Waking Up with a Puffy Face: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options!


John Saad

Having a swollen face can happen due to various health conditions, such as injury, infection, and allergies, among others. Medical emergencies can be a cause of certain things.

Sometimes, you might wake up with a face that is swollen and puffy. This could happen if something is pressing against your face while you sleep. However, a swollen and puffy face can also happen due to a facial injury or be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Facial swelling doesn’t only affect the face, but it can also affect the neck or throat. If there are no injuries to the face, swelling in the face can be a sign of a medical emergency. Facial swelling is usually best treated by a medical professional.

Why is My Face Puffy in the Morning?

Here’s some bad news for people who sleep on their side — it seems that this position might be causing your face and eyes to look puffy in the morning. “When we sleep lying down, the fluid in our body moves and settles in different areas because of gravity and pressure,” explains Dr. King. “If you sleep on one side, it’s probable that the side of your face resting on the pillow will appear more swollen compared to the other side.”

Why do my eyes usually swell the most on my face? Giles explains that it is because the area is very delicate. “The eye contour area has a unique physiology compared to the rest of the face. It tends to show the most signs of fatigue because it is the most strained and delicate area,” she explains. “We blink about 10,000 times a day to keep our eyes hydrated and working properly.

However, while we sleep, waste products can accumulate in the lymph, which is responsible for removing them from the blood.” Fluid retention causes swelling in the lower eyelid. The puffiness usually goes away in the morning, but it can last longer if there are circulation problems.

Symptoms of Puffy Face

A puffy face occurs when fluids accumulate in the tissues of your face, leading to swelling. You may also notice swelling around your neck or upper arms. Here are some general things you could have:

Waking Up with a Puffy Face

  • Swelling of the eye or lip
  • You may notice flaky, oily spots on your cheeks, near the edge of your scalp, or in the folds beside your nose.
  • You may experience painful bumps, either individually or in clusters.
  • Soft to firm lumps that do not cause pain

What Causes Your Face to Get Puffy?

Sleeping Position

When you go to sleep, fluid in your body moves and collects in your face, which can make it look puffy. If you want to prevent puffiness in the morning, try sleeping with an extra pillow to prop up your head. This can help reduce the swelling that typically goes away as the morning progresses.

Fluid Retention

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), under-eye bags can be caused by water retention. Water retention is most noticeable in the morning, especially if you consumed a large amount of salty foods the previous night.

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can cause swelling and puffiness in addition to red, itchy eyes. “Chronic rubbing” of the under-eye area caused by seasonal allergies can make puffiness around the eyes worse, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick from If you have seasonal allergies, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They might suggest using creams, eye drops, or pills to help reduce your symptoms.

Lack of Sleep

According to the AAO, the way you sleep can make your face look puffy in the morning. However, not getting enough sleep can also have a negative impact.


Smoking can make collagen loss happen faster. This can make the skin under your eyes thinner and cause the blood vessels to be more visible in that sensitive area, according to the AAO.


According to the AAO, if one of your parents or relatives has baggy or puffy under-eyes, there’s a possibility that you might also have the same condition. According to Dr. Garshick, puffy eyes like these are usually difficult to treat with creams or serums. However, there are different procedures like lasers, microneedling, radiofrequency devices, and even surgery that can help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.

Possible Major Causes of Puffy Face


When a person is pregnant, it is normal for them to have swelling in different parts of their body, including their face. This swelling is called edema. This typically occurs in the later stages of pregnancy.

If your face or hands become extremely swollen during or after your pregnancy, it could be a sign of a medical emergency. If you have severe swelling in your face, it is important to contact your doctor or healthcare provider.

Thyroid Disorder

The thyroid is a gland in your neck that looks like a butterfly and it helps control how your body uses energy. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. If you have hypothyroidism, it can make your face look swollen. Some other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Frequently feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling sad
  • Thin or dry hair


Obesity is a widespread long-term illness that impacts both adults and children. When someone has obesity, it means they have too much fat under their skin and in their belly area. Adipose tissue cells produce substances that can cause inflammation in the body. At times, when there is extra inflammation in the body, it can make the face appear more puffy. If you are overweight or obese, have a conversation with your doctor about how you can keep a healthy weight.


Steroids are drugs that are used to treat various medical conditions. In certain situations, they can be very helpful, but they can also have negative effects if taken for a long time or in the wrong amount.

How to Get Rid of a Puffy Face?

To reduce a bloated or puffy face, you can eat a balanced diet with low sodium, exercise regularly, and make sure to get enough sleep. To reduce puffiness, it is helpful to limit your alcohol consumption and make sure you stay hydrated.

Waking Up with a Puffy Face

The water in your body moves through your bloodstream and lymph, which is a fluid that carries immune cells. Swelling happens when fluid collects in certain parts of your body, like your face, hands, and legs. Continue reading to discover five easy diet and lifestyle adjustments that could potentially decrease the puffiness of your face.

