How to Reduce Facial Swelling

Facial swelling can occur for a variety of reasons, including allergic reactions, dental work, and medical conditions like edema. Most facial swelling is minor and can be treated with an ice pack and elevation. If you are experiencing severe swelling, go see your doctor immediately.


EditTreating Facial Swelling

  1. Use an ice pack. Applying cold to a swollen area can help reduce inflammation and pain. You can either wrap ice in a towel or use an ice pack and press it against the swollen areas on your face. Hold the ice pack against your face for 10 to 20 minutes.[1]
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    • You can use an ice pack multiple times each day for up the 72 hours.
  2. Elevate your head. Keeping the swollen area elevated can help reduce swelling, so keeping your head up can help. During the day, sit with your head upright. When you get ready for bed, position yourself so that your head will be elevated while you sleep.[2]
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    • You can place pillows behind your back and head to angle your upper body back against the headboard.
  3. Avoid hot things. When your face is swollen, avoid hot things for at least 48 hours. Hot things can increase the swelling in your face and make the inflammation worse. This side effect of heat means you should avoid hot showers, hot tubs, hot baths, and/or hot packs.[3]
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  4. Try a turmeric paste. Turmeric is a natural remedy believed to help reduce inflammation. You can make a paste by adding turmeric powder or freshly ground turmeric to water. You can also mix turmeric with sandalwood, which also is supposed to help inflammation. Apply the paste on the swollen area of your face, making sure to avoid getting it in your eyes.[4]
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    • Leave the paste on for around 10 minutes. Rinse it off. Then, press a rag covered with cold water on your face.
  5. Wait for it to go away. Some facial swelling will go away on its own, especially if it is connected to minor injuries or allergies. You just have to be patient and deal with it until then. However, if it doesn’t change or get better within a few days, go to the doctor.[5]
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  6. Refrain from taking certain pain medications. If you are experiencing facial swelling, don’t take aspirin or other NSAIDS to help with any related pain. These types of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause your blood not to clot properly. This inability to clot can lead to bleeding as well as increased or prolonged swelling.[6]
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EditSeeking Medical Attention

  1. Contact your doctor if the symptoms get worse. If the swelling doesn’t go down within two to three days or the symptoms get worse, contact your doctor. There could be an infection or more serious condition causing the inflammation.[7]
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    • If you feel any numbness or tingling on your face, experience any vision problems, or notice any pus or other signs of infection, go to the doctor.
  2. Use an antihistamine. The facial swelling may be due to an allergic reaction. You can try taking an over-the-counter antihistamine to see if that helps. If that doesn’t help, go to the doctor. They can diagnose the underlying cause and prescribe stronger antihistamines.[8]
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    • They may prescribe oral or topical antihistamines.
  3. Take a diuretic. Some facial swelling, especially that caused by edema, can be treated by medications that help rid your body of excess fluids. Your doctor may prescribe you a diuretic, which will help release fluid in your body through urine.[9]
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  4. Change medications. Sometimes, medications that you take may lead to swelling, which can occur in the face. Talk to your doctor about the medications that you take. If your doctor suspects that is the cause, they will change your medication.[10]
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EditMaking Lifestyle Changes

  1. Sleep on more pillows. If your pillow is too flat and your head hangs down too much during sleep, your face may start to swell. Place one or two extra pillows or pillows that are fluffier than you are used to using on your bed. This change in your pillows can help keep your head elevated, which can help reduce inflammation when you wake up in the morning.[11]
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  2. Reduce your salt intake. Salt can lead to inflammation, retaining water, and puffiness. Reducing how much sodium is in your diet may help reduce swelling around your face.[12] The American Heart Association suggests that a healthy amount of sodium for most adults is around 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.[13]
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    • Reducing sodium can be done by limiting the amount of prepackaged foods, fast foods, canned foods, and processed foods. They contain high amounts of sodium.
    • Choose to make your own food from scratch to help with monitoring your sodium. You are able to control the amount of sodium in a way that you are not able to with prepackaged meals.
  3. Drink more water. Dehydration can lead to inflammation and worsen conditions that lead to facial swelling. Lack of water also causes your skin to get dry and irritated, which can lead to inflammation. To keep your face glowing and healthy, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.[14]
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EditSources and Citations

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