Read below about swollen face, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen face from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen face

Take Quiz

Swollen Face Symptoms

Swelling to the face has many different causes, ranging from dehydration to a life threatening allergic reaction. Infections in the eyes, mouth, or salivary glands are other common causes of facial swelling. Allergic reactions that cause facial swelling may be accompanied by hives, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. While some minor causes of facial swelling can be managed at home, infectious or allergic causes of facial swelling require evaluation and treatment by a doctor. If you are having significant facial swelling or trouble breathing, seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms that can be associated with facial swelling include:

Swollen Face Causes Overview

Two common causes of facial swelling are infections or allergic reactions. Typically, an infection will cause asymmetric facial swelling. Allergic reactions can also cause facial swelling, and may be accompanied by hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or vomiting.

Infection:

  • Dental or Mouth Infection: Infections in the teeth, gums, or behind the tonsils can all cause swelling in face. Typically, swelling from an infection in one of these locations will be one-sided or asymmetric.
  • Salivary Gland Infection: Infection in one of the glands that produces saliva can also cause swelling, typically in the lower half of the face. Typically, swelling from an infection in a glad will be one-sided or asymmetric.
  • Skin Infection: Infection of the skin on the face can cause redness and swelling. This type of infection could involve one part of the face or the entire face.
  • Eye Infection: Bacterial or viral eye infections can cause swelling to one eyelid or both eyelids and the area of the face surrounding the eyes.

Allergic:

  • Food Allergy: Allergic reactions to food can present with swelling to the face, lips, or tongue. The swelling may be accompanied by hives, wheezing or respiratory distress, vomiting or diarrhea. If you are concerned about an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention.
  • Medication Allergy: Allergic reactions to medications can present with swelling to face, lips, or tongue. The swelling may be accompanied by hives, wheezing or respiratory distress, vomiting, or diarrhea. Sometimes people develop allergic reactions to medications they have been taking for a long time. If you are concerned about an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention.
  • Environmental Allergies: Allergic reactions to pollen, dust, or other environmental factors can cause facial swelling along with running nose, sneezing, and itchy watery eyes. These allergies are typically not life threatening. However, if you are having trouble breathing, seek emergency medical attention.

Other causes:

  • Pregnancy: Edema (swelling) is common in pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience swelling in the hands, feet, ankles, and legs.
  • Dehydration: In the event of severe dehydration, the tissues of the face may retain water, leading to swelling or puffiness.
  • Medical Condition: Some medical conditions, particularly hormonal imbalances, can cause facial swelling. Some other possible associated symptoms include fatigue, heat intolerance, dry skin, weight gain, and constipation.
  • Inflammation: Trauma to the face or head can cause inflammation and swelling. Additionally, lack of sleep or consuming a lot of alcohol can make the face look puffy or swollen.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Face

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swollen face. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)

    When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

    Symptoms should resolve in a matter of hours.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening):
    shortness of breath, throat itching
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Acute Salivary Duct Stone (Sialolithiasis)

    A salivary duct stone is the most common disorder of the salivary glands (where you make spit). They can range in size from tiny particles to stones that are several centimeters in length.

    Symptoms last 26 days on average

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    swelling on one side of the face, swollen jaw, painful face swelling, spontaneous jaw pain, painful jaw swelling
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  3. 3.Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"), which is dangerous and requires treatment.

    Good prognosis with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess:
    rash with bumps or blisters
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Swollen Face Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen face.

    Take Quiz
  5. 5.Chronic Salivary Duct Stone (Sialolithiasis)

    A salivary duct stone is the most common disorder of the salivary glands (where you make spit). They can range in size from tiny particles to stones that are several centimeters in length.

    Symptoms last 26 days on average

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swelling on one side of the face, swollen jaw, spontaneous jaw pain, painful jaw swelling, painful face swelling
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  6. 6.Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck, no longer produces adequate levels of hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential for many bodily functions including breathing, heart rate, and metabolism.

    Most cases of hypothyroidism require lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Infection of the Salivary Duct (Sialadenitis)

    The ducts that create saliva can be infected by bacteria and is typically found after surgery in the mouth and in the elderly that take medications that slow saliva production.

    Prognosis is good if you get treatment early, very poor if not. 78% of people die if treatment is not started in time.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, swelling on one side of the face, pain on one side of the face, swollen jaw
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Angioedema

    Angioedema is a condition which can cause swelling and puffiness of the face, mouth, tongue, hand or genitals. It is often related to an allergic reaction to food, medicines or insect bites.