Drink Less Alcohol

Drinking a moderate-to-high amount of alcohol can make your face look puffy. Drinking alcohol makes your blood vessels get bigger. Because of this, the blood vessels under your skin on your face may look bigger than usual, which can make your face look puffy.

A study published in 2019 looked at how heavy drinking, which means having more than eight alcoholic drinks per week, affects women’s bodies. The researchers discovered that women who consumed large amounts of alcohol were more likely to have swelling or puffiness under their eyes compared to others.

If you usually drink red wine with dinner, try replacing it with water instead. According to Cynthia Sass, RDN, alcohol can make you dehydrated, which means your body might hold onto water.

Eat Healthy Diet

A common cause of a swollen face is consuming too much salt. When you eat too much salt, your body keeps extra fluids, which can make your face swell up. Processed foods usually have a high amount of salt. These foods can also cause inflammation, which can make your face look puffy.


If your body retains too much sodium and water, it can cause swelling.Three Sodium is a type of electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water in your body. Sweating is one way to remove extra sodium from the body. When you sweat, your body loses a lot of sodium, especially when you exercise. Being physically active can help you lose weight, and you may notice changes in your face over time.

The CDC recommends that you engage in moderate exercise for a total of 150 minutes per week. A good way to approach this is by dividing it into 30 minutes per day, for five days per week.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking more water can help get rid of extra sodium that your body is holding onto from salty meals you’ve had before. If the sodium levels in your body are high, your brain sends signals that make you feel thirsty. So, when you drink water, it makes you pee more. Your body gets rid of extra sodium by passing it out through urine.

How old you are, how much you weigh, and the environment you’re in affect how much water you need. On average, women should drink about nine cups of fluid each day, while men should aim for about 13 cups. If you exercise, it’s hot outside, or you’re sick, you should drink more water to replace the fluids you lose.

If you don’t like the taste of water, you can try enhancing its flavor. For instance, you can try adding a small amount of lemon juice or opt for flavored sparkling water.

Other Causes of a Swollen Face

If you wake up with a puffy face, it could indicate a potential health issue that needs attention. These can include:

  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. According to Merck Manuals, common symptoms of this condition include feeling tired, gaining weight, having dry skin, and being sensitive to cold. Some people may also have mild swelling in their face.
  • Cushing’s syndrome: Cushing’s syndrome is a condition where the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. It can cause a person’s face to look round or swollen, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also lead to weight gain that you didn’t expect, stretch marks, acne, slower healing of wounds, and a rounded hump between the shoulders.
  • Severe Allergic Reaction: Sometimes, sudden swelling of the face can happen because of a serious allergic reaction, which is also known as anaphylaxis. “According to Dr. Casey, this is very dangerous because it can make it hard to swallow.” Additional symptoms may include a rash on the skin, feeling sick to your stomach, throwing up, feeling lightheaded, or having a swollen tongue or throat.

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider?

If your face is swollen and you think it might be because of a health problem like an eye infection or tooth abscess, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a healthcare provider. Getting treatment for the condition can help reduce swelling in the face.

If you notice that your skin is discolored and puffy, it is important to see a healthcare provider right away. Cellulitis is a serious infection of the skin caused by bacteria. It makes the skin red and swollen. Cellulitis is treated by healthcare providers using antibiotics.

If you have facial swelling along with difficulty breathing, fever, tenderness, or redness or swelling that is severe, you should also see a doctor.

  • Long-lasting, especially if it worsens with time
  • Painful and severe
  • Sudden


A swollen face can be caused by various health conditions, including injury, infection, and allergies. Puffy faces can also be a sign of a medical emergency and should be treated by a medical professional. Sleeping on one side can cause the face and eyes to look puffy in the morning due to fluid retention in the lower eyelid. Symptoms of a puffy face include swelling of the eye or lip, painful bumps, and soft lumps. Causes include sleeping position, fluid retention, seasonal allergies, lack of sleep, smoking, and genetics. Pregnancy can cause swelling in the face, while thyroid disorders can cause swollen faces. Obesity can also cause puffiness, and it is important to discuss with a doctor about maintaining a healthy weight. Treatment options include lasers, microneedling, radiofrequency devices, and surgery.

Steroids can be helpful in treating medical conditions but can also have negative effects if taken for too long or in the wrong amount. To reduce bloated or puffy faces, eat a balanced diet with low sodium, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Limit alcohol consumption and stay hydrated. Consuming too much salt can cause inflammation and swelling, while exercising helps regulate water levels. Drinking more water can help get rid of excess sodium. Other causes of a swollen face include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and severe allergic reactions. If you suspect a health problem like an eye infection or tooth abscess, contact a healthcare provider for treatment. If you experience discolored and puffy skin, cellulitis, difficulty breathing, fever, tenderness, or severe facial swelling, see a doctor.