Well, that explains it.

Okay, so we’ve all gone out for our birthday, bestie’s birthday, hen’s night, end of exams celebration, whatever, and maybe indulged a bit too much on the old jungle juice.

While this is (mostly) fun at the time, it inevitably leads to the dreaded day of headaches, nausea, and exhaustion otherwise known as a hangover. However, aside from these quintessential symptoms, a night on the booze actually affects how you look. Enter, the swollen post-drinking face; a hangover symptom that no amount of Kim K level contouring ever seems to be able to totally mask.

So what causes it? According to accredited dietitian and exercise physiologist Gabrielle Maston, the main culprit is fluid retention, and here’s exactly why (and how) it happens, and most importantly, how to beat it…

1. Dehydration

Here’s the thing about dehydration. Under normal conditions, anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), concentrates urine, and controls the amount of fluid excreted from the body. However, the effects of alcohol drastically disrupt this process. Disrupted levels fool around with the excretion of fluid from the body, and make you retain sodium and other electrolytes. Both these factors work in combination to result in retention of fluid in the body, and thus the dreaded facial bloat emerges.

“Your choices are to drink less or try to slow down. For every alcoholