Why is My Face So Puffy and Bloated?
A Puffed up and Bloated Face! Let’s Talk…
It’s more than a little frustrating, and not to say disappointing when you look in the mirror and see that your face looks bloated and puffy, it can make you feel like crawling back into bed and hiding your swollen face in a pillow! Facial puffiness is more common in the morning and typically improves as the day goes on.
Needless to say, it’s not a good way to start the day. One of the most common reasons your face looks water-logged in the morning is fluid retention.
What causes fluid retention? There are a number of common causes, and for women in particular, it may be related to hormonal fluctuations. Some women experience fluid build-up as their menstrual period approaches. A high-sodium diet and not drinking enough water can also make the problem worse.
Puffy Face – Too Much Salt
What can you do about your puffy face? If you experience facial puffiness when you wake up in the morning, try to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. But before you go throwing out your salt shaker, you need to be aware that most dietary sodium doesn’t actually come from applying salt onto freshly prepared meals – it comes from factory processed foods! Next time you’re at the grocery store, read the labels closely on the products you normally buy and you’ll see that many already have quite high levels of sodium listed in their ingredients. The American Heart Association recommends getting less than 1,500 milligrams of dietary sodium each day, and unfortunately, many people are getting more than twice that amount with most of it coming from processed and pre-packaged foods.
By reducing the amount of processed food in your diet, you are immediately reducing the amount of added salt you consume, and if you replace those processed foods with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, you should notice a steady improvement in facial puffiness and bloating. Next, eliminate soft (and fizzy!) drinks and increase the amount of water you drink each day. Aim for six or more glasses of water daily. If you don’t like plain water spruce it up with a squirt of (fresh) lemon, lime or grapefruit. Paradoxically, drinking more water actually helps to reduce water retention by removing sodium from your body. Enjoy more potassium-rich foods too. Foods high in potassium are natural diuretics that help flush sodium and excess fluid from your body.
Good sources of potassium rich fruits and vegetables are:
White Beans (Adzuki, Soy, Kidney & Pinto), Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss & Kale), Baked Potatoes (With Skin), Dried Apricots, Peaches, Prunes, Yogurt (Plain, Skimmed/Non-Fat), Fish (Salmon, Halibut, Yellow fin Tuna, Mackerel), Avocados, Mushrooms (White) and the humble Banana.
Other foods that have diuretic effects (A substance or drug that tends to increase the discharge of urine) are celery, asparagus, dandelion weeds and watermelon. Caffeine if a natural diuretic, but don’t chug down too many caffeinated beverages, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Consider an Anti-Inflammatory Diet…
Yes, there is such a thing, and you can start by reducing your unhealthy fat intake!
Eliminate foods that are high in omega-6 oils: Including corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut oil, soybean oils, deep-fried foods and any foods that contain trans fat. Aim to reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat.
Increase your intake of monounsaturated oils: Include more extra-virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, fish oil, walnut and walnut oil, flax and flaxseed oil, hempseed and hempseed oil.
Reduce unhealthy carbohydrates: Eliminate refined flours, sugars and other foods with a high glycemic index.
Include plenty of fruits and vegetables: Such as blueberries, strawberries, and dark leafy greens.
Eat more of these anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: Ginger, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and onions.
Other ways to tackle facial puffiness…
When you sleep, try to elevate your head by sleeping on several pillows. This will help to reduce facial swelling. Avoid pushing your face into the pillow when you sleep.
Other Causes of a Puffy and Bloated Face…
Another common cause of facial puffiness is allergic reactions. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may look puffier around your eyes when spring rolls around and pollen is in the air. When your eyes are itchy and irritated from the pollen in the air there’s a natural tendency to rub them, which only makes the swelling worse. Resist the urge to rub and put something cold on the swollen, puffy skin around your eyes. A cold water-dampened face towel, a package of frozen vegetables, cold sliced cucumbers or cold tea bags will help soothe the itch and reduce swelling and puffiness.
Over-the-counter antihistamines also help to reduce facial puffiness due to seasonal allergies. Look for one that’s non-sedating. Preferably, take them at night. Even non-sedating antihistamines can cause some people to feel sleepy. Try placing your favorite eye cream in the refrigerator overnight. This will cool it to help reduce swelling. Gently massage the swollen tissue around your eyes helps to drain some of the excess fluid. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
Watch Out for These Causes of a Bloated Face also…
Less commonly, a puffy, swollen face can be a sign of a more serious medical problem or condition, including kidneys that aren’t functioning properly or liver problems. It can also be related to a medication or food allergy. Occasionally, a sinus infection or an infection in your teeth or gums can cause your face to swell. Persistent swelling or swelling accompanied by pain or other symptoms whether it’s your face or anywhere else for that matter really must be checked out by a medical professional before you consider any new treatment or exercise, just to make sure something more serious isn’t going on.
The Bottom Line?
In a nutshell, facial puffiness is a frustrating problem that usually responds to allergy treatment (if allergies are the cause), salt reduction, careful dietary choices, drinking more water, exercising more and sleeping with your head elevated. If it doesn’t, see your doctor. (Ignore nothing and check everything!)