    With treatment, this usually resolves in a few days.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), diarrhea, swollen face, hand swelling
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Swelling Caused by Use of an Ace Inhibitor

    ACE Inhibitors are drugs used to prevent, treat or improve symptoms in conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure and diabetes. In rare cases, these drugs can cause an allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

    With proper treatment and removal of the drug, prognosis is good.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, swollen face, trouble swallowing, swollen lips, swollen tongue
    Symptoms that never occur with swelling caused by use of an ace inhibitor:
    hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Swollen Face Treatments and Relief

Most causes of facial swelling symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor. If facial swelling is due to minor trauma to the face or dehydration it can be managed at home with ice, hydration, and rest. However, the infectious and allergic causes of facial swelling should be evaluated by a physician, who may recommend medications or further testing to manage the cause of facial swelling.

Seek emergency treatment if:

  • You have significant swelling to the face, lips, tongue.
  • You have swelling to the face, lips, or tongue accompanied by hives, wheezing, vomiting, or difficulty breathing.

Home treatments include:

  • Ice: If the swelling is due to trauma or inflammation, place ice packs on the face may help to reduce the swelling.
  • Hydration: A swollen or puffy face might be a sign of severe dehydration. Hydrating with water may help.
  • Time: If the swelling is due to lack of sleep or too much alcohol, it may take time and rest for the swelling to go down.

Medical professional treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: A doctor may recommend antibiotics is a bacterial infection is the cause of facial swelling.
  • Dental Referral: If a dental infection is the cause of the swelling, a doctor may refer you to a dentist.
  • Drainage: If an infection in the mouth is the cause of the swelling, it is possible that a doctor will need to drain the infection using a needle.
  • Blood tests: If a doctor suspects a medical condition such as a hormone imbalance, they may order blood tests of hormone levels to further assess.
  • Pregnancy test: If you have had a missed period, a doctor may order a pregnancy test.
  • Intravenous medication: In the event of facial swelling that is due to a possible allergic reaction, a doctor will likely administer a medication through an IV as soon as possible to reverse the allergic reaction process.

FAQs About Swollen Face

Here are some frequently asked questions about swollen face.

Why is my face swollen in the morning?

There are multiple factors that can contribute to facial swelling or puffiness, including dehydration or hormonal fluctuations. Facial swelling may be a sign of something more serious, including infection or allergic reaction. Try hydrating, getting more sleep, or putting ice or cool compresses on the face to reduce facial swelling in the morning.

Why is my face swollen after drinking?

Facial swelling after a night of drinking is likely largely due to dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which leads to dehydration. Dehydrated skin may actually retain water, causing facial swelling. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with water to prevent morning puffiness. Keep in mind, facial swelling has many causes, and persistent facial swelling could be a sign of something more serious. Other causes of facial swelling include infections, allergic reactions, or facial trauma.

Can a swollen face be a sign of pregnancy?

Facial swelling, as well as swelling in the hands, feet, or ankles can all be signs of pregnancy. Swelling, or edema, is a very common symptom experienced by women during the course of pregnancy. Typically, edema of the hands, feet, and ankles increases during pregnancy. However facial edema can be common earlier in pregnancy. However facial swelling can be a sign of many other things, including inflammation, dehydration, infections, allergic reactions or facial trauma.

Can sunburn cause a swollen face?

A sunburn can lead to facial pain, swelling, or blistering. However there are many other causes of facial swelling, including infections, facial trauma, or allergic reactions. Cool compresses may relieve some pain and swelling from a sunburn. If you have significant pain, swelling, or blistering from a burn, seek medical attention.

Why is one side of my face swollen?

Swelling to one side of the face has many possible causes, including infections, trauma, or tumors. Infections in the mouth or salivary glands may cause swelling to one side of the lower face. Infection in the eye could cause swelling on one side of the face near the eye. Infections that cause facial swelling may need to be treated by a doctor.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Face

  • Q.If you touch the swollen area, is there pain?
  • Q.Did you get hit in the head?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Were you hit or injured anywhere on your face? If so, where?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen face symptom checker to find out more.

Take Quiz

Swollen Face Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen face have also experienced:

    • 4% Headache
    • 3% Face Pain
    • 3% Facial Redness
  • People who have experienced swollen face had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Less Than a Week
    • 40% Less Than a Day
    • 10% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen face were most often matched with:

    • 40% Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)
    • 40% Skin Abscess
    • 20% Acute Salivary Duct Stone (Sialolithiasis)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen face

Take Quiz