Facial puffiness or swelling in the morning may be bothersome. Puffiness in the face generally results from fluid retention, which can stem from several factors.

Treatments and home care techniques can ease and prevent this issue by addressing the underlying cause.

This article explores the reasons for facial puffiness in the morning and ways to avoid it.

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Image credit: Anindam Ghosh/EyeEm/Getty Images

Several factors can cause a puffy face in the morning, including underlying health issues and a person’s diet.

Diet, sleep, and makeup

Below, learn how a person’s day-to-day routine can lead to facial puffiness in the morning.


For many people, waking up with a puffy face stems from normal overnight fluid retention — but this may be more noticeable if a person gets too little or too much sleep.

Lying down causes fluid to rest and collect in the face, and a person’s sleeping position may also exacerbate this. Sleeping facedown, for example, may have this effect.

As the person starts their morning and spends time upright, these fluids may go away.


Falling asleep with makeup on can cause a skin reaction called contact dermatitis, which can lead to redness, irritation, or puffiness in the face and eyes.

Most cases are no cause for concern, but anyone with severe symptoms, such as swollen eyes or trouble opening their eyes, needs medical attention.


Eating certain foods at night or in the evening sometimes leads to extra puffiness in the morning.

In general, eating foods high in sodium can cause the body to retain more water. This increase in sodium usually makes people thirsty, so they drink more, but the body does not release this extra water in urine. Instead, the water collects in different areas, including the face.

Some common high-sodium foods to avoid include:

  • fast food, such as burgers, fries, and pizza
  • processed meats, such as bacon and pepperoni
  • sushi, especially with soy sauce
  • chips, nachos, and pretzels


Some people wake up with puffy faces after a night of drinking.

Alcohol causes a person to urinate more, which can cause mild dehydration. In response, the body may retain water where it can, such as in the face.

Physical causes and health conditions

Menstruation and certain health issues may cause the face to retain fluid.

A period

Menstruation commonly causes fluid retention, and before a period, a person may notice puffiness in the face upon waking.

A person may recognize menstruation as the cause of the puffiness if symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are also present.


Sometimes, facial puffiness in the morning results from allergies to dust, dander, or pollen inhaled during the night. The person may not notice any symptoms until they wake up.

Other symptoms of the allergic reaction, such as congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes, may indicate that allergies are causing the puffiness.

Sinus infection

A puffy face in the morning may be a sign of a sinus infection. It can also cause:


Hypothyroidism, which involves the thyroid gland not producing enough hormone, affects about 4.6% of the U.S. population older than 12.

Beyond facial puffiness, people with hypothyroidism may also experience:

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • poor cold tolerance
  • dry skin
  • thinning hair

Anyone who suspects they have hypothyroidism should talk to a doctor, who can order a blood test.

Cushing’s syndrome

In some cases, Cushing’s syndrome can cause a puffy face first thing in the morning. It involves the body having cortisol levels that are too high, and it often occurs as a side effect of medications.

Cushing’s syndrome can cause facial puffiness at all times, but this may be more noticeable in the morning.

Depending on the cause, various home care techniques and medical treatments can reduce or prevent facial puffiness in the morning.

Home care

A person might try the following strategies in the morning:

Cold water

Splashing the face with cold water or using a towel to make a cold compress may quickly reduce puffiness.

Coffee or tea

Applying coffee grounds or a soaked, cooled tea bag to the areas of puffiness may help stimulate the skin and constrict the blood vessels, reducing the puffiness.

Be sure to test the temperature before applying the grounds or tea bags to the face.

Jade rollers

A jade roller is a tool that gently massages the face to promote circulation and help lymphatic fluid drain.

Some people who regularly use jade rollers report that it also reduces puffiness.


Getting the heart pumping can promote circulation in the body, including the face.

A quick morning jog or bike ride helps some people feel less bloated and more awake, and it may reduce puffiness.

Creams, masks, and other products

A number of facial products are designed to reduce puffiness.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that the skin on the face can be extra sensitive. Be sure to avoid any known allergens and test any product on a small area of the face before using it more widely.

Medical treatments

If an underlying condition is causing facial puffiness, medical treatment may be necessary — but not always.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that treatment is not necessary for many sinus infections. Over-the-counter medication may relieve facial puffiness along with other symptoms. However, a doctor may recommend antibiotics, in some cases.

If a person has hypothyroidism, medication can make up for the low levels of hormone. For people with Cushing’s syndrome, doctors aim to find the source of the excess cortisol and reduce its levels.

It may not always be possible to prevent facial puffiness in the morning, but the following strategies may help:

  • avoiding foods high in sodium, especially late in the evening or at night
  • avoiding refined carbohydrates later in the day
  • not eating just before bed
  • avoiding oversleeping
  • aiming to sleep on the back
  • staying hydrated throughout the day and into the night
  • avoiding alcoholic beverages

Facial puffiness in the mornings is usually no cause for concern, and it tends to fade quickly.

If troublesome puffiness persists after a person makes dietary and lifestyle changes, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor, who may discover an underlying allergy or another health issue.

While waking up with a puffy face may be alarming or irritating, the puffiness should fade away during the day.

A person can make various dietary and lifestyle changes to prevent the issue, and there are several ways of reducing the puffiness at home.

If the puffiness is persistent or troubling, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor.