10 Reasons Why Your Face Looks So Swollen And How To Treat It

Having swellings around your face when you wake up in the morning is not the best way to start the day. While most people can easily shrug it off as they go about their day, the disturbing sight keeps reoccurring in others. You may not worry about facial swelling if it comes once in a while. However, if it happens frequently or keeps getting worse, you should not hesitate to seek help.

Swelling around the face is usually a side-effect that comes with fluid accumulation in the face tissues. The accumulation happens overnight, which explains why the puffiness is the first thing you see in the morning. However, in rare cases, a swollen face may be due to underlying health issues, such as hormonal imbalances and allergies.

This article has highlighted the ten most common reasons you experience swelling around your face. It also proffered practical facial swelling treatments to help you get over it.

1. Allergies

The face area around your nose and eyes is prone to inflammation caused by allergic reactions. These reactions could be due to food, medications, or pollen. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain heart pressure medications come with a swollen face as a side effect. This is called Angioedema and can aggravate a medical emergency if it affects breathing.

  • What should you do?

For non-emergency cases, get some antihistamines to relieve the symptoms. If the allergy is due to contact dermatitis, i.e., your face coming in contact with a strange soap or lotion, you should get the right over-the-counter allergy meds to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

2. Harsh skincare routine

Yes, you want to take care of your skin. However, if you notice facial swelling after introducing new products, you may have to reconsider using such products. Skincare products with retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, and other strong, active ingredients will trigger excessive and irritating exfoliation when applied to your face.

  • What should you do?

Do not rush into using new skincare products, especially when they contain strong, active ingredients. This will help your skin to ease into the new situation.

3. Cushing’s syndrome

Despite being an important hormone–regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, we do not need too much Cortisol in our body. If your adrenal glands continue to produce excess amounts of Cortisol, it may lead to Cushing’s syndrome. The symptoms include round, moon-shaped bruises on the face and skin, more body hair, thicker body hair. It is more common in women than in men.

  • What should you do?

Consult your doctor as soon as possible. Immediate treatment is recommended considering the syndrome’s potential to develop into severe medical issues like type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.

4. Abscessed tooth

Leaving your cracked or chipped tooth and injured cavity untreated is a good way of inviting bacteria into your pulp. The pulp, the soft innards of the tooth, is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Abscessed or infected tooth accumulates pus and thus causes the gum and tooth to swell. This ultimately results in severe toothache and swelling in your jaws and other facial areas.

  • What should you do?

Consult your dentist for the right medications, usually antibiotics. In some cases, you may need to undergo a root canal to get the infected nerve out. Before your doctor’s appointment, you can make do with over-the-counter painkillers.

5. Sleeping on your face

Bad sleeping posture is a leading cause of a swollen face. If you sleep face down on your pillow, the gravity force exerted directs the body’s lymphatic fluid downwards. The accumulation of this fluid leads to a swollen appearance in the morning.

  • What should you do?

Adopt a suitable sleeping position – sleeping on your back. Alternatively, get a pillow to achieve a slight head elevation and reduce gravity. This ensures that the lymphatic fluid flows away from your cheeks and face while sleeping.

6. Sinus infection

Swelling in the face may be due to a sinus infection. The sinus is the air-filled space between the eyes and the back of the forehead, cheekbones, and nose. When these spaces are infected, they accumulate mucus and become blocked – sinus infection. The symptoms include a dull ache around the eyes, a yellowish discharge from your nose, and of course, a swollen face.

  • What should you do?

Antibiotics are not effective against sinus infection, since a virus causes it. So, get sufficient rest, drink sufficient water, and get over-the-counter antihistamine.

7. Cellulitis

Cellulitis is often mistaken for dimpled skin, but it is not. It is a skin infection caused by bacteria. The symptoms include rapid facial swelling, and sometimes, hotness and redness of the affected area. The swelling may spread to other parts of the body in some cases.

  • What should you do?

It is important to treat cellulitis immediately. Leaving it untreated can worsen the situation. To treat, stay on antibiotics for a week.

8. Dehydration

If you drink alcohol regularly, your body will most likely be dehydrated, which may come with facial swelling. The dehydrating effect of alcohol will condition the body to up its water-retaining abilities. This leads to redness and swelling of the face.

  • What should you do?

Cut down the intake of alcoholic beverages, especially before bedtime. Drink more water and fluids to keep your body hydrated.

9. Pink eye

Swelling around the eye area may be due to conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, a viral infection, is an inflammation or infection of the inner membrane of the eyelids. Interestingly, the condition can be caused by bacteria or allergies in some cases.

  • What should you do?

How you treat conjunctivitis depends on the type or cause. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Viral conjunctivitis requires supportive therapy, including cool compress and artificial tears, to deliver comfort.

10. Contact Dermatitis

Sleeping without washing off your makeup is a pardonable mistake. But when it becomes frequent, it can lead to skin irritation and, ultimately, a swollen face.

  • What should you do?

Ensure that you wash your face before sleeping. If you are too tired and slept off without washing your face, apply a cool compress immediately you wake up. You can either use a gel eye mask in a fridge for the cool compress or immerse your face in cold water.


You may not care about swellings in your faces. However, if left untreated, they develop into severe situations in most cases. We have identified the leading causes of facial swelling in this article. Likewise, we recommended the best facial swelling treatments, which are mostly practical and effective.

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