There's not much worse than waking up in the morning looking like a puffer fish, especially if you have an important work meeting or a special day ahead. First, there are a few medical conditions that can cause facial swelling such as hypertension, kidney disease, allergic reaction, trauma, dental problems or even conjunctivitis (pink eye). If there's any question facial puffiness may be a medical issue or you have other symptoms, check in with your doctor right away. When you're sure it's not something medical, and it only happens occasionally, it's most likely attributable to telltale lifestyle factors from not drinking enough water to imbibing too much alcohol, or the occasional lack of sleep. Here's why facial puffiness occurs in the morning and what you can do about it.

Why we wake up puffy

While it's no surprise that after a night of drinking you look puffy in the morning, you may be surprised that a host of other issues can also cause facial puffiness. Sometimes just the pressure of pillow up against face can cause fluid buildup. What's more, allergies or watching a tearjerker the night before can also wreak havoc, as will a super salty meal. Hormonal fluctuations can cause facial puffiness, too (blame pregnancy, menopause or your monthly cycle here). And as we mentioned, knocking back a few margaritas (alcohol plus salt), and not drinking enough water, can be killer for facial flame ups. I once got puffy the night after a wine tasting — either the sheer amount of wine I sampled, or a particular varietal of red wine was the culprit (the nitrates in reds can be particularly Stay Puft-inducing). Plus, a bad night's of sleep or even stress, such as a bout of nighttime anxiety, can lead to morning inflammation. Once you figure out the likely offender, you can take steps to avoid it.

How to treat morning puffy face

  • Wash in the sink. Instead of washing your face in the warm shower, wash it at the basin using cool or tepid water to quell swelling. It not only feels good, but it can help.
  • Don't skip your workout. Exercise not only releases feel-good hormones but working up a sweat and replenishing needed water may be enough to reduce puffiness.
  • Cool it. Try a cooled eye mask for 15 minutes or even a bag of frozen peas in a pinch.
  • Give it the spa treatment. Sliced cucumbers over the eyes can work wonders for puffiness.
  • Consider your pillow situation. Elevate the head of your bed or sleep on two pillows at night to decrease gravity's effects.
  • Sleep on your back. Smooshing your face against the pillow can be to blame.
  • Make any needed lifestyle changes. Drink less alcohol, more water, eat less salt and get more shuteye.
  • Remove makeup. Don't sleep with eye makeup on. It can irritate eyes and cause puffiness.
  • Eat fewer processed foods. Many of these are very high in sodium.

For the most part, facial puffiness can be alleviated or avoided by making simple lifestyle adjustments. Find out your triggers and you'll avoid looking like that marshmallow character.