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Do you often wake up with a swollen face in the morning? This might not be just a beauty or skin issue, it can even be a sign that your body is in dire need of care.

Often facial swelling is associated with allergies or tiredness, but those are not the only reasons why your face is swelling up. To know if your facial swelling is life-threatening or not, learn more about your skin and your body.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor’s Opinion

“Puffy face is a result of bad circulation. The causes could be as simple as oversleeping or even serious diseases affecting the kidney and heart.”

-Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix

What Causes Swelling Of The Face?

When your face starts enlarging or has distention due to excess fluid buildup or inflammation in skin tissues, it is called face swelling. Whether it is your lips, cheeks, eyes, your whole face or even the neck region, everything falls under face swelling. Experts refer to this phenomenon as facial edema. [1]

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says that, “Puffy face is a result of bad circulation. The causes could be as simple as oversleeping or even serious diseases affecting the kidney and heart.”

Here are some causes that can lead to face swelling:

1. Medication

Face swelling can be a side effect of various prescription and over-the-counter medicines like

  • High blood pressure medicines like enalapril, lisinopril, ramipril, etc.
  • Corticosteroids
  • Estrogen medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin
  • Diabetes medication like thiazolidinediones

2. Cellulitis

This is a bacterial infection that causes swelling in your face and if not treated in time it can become life-threatening. This condition also causes fever, chills, redness on the face and rashes. [2]

3. Sinusitis

The first sign of sinusitis is the common cold. It makes your immune system weak and is followed by facial swelling. Pain and swelling will appear near your nose, cheeks and eyes. Due to this condition, all your sinuses and nasal passages experience inflammation. You may also experience fatigue, headache and sore throat. [3]

4. Bug Bites

Insects like bees, wasps and spiders can cause swelling in your face if they bite you. Whether or not you are allergic to these insects, the poison in their bodies when transmitted to yours can cause an allergic reaction on your face and cause swelling.

If you are allergic to such insects, you can experience an anaphylaxis attack, in which case you will immediately need an anti-allergic injection or need to be admitted to a hospital.

5. Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing's Syndrome vector illustration

This disorder occurs when your body produces an excess amount of cortisol hormone and can cause swelling in your face. Some tumors and glucocorticoids can trigger cushing’s syndrome. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 40-70 out of a million people get affected by this.

6. Sunburn

This is a very common cause for redness and swelling of people’s faces. For people with sensitive skin, even 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight can cause swelling of the face and irritation.

7. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome

The vein that carries blood to the heart from the head, neck and chest is called the superior vena cava. When this vein gets blocked due to lung cancer, breast cancer and tuberculosis, then this syndrome arises and causes your face and upper body to swell up. [4]

8. Preeclampsia

Pregnant women undergo this symptom when their face, hands and feet start swelling up. It starts around the 20th week of your pregnancy and also causes a rise in blood pressure. If you are facing such symptoms during your pregnancy, you should immediately consult your doctor as it can lead to other severe conditions like kidney or liver damage and seizures.

9. Toothache

An infection in your tooth or gums can cause swelling in your face, especially around your jawline. Get your teeth checked by your dentist immediately. [5]

10. Contact Dermatitis

A caucasian woman with red itchy rash on her face

There are many reasons why your face can swell up. When you have contact dermatitis, it can even become itchy and red. Sometimes it can be jewelry, makeup products and even certain plants that can irritate your skin and cause swelling. Long-term exposure to chemical substances like bleach can also cause your face to swell up as a result of an allergic reaction.

Symptoms That May Occur Along With Face Swelling

The causes or diseases that lead to facial swelling also have some other symptoms that can indicate the seriousness of your skin or health condition.

  • It can also affect your eye by causing pain and redness.
  • Face swelling is often accompanied by facial pain.
  • You may also experience fatigue and fever if not treated on time or if you are severely allergic to something. [6]
  • Headache is a common symptom that follows face swelling.
  • Your facial skin can have sores and pus-filled bumps along with swelling.
  • Simple things like chewing food or gulping water can also become difficult and painful.
  • The effects of face swelling can reach your ears and lead them to swell up.

The above symptoms might be severe but not life-threatening. But, there are some symptoms that definitely require you to get admitted to a hospital immediately:

  • If you are experiencing severe cough and if your cough has a wheezing sound.
  • If your face swelling is caused by a head injury.
  • If you feel choked or have difficulty breathing.
  • If you have rashes all over your face and body.
  • If your throat feels swollen and there is an itching sensation in your throat and face.
  • If your face is not only swollen up but also turning pale or losing its color.
  • If you can’t figure out why your face is swelling.

How To Reduce Swelling On The Face?

