of puffy face due to alteration in the normal metabolic pathways. In addition to puffy face, you will also have other symptoms of hypothyroidism like weight gain, constipation, dryness of skin and changes in the rhythm of heart.

5. Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is marked by high cortisol levels that alter normal vascular metabolism and leads to a round moon-shaped puffy due to deposition of fat. It may be a result of endogenous hyper-secretion of cortisol or exogenous intake of steroids to relieve chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma or other similar ailments.

6. Other Causes

Other uncommon conditions that may also present with puffy face includes obesity, insect bite, allergic reaction to drugs or certain foods, angioedema, abscess or infection of tooth, sinuses or associated structures of head and neck region, nephritic or nephrotic syndrome, mumps and swelling of salivary glands (like inflammation of parotid gland).

Relieves for Puffy Face

1. Dietary Methods

Dietary modifications are helpful in relieving puffiness of face without requiring any other intervention.

  • Maintain high hydration status by increasing your water intake to at least 2 liters per day.
  • Salt osmotically attracts water and aggravates the symptoms of edema. Limiting your salt intake is extremely helpful if you have puffy face due to renal problem or hypertension.
  • High alcohol intake is associated with dieresis (excretion of large amounts of water in urine).
  • Eat Healthy and balanced diet that is rich in quality vitamins and minerals.

2. Regular Exercises

Perform regular physical activity since sometimes the inflammatory reactions block lymphatics leading to puffiness of face. With regular physical therapy and simple stretching exercises you can relieve edematous swelling of the face and other parts of the body.

3. Homemade Remedies

Home remedies are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of puffy face. You can try these remedies for speedy recovery:

  • Cold Milk. In situations when the swelling on your face is due to an abscess or sore, application of cold milk with cotton ball is helpful in reducing the pain, swelling and inflammation by acting as a cleansing agent. Moreover, also wash your face throughout the day with cold water (without any soap).
  • Cold Creams and Lotions. You can also store your creams and lotions in refrigerator (especially in hot humid days) to alleviate puffiness of face.
  • Cold Compress. Cold compresses are helpful if you have developed an inflammatory or painful swelling due to trauma or underlying inflammation (abscess)

4. Sleeping Position

Changing your sleeping position also helps a great deal. Using higher pillows usually helps in reducing edema of face due to abnormal posture. However, caution must be maintained since high pillows or higher head support may also lead to neck-pain, insomnia or breathing difficulties.

5. Medications

Depending upon the cause of puffy face, your healthcare provider may advise you antibiotics or anti-viral medications to relieve the symptoms due to bacterial or viral infections. You may also get benefitted from steroids if you have developed puffy face due to allergic reaction, anaphylaxis or insect bite.