When it comes to looking fresh and rested, there's usually only one thing that stands in your way — puffiness. And I'm not talking about PMS-style stomach bloating, but the oh-so-lovely swelling of your face and eyes. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then lucky you.
For everyone else, you'll probably agree with me that a puffy face is super annoying. I mean, what causes it? I've always wondered why I wake up with bags under my eyes, and cheeks that that look like they've been stung by bees. (Yes, it really can be that bad.)
Well, as it turns out, there are about 101 factors that can cause facial swelling. Some of them are kind of scary, while others will make you sigh with their obviousness. But regardless of the cause, here's what facial swelling is — the buildup of fluid in the tissues of the face, as noted in an article by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It seems so benign (and it usually is), and yet still so very annoying.
The cure often lies in the cause, so discovering that will be up to you. Start yourself off by checking out some of these reasons why your face looks puffy.
1. You Just Woke Up
Are you, like me, greeted each morning with the puffiest of puffy faces? The swollen face starting back at you in the bathroom mirror can be caused by a number of factors, including a bad night's sleep, drinking the night before, and even hormone fluctuations, noted Jennifer Nelson on the health blog MNN.com. It's not cute, but usually nothing to worry about.
2. Your Allergies Are Acting Up
Pollen, dust, animal dander — it's all swirling around endlessly, and it can turn you into an allergic mess. Besides the usual sneezing and watery eyes, allergens can also lead to something called "allergy face." Symptoms include swollen eyes, flaky skin, puffiness, and chapped lips from breathing through your mouth, noted Jaimie Dalessio on EverydayHealth.com.
3. Your Shower Is Too Steamy
Ever get out of the shower and look like a red, puffy version of your former self? I do this all the time, mostly because there is nothing more relaxing than standing in a nice, steamy shower. But too hot water isn't actually not that great for you when it comes to de-puffing. Cool water is definitely best, so try to keep the water temp at less than 110 degrees.
4. You Have A Sinus Infection
Sinusitis can cause all sorts of problems, but one symptom is definitely a puffy, congested face. According to WebMD.com, sinusitis is the inflammation and swelling of your sinuses, aka the pockets in your face that are normally filled with air. When you're sick with a cold, these pockets become blocked and filled with fluid, and that can lead to bacteria overgrowth and then an infection. Cue a puffy, achey face.
5. You're Allergic To Your Pillows
Your blankets and pillows can cause you to wake up the aforementioned morning puffiness. "Do you have feathery pillows or a down comforter? If so, you might want to consider switching up your bedding, as the feathers could actually be what's making you bleary-eyed in the morning," suggested Jaime Richards on Prevention.
6. You Have Something Called "Moon Facies"
OK, so this one is a bit tricky, as there are many different explanations behind it. But there's a condition called "moon facies" that can cause the face to gradually become round, full, or puffy, according to WebMD. It's thought that a high release of hormones, namely cortisol, is to blame. If this describes you, then definitely get checked out by a doctor.
7. You Have Conjunctivitis
Feeling extra puffy (and itchy) around the eye area? Then pink eye, or conjunctivitis, may be to the culprit. According to the CDC, "It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color." The condition is kind of gross, but highly treatable.
8. You Have Bags Under Your Eyes
Ah yes, baggy eyes. These are an all-too-familiar affliction for the tired, overworked, and stressed among us. Such bagginess is caused by a mild swelling, and can get worse as you age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Something to look forward to, right?
9. You're Having An Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction can cause your face to swell up, and can be brought on by any number of things (peanut allergies, bee strings, etc.). The swelling may be accompanied by hives, itching, and rashes, according to an article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Such reactions can quickly get out of hand, be sure to get yourself some medical attention ASAP.
10. You Had One Too Many Salty Snacks
If you spent the evening lying in bed with a big bag of chips, then you may very well wake up with a bad case of puffiness. The excessive sodium in these snacks can cause your body to hold onto extra fluid in an attempt to dilute the salt, making you look puffier than usual, according to Megan Smith on Livestrong.com.
11. You Had A Bit Too Much To Drink
We all know that too much alcohol dehydrates the body, and that's what make hangovers so terrible. The same dehydration can also cause the body to retain fluids, making you look swollen the next morning.
12. You Triggered An Allergy By Exercising
Wait, what? I had never heard of this, but turns out an exercise-induced allergic reaction is definitely a thing. According to J.M. Andrews on Livestrong.com, "You may trigger an exercise-induced allergic reaction by eating an allergy-inducing food a couple of hours prior to exercising ... Common triggers include tree nuts, shellfish and fish."
13. Your Hormones Are Going Crazy
PMS seems to be the reason for every annoying bodily problem, and now you can add your puffy face to the list as well. That's because PMS can lead to water retention, which, as we know, can lead to puffiness. According to the Mayo Clinic, hormonal changes seem to play a major role, as well as heredity, and a craving-induced diet of too much salt.
While most of these aren't a big deal, sometimes a puffy face can be a sign of a medical problem. Be sure total to your doctor.
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