All’s well that ends well, even when your face swells. Facial swelling is quite a common occurrence and it affects most people at some point in their lives.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can reduce swelling on your face. It’s crucial to know that how you reduce the swelling relies on what caused your face to swell in the first place.
How can you reduce facial swelling…
… if it is caused by an injury?
An injury or trauma to the face will almost immediately cause swelling. When you sustain an injury involving the facial area, it’s best to inspect the injury first and see whether you need to go to a hospital or clinic. If you have headaches, bruising or bleeding, this may mean that you have an internal facial or a head injury, and you should get checked by a physician immediately.
If your facial injury is really just swelling, the best thing to do is to ice the area of injury right away. Do not place the ice directly on the skin. Instead, use either a face ice pack or an ice pack small enough to place in the affected area. If you do not have an ice pack, you can use ice cubes wrapped in a wash towel.
Important to know: When the swelling is caused by an injury, the facial area will be extremely sore. A face ice pack like this is flexible immediately after taking it out of the freezer, allowing it to contour gently to over your face.
… when it is caused by surgery?
During a facial surgery, a surgical cut is done to the skin. This is still considered an open wound, so the body reads it as a form of injury. Because of this, the body’s natural response will be inflammation, so it is quite normal to have a swollen face right after a facial or dental surgery.
Facial swelling right after surgery usually lasts for several days before it goes down (more than a week). Your surgeon should provide a protocol for post-surgery care, and this will normally include applying ice to the swollen area for 10–20 minutes at a time, three times a day at least.
We highly recommend using a reusable gel face mask because they are really cut out for the face. They also are flexible straight from the freezer or fridge, which means you don’t need any defrosting time and they will comfortably contour around your face as needed.
… when it is caused by sodium intake?
Sodium (which is what salt is mainly made up of) is needed for our bodies to function normally and help maintain blood and fluid in our bodies. However, excessive sodium consumption may put one at risk for many complications such as kidney stones, heart failure, kidney diseases, headaches and stroke, just to name a few. One symptom of too much sodium intake is facial puffiness, most especially when you wake up after a night of eating a meal high in sodium. This is due to water retention in the face.
To prevent this from happening next time, avoid or lessen these types of foods: sushi, ramen, processed meats, cheese, crisps, chips, pretzels and alcoholic beverages, or condiments that contain high sodium such as soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. If you stay away from these types of food for the next few days, coupled with hydrating yourself with loads of water, you should see the facial bloating and puffiness subside.
… when it is caused by alcohol consumption or dehydration?
Contrary to what it may seem, hydrating yourself with water does not cause you to bloat. When it comes to water intake, the opposite is in fact true. Not getting enough water, or dehydration, can cause blood vessels enlargement that leads to water retention, especially in the face, which will end up looking swollen or puffy. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume 72–104 ounces (2–3 litres) a day. Alcohol is a natural diuretic (helps get rid of water and salt in the body), and this can lead to general dehydration. This leads to vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels, and this can make the facial skin puffy and at times wrinkly.
To avoid this, apart from keeping alcohol intake in moderation, you must also remember to hydrate yourself well all the time, even after the swelling has subsided.
… when it is caused by an allergy or rash (angioedema)?
Angioedema is swelling in the face that is just skin deep, resulting from an allergic reaction to food, medication or other allergen like insect bites or stings. The skin may sometimes have an itching sensation as well.
When this happens, the first thing you should do is avoid exposure to the allergen that causes the symptoms.
Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, you would sometimes need to take antihistamines and other medication. It’s best to speak to a doctor or a pharmacist to know which type of antihistamine you should get.
Using cold compress or a facial ice mask can alleviate discomfort of angioedema, especially as the cold temperature will help provide a sensation of numbness in the skin, relieving symptoms of itchiness and irritation.
Other quick fixes to reduce facial swelling
Sometimes, facial swelling can be a combination of the above symptoms. Here are some quick remedies when you wake up with a puffy face:
- Stand up – Continuing to lie down will just encourage liquid retention in the top part of the body (head or face). When you stand up and move about, you are naturally draining liquid from your face.
- Exercise – When you get moving, you improve blood circulation in your body and open up your pores. You will notice the puffiness decrease as you keep moving.
- Get a massage – A manual lymphatic drainage massage is when a specially-trained massage therapist encourages natural draining of the lymph nodes, which carries waste products (liquid) away from the tissues.
- Gua Sha or Jade rollers –These ancient Chinese methods of facial massage use rolling and “scraping” techniques in order to naturally drain liquid retention away from the face.
- Cooling facial masks – These masks, which consists of cooling gel, work as a quick-fix to get puffiness away. Reducing puffiness whilst getting a relaxing, cooling facial treat is a great two-in-one depuffing hack.
When should you see a doctor for your facial swelling?
Facial swelling can be a symptom of something much more serious. If your facial swelling persists for more than a few days, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, fever, excessive itching and difficulty breathing (anaphylaxis), please seek immediate medical assistance.
We all have woken up to a puffy face at one point in our lives. What methods have worked for you to depuff a swollen face? Please send us a message to share your experience or if you have any questions!