Gone are the days when we could hit the hay at 3am and wake up three hours later with a spring in our step. As we age, our ability to bounce back from a big night out dwindles. Hangovers are no longer a niggling morning headache, now replaced by a puffy face, tiredness and aches that take three to four working days to recover from.
It’s not so easy to disguise burning the candle at both ends either. A quick slick of concealer might work on dark circles and tell-tale blemishes, but it’s no match for a puffy face and swollen eyes.
To find out why we’re left with a puffy face after a boozy weekend, let's dip into the science. Alcohol is what’s known as a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to rid itself of fluids, which leads to dehydration. Hence why your mouth feels like the desert and your head pounds after a night of drinking. You’d imagine this would just show on your skin in the form of dehydration, and while this can be the case, a puffy face is the most common side effect. This is down to two key factors. Firstly, drinking alcohol can cause your blood vessels to expand, leading to red skin and a swollen face. Dehydration also encourages your body to hold onto water (known as water retention) which shows in the form of bloating and puffiness.
Of course the easiest way to steer clear of a puffy face is to steer clear of alcohol altogether, but if you can’t resist a tipple, there are a couple of things you can try. Dilute your drinks by adding an extra splash of mixer or a couple of cubes of ice. Trying to alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water is also a good idea, and will have the knock-on benefit of improving your hangover too.
Politely declined the wine and still feeling the effects on your face? Unfortunately, the way you sleep and your choice of food can also impact your morning-after complexion. The position we snooze in makes a difference to how much water pools in our faces, especially around the eye area, overnight. To lessen the effects, we’d always recommend trying to sleep on your back, with your head elevated by a couple of pillows. But of course, the later you go to bed, and therefore the more tired you are, the higher the likelihood of face-planting the pillow.
As for food, socialising often involves takeaway or convenience foods as well as snacks, all of which can impact your complexion. They might taste delicious, but salty foods lead to water retention and can be the cause behind your puffy complexion. Again, re-hydration is almost always the answer, so making sure you’re sipping on plenty of water during the night will lessen the effects in the morning.