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Published May 09, 2012, 11:30 PM

Mathison: Put your best face forward

Have you ever rolled yourself out of bed, wiped the sleep from your eyes, looked in the mirror, and yikes! Your face is puffy and eyelids swollen? Don’t get too worried; this typically disappears in an hour or two when the fluids that have accumulated in your eyelids drain. Gravity is sometimes a friend.

By: Dr. Susan Mathison, Areavoices.com, INFORUM

Have you ever rolled yourself out of bed, wiped the sleep from your eyes, looked in the mirror, and yikes! Your face is puffy and eyelids swollen?

Don’t get too worried; this typically disappears in an hour or two when the fluids that have accumulated in your eyelids drain. Gravity is sometimes a friend.

However, looking like someone who has cried all night is still not the look you’re going for, especially if you have to go to school or work, or out in public for that matter.

Morning face can be caused by prone position, lack of sleep, dehydration, allergies and imbalanced diet. If the body is dehydrated, water tends to accumulate in the eyelids.

Alcohol and salty foods can also trigger this as it minimizes the hormones in the body that help us flush fluids, and triggers water build up in facial areas.

As for allergies, morning face often accompanies itchy eyes and redness.

Want to get rid of the marshmallow look? Get adequate sleep. It gives your eyes precious recuperating time after a long day. Try to lay with your head elevated a bit, providing better circulation of fluids when sleeping.

Drink lots of fluids daily to help with hydration. Water is best. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it actually helps. Lower your salt intake and eat a healthy diet. The body can only store salt in fluid suspension form, so too much salt can cause pooling around the eyes. Basically, high sodium levels can cause water retention in all the wrong places.

Also, use a gentle make-up remover and never sleep with eye make-up on. This helps prevent allergic reactions from mascara or eye shadow particles from entering the eyes. With eye make-up, don’t use anything more than a few months old. Bacteria often grows after time and this can cause an adverse reaction.

Here are some final tips:

Put on a morning mask of cold water, ice or gel for a few minutes.

Wrap ice cubes in paper towels and place on eyelids. The cold temperature will reduce swelling and helps minimize water retention more quickly.

Keep an eye cream in refrigerator, ready for morning usage if needed. Use your ring finger to gently tap eye cream on eyelids.

Soak cotton pads in cold milk and apply to closed eyelids for a few minutes to remove puffiness, then rinse with cool water. This may brighten dark circles under the eye as well, since the lactic acid in milk is a mild exfoliate. History tells us that Cleopatra bathed in milk as part of her beauty ritual. Cold cucumber slices used as eye pads for a few minutes are also considered fast relief.

If symptoms of puffiness last for an extended period of time, contact your doctor to see if there is something more serious going on.

Dr. Susan Mathison founded Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo and created PositivelyBeautiful.com.

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