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A Puffy Face Isn't So Swell

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Almost all of us have had the experience of waking up with a puffy version of our usual self staring back at us from the bathroom mirror. Let’s face it; it’s not a pretty sight. What can you do about it? That depends on whether it happens once in a great while, from time to time or much more frequently than in the past.

If your face looks puffy occasionally, you are probably guilty of burning the candle at both ends. The swollen face that greets you in the morning may be due to a lack of sleep, overindulgence in alcohol or caffeinated drinks and too many salty, fatty foods (or all of the above). You know who you are and you probably know what to do: get more rest and pay attention to better hydration.

In the meantime, replenish your body inside and out. Drink a whole glass of water upon waking. Splash your face with ice cold water or apply an ice pack to encourage blood vessels to constrict.

If a puffy face greets you in the morning more often than occasionally, it may be time to adopt some lifestyle changes. Too much salt in the diet can be a major culprit, since excess salt causes the body to retain fluid. Cutting back on salt you add to your food is a good step, but it’s even more important to become a savvy shopper. Processed foods notoriously contain loads of salt. Why? The Mayo Clinic explains that extra salt makes canned soups taste more savory, reduces dryness in pretzels and crackers, increases the sweet taste of cookies and cakes and helps hide aftertastes in sodas. To avoid these hidden sources of salt, eat as much fresh food as you can and become adept at reading labels.

Another potential cause of a puffy face is Vitamin C deficiency. This is one more reason in a very long list to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Watermelon is one of the best choices for combating a swollen face, according to many health writers. Watermelon is high in Vitamin C, high in water content and low in calories. Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers are other good foods to emphasize in your diet.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.