How many times have you woken up with your face puffed up and swollen? Quite often, right? Facial swelling is a common condition caused by a plethora of factors such as lack of sleep, excess alcohol, and stress. Sometimes, it can also be a result of an injury or an underlying medical condition. The good news is you can treat your facial swelling once you know the root cause. So, let us explore the different causes of facial swelling and some simple home remedies that can help you reduce swelling on your face.
In This Article
What Is Facial Swelling?
Facial swelling is described as the enlargement of the face due to inflammation of facial tissues or fluid buildup. Also known as facial edema, swelling commonly occurs on the lips, cheeks, and eyelids. Sometimes it may extend to the throat or neck region as well.
There are a variety of factors that may cause your face to swell up. Hop onto the next section to look at them in detail.
What Causes Face Swelling?
Facial swelling occurs in reaction to an injury or an invasion by a foreign substance. When your body is exposed to a foreign substance or a trauma, it releases chemicals to protect the face. As a result, your inflammatory cells become activated and your face swells up. The following are some of the common reasons behind facial swelling:
Waking up with a swollen face is quite common due to retention of fluid overnight. Other than that, facial swelling can be a result of alcohol, smoking, sleeping position, and lack of sleep (1), (2). If you wake up with a swollen face after partying the previous night, you can blame it on the alcohol!
2 Allergic Reaction
Medications, food, pollen, bees, insects, or mold may cause allergic reactions that can lead to facial swelling and even anaphylactic shock in some people (3). Along with a swollen face, you may develop the following symptoms.
- Itchy nose or throat
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
3 . Facial Trauma Or Injury
Sustaining an injury to the face can result in swelling, bruising, pain, and nosebleed. While bruised noses may not always require medical treatment, it is still best to go to a doctor. Depending on the severity of the injury, they will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection that results in the inflammation of the sinus, and nasal pathways. This can result in swollen eyes and facial congestion. While swollen sinuses are the primary symptom of sinusitis, you also develop other symptoms such as (4):
- Facial pain
- Facial tenderness
- Nasal congestion
- Dental pain
5. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
Swollen face or neck is a common symptom associated with superior vena cava syndrome. The superior vena cava is a vein that carries blood from the head, neck, and upper chest back to the heart. Superior vena cava syndrome occurs when there is an obstruction of blood flow in this vein which can lead to facial swelling. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention (5).
6. Tooth Infection
An infection in the gum or tooth can cause your jawline to swell. Poor oral hygiene breaks down the enamel which allows the bacteria to enter and infect the tooth which can lead to facial swelling (6).
7. Facial Cellulitis
Facial cellulitis is a skin infection caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria when it enters the body through a break in the skin’s surface, leading to skin discoloration, pain, and facial swelling (7).
As you can see, a swollen face can result from something as simple as your sleeping position to a serious medical condition. Thankfully, for less serious cases, you can opt for these quick home remedies.
Quick Home Remedies For Face Swelling
You can try these quick home remedies to reduce swelling on your face:
- Wash your face with cold water when you wake up.
- Use cucumber on affected areas to help reduce swelling.
- Try facial exercises to keep your blood circulation going.
- Apply cold compress on swollen areas.
- Apply over-the-counter creams to decrease swelling.
- Use antihistamines to combat swelling due to allergic reactions.
- Get more rest as that can help in healing to reduce inflammation.
While in some cases, quick home remedies can make the swelling go away, some require immediate medical attention.
When To See A Doctor
If your facial swelling persists for a few days accompanied by the following symptoms, consult your doctor.
- Rash or hives
- Swollen limbs
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Nasal congestion
If your facial swelling is due to an infection or allergic reaction, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics or antihistamines to alleviate the swelling. If you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), seek medical assistance immediately as it can be dangerous.
Not sure whether you can prevent your face from swelling? Go to the next section to find out!
Tips For Preventing Facial Swelling
While it may not be possible to completely avoid facial swelling, following these tips may help.
- Avoid sleeping on your belly.
- Avoid processed or salty foods before bed.
- Increase the intake of water and fluids.
- Keep your head slightly elevated while sleeping to avoid fluid buildup.
- Avoid known allergens and triggers.
- Avoid salty, fatty, and processed foods.
- Limit your intake of alcohol (8).
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber, and whole grains.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly to avoid the risk of tooth infection.
To Sum It Up
Facial swelling occurs when your body releases chemical substances in response to a foreign substance or trauma. This leads to your face swelling up. Stress, infection, or a medical condition may be the reason behind your swelling. Washing your face and putting cold compresses are amazing home remedies to reduce the swelling on your face. Swelling due to injury or a severe allergic reaction needs to be treated by a doctor immediately. Making dietary and lifestyle changes and avoiding known allergens are some of the best ways to prevent facial swelling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ice or heat better for face swelling?
Whether heat or ice is more suitable to reduce a swelling depends on the cause of swelling as well as the stage of the swelling. For instance, swelling caused due to an injury should be treated with an ice pack for the first 48 hours after which, a hot compress may be applied.
Does ibuprofen reduce swelling?
Yes, ibuprofen acts as an anti-inflammatory drug and hence, may reduce swelling.
Does Tylenol reduce swelling?
No, Tylenol is not an anti-inflammatory drug and hence cannot reduce swelling.
Does Benadryl help with a swollen face?
Yes, being an antihistamine, Benadryl may help reduce facial swelling caused due to allergies or insect bites.
- Also called facial edema, facial swelling is the enlargement of the face caused by inflammation of facial tissues or fluid buildup.
- Allergic reactions, facial trauma or injury, sinusitis, superior vena cava syndrome, tooth infection, and facial cellulitis cause face swelling.
- See a doctor if you experience rash or hives, swollen limbs, trouble swallowing, dizziness, wheezing, nasal congestion, redness, and more.
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- Impact of Smoking and Alcohol Use on Facial Aging in Women: Results of a Large Multinational Multiracial Cross-sectional Survey
- Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance
- Allergic Reaction: Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment and Management
- Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
- Dental Abscess
- Odontogenic Facial Cellulitis in Children: Review Article
- Alcohol-related massive eyelid swelling: Case report
- Water Hydration and Health
- Peripheral Edema