A. Home Remedies

 rejuvenating exercises for the muscle of the face

1. Cold Compress

Cure the puffiness under your eyes with a cold compress. Take a clean cloth, soak it in water and wring it out and put it inside the freezer for some time. Take the cloth out and gently place it under your eyes while sitting down, for a few minutes.

2. Hemorrhoid Cream

Any type of hemorrhoid cream can be used to tighten your skin or reduce your face’s puffiness. Dab the cream on the swollen parts of your face like a moisturizer. However, steer clear from the area around your eyes.

3. Hydration

This might sound cliche but hydration is the first and most important solution for your puffy face, just like many other health issues. Dehydration causes your skin tissues to absorb water and make your face puffy. When you drink water the skin cells release the stored water, thus reducing the facial swelling. [7]

4. Salt Intake

If your daily meals contain too much salt it can increase your blood pressure and make your body retain excess fluid, causing swelling in your face.

5. Hot Compress

Just like a cold compress reduces the puffiness under your eyes, a hot compress works magic for the rest of your face. A hot compress improves blood circulation and reduces swelling in your face. Soak a clean cloth with warm water and wring it. Then dab your face with it.

6. Food

Foods that you should avoid if you have facial swelling are dairy-based products, deep-fried products, alcoholic beverages, processed foods that have soy in them, processed meat and beverages that contain artificial sweeteners. Foods that you should eat to reduce facial swelling are fresh fruits that have high water content, fresh vegetables, fermented foods like yogurts, pickles and whole grains.

7. Facial Yoga

There are certain yoga poses that help your face just like your body. These yoga poses improve the blood circulation in your face.

B. Ayurvedic Ways

Ayurveda defines facial swelling as shotha and says that facial swelling only occurs when an organ in your body is dysfunctional. Here are some Ayurvedic treatments that can cure face swelling.

1. Abhyanga

This is a therapeutic treatment where oils are poured over your body and massaged. For the treatment of your facial swelling, an Ayurvedic concoction called dashamoola kwatha is used to perform abhyanga. This reduces the vata imbalance in your body, which is a major cause of the swelling.

2. Mridu Virechana

Various herbs and herbal concoctions are used to cleanse the body from within to eliminate the harmful toxins from the body. This procedure also balances the pitta disbalance in your body.

3. Lepa

Lepas are medicated pastes that are applied to the face to reduce inflammation and facial swelling. Generally, a lepa made with punarnava, ginger and cedar is used to reduce facial swelling. In case you have a facial swelling caused by pitta disbalance, you can use a lepa made with turmeric, red sandalwood, Indian beriberi and haritaki. [8]

4. Raktamokshana

This Ayurvedic method is used when your facial swelling is a result of some external injury. The body is showered in medicated liquids and then bloodletting is performed to get rid of all the toxins in your body that are causing swelling.

Apart from this, there are some herbs that work like magic for your facial swelling:


This herb has stimulant, rejuvenating and astringent properties that help with facial swelling. You can take this in both powder and juice form.


The juice of the punarnava leaves when applied to your swelling can reduce it. If you are taking it in powder form, mix it with some honey and make a paste and then apply it on your swelling.


Adraka or ginger is a multifunctional herb that can cure many health issues including facial swelling.

Prevention Of Facial Swelling

  • Do not sleep on your belly.
  • Keep your head slightly elevated when sleeping or lying down.
  • Know your triggers or the foods that you are allergic to.
  • Avoid processed foods that are high in sodium.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. [9]

When To See A Doctor About Facial Swelling?

Immediately go to a doctor when your swollen face is accompanied by:

  • Rashes
  • Swollen limbs
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Noise when you breathe
  • Nose blockage
  • Pain in the swollen areas
  • Irritation in the swollen areas

How Long Does It Take For Facial Swelling To Go Down?

Ideally, the swelling on your face should start getting better within a few hours or a day and it should go away within a week. If your facial swelling remains after 2 weeks you should go visit a doctor to find if the cause is severe or not.

If the swelling is caused due to a severe accident or head injury then your doctor will provide you the right information on when the swelling is likely to go down. .

Can Swelling Be Permanent?

Yes, there is a possibility that the swelling can become permanent if not treated in time. A chronic swelling means that the swollen areas have become so rigid that they do not retract to their original form.

Is Swelling In The Face Serious?

If you have facial swelling, consult a doctor immediately to determine whether it is life-threatening or not as there is a possibility that it can become serious if not treated properly.

The Last Word

Your swollen face might be an indication of a much larger health issue so do not neglect it or leave it on its own for too long. Though there are various Ayurvedic herbs and home remedies that can help you with it as first aid, consulting a doctor is a must for a long-term solution and a proper diagnosis.

Know Your Dosha Now

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