Why Do We Wake Up Puffy in the Face?

Written by megan b. wyatt
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There are several reasons we wake up with a puffy face in the morning, but the most common reasons are fluid retention, allergies, lotions and creams, pillow levels, and continued pressure on the face.

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Water Retention

The most common reason for a puffy face in the morning is fluid retention. The best way to avoid fluid retention is to limit alcohol and sodium intake and increase water intake to flush out the system.


A common cause of puffiness in the morning is allergies. Check with your doctor for possible allergies, including allergies to feathers in your pillow or the material of your pillowcase.

Lotions and Creams

One cause of puffiness is sensitive skin's reaction to lotions or creams applied to the face before bed. Discontinue use of all products for two days to see if puffiness goes away.

Pillow Level

Sometimes puffiness is caused by the level of your pillow while you are sleeping. Try sleeping with two pillows to help fluids drain properly instead settling in your head and neck areas.


The simplest cause of puffiness is simply the pressure on your face while you sleep hours at a time. This will naturally go away as you wake up, but you can aid the process by applying a cool, wet cloth to your face.

Medical Conditions

Problems of the endocrine system, particularly hypothyroidism, which also causes weight gain and decreases energy, can cause morning puffiness. See a doctor if you think this might be the cause.

Steroid use can also cause face puffiness. Steroids have many side effects, but when used for medical purposes, the side effects are usually secondary to the benefits. However, when steroids are used for nonmedical purposes, the risks are higher and damage can be much worse.

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