How To Get Rid of a Puffy Face

If your face is looking a bit fuller than usual after overindulgence in food and drinks, these de-bloating tips can help.

During times like the holiday season, there are plenty of foods and drinks to enjoy—from buffet-style meals to finger foods. However, if you indulge enough, you might experience weight gain with a puffy face as part of the evidence.

This is totally normal, said Marjorie Nolan Cohn, LDN and owner of MNC Nutrition in Philadelphia. "Any person may gain or lose more weight in specific areas of their body due to genetic tendency," Nolan Cohn told us.

Here are a few simple diet and lifestyle changes that can help de-bloat a puffy face, according to experts.

Eat Sodium, Carbs, and Processed Foods in Moderation

Overdoing it on carbs and salty foods can cause your body to hold in extra fluid, which makes you look and feel bloated. "Most changes in the face are from water retention," explained Cynthia Sass, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor. "The three biggest culprits for fluid retention that shows up on the face are sodium, excess carbs, and alcohol."

If those are part of your regular diet, you may want to pay attention to how you consume them. "Many of my clients encounter all of these triggers simultaneously, like eating chips and salsa with a salt-rimmed margarita, or pizza with red wine," Sass said. "When they ditch the processed foods—which are the biggest contributors to sodium—refined carbs, and alcohol, the water retention subsides, and they feel like their faces suddenly slim down."

This doesn't mean you can't have French fries or Chinese takeout ever again—it just means that you'll want to eat a healthy, balanced diet overall and indulge in moderation, which can help prevent long-term weight gain in both your body and face.

Drink Less Alcohol and More Water

Instead of reaching for that glass of red wine with dinner, swap it out for some water. "Alcohol is dehydrating, so your body responds to this by hanging onto extra fluid, like a rebound effect," Sass explained. Drinking more water also helps flush out any excess sodium your body is hanging on to from previous salty meals.

If you don't like to drink a lot of water because it doesn't have much of a taste, you can boost the flavor in your glass: New York-based nutritional chef Melissa Eboli suggested adding a squeeze of lemon juice or drinking coconut water.

Go for a Workout

Exercising and working up a good sweat can help with reducing facial puffiness as well. Per MedlinePlus, sodium is considered to be an electrolyte. One of the roles of an electrolyte is that it balances how much water is in your body, and your body's water balance can be affected by things such as sweating.

The American Heart Association says that large amounts of sodium can be lost in sweat, especially for people who are considered competitive athletes. You don't have to exercise to the same extent as competitive athletes, but working out may allow for sodium levels to reduce when the electrolyte is released through sweat. Furthermore, engaging in physical activity can lead to weight loss, and any weight changes will show up over time—including in your face.

Get More Sleep

Not only does lack of sleep have a negative impact on your immune system, it can also cause you to wake up with an inflamed or puffier-than-normal face.

"The natural hormones in our body are really impacted by poor sleep," Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Solution, told us. "We have chemicals in our bodies that keep inflammation at bay, so if you're not getting enough sleep, those chemicals are not produced the way they should be, and it creates an inflammatory environment in your body."

Dr. Winter noted that this is more common in people with chronic sleep deprivation, so one late night every once in a while probably won't hurt you. However, Dr. Winter recommended aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep each night to keep your body in a natural rhythm.

Add More Ginger, Zucchini, and Coconut to Your Diet

Eboli recommended avoiding foods that may cause inflammation, such as gluten, fried foods, and processed foods. Instead, Eboli said she loved adding many inflammation-fighting foods like ginger, coconut, turmeric, and lemons to her meals. "You can add those ingredients into your smoothies or juices, sprinkle some ginger on some oatmeal, or cook up some zucchini and beets to have on a salad," Eboli said.

If you find that you're still experiencing bloating in your face, your healthcare provider can provide you with treatment options to help resolve the issue.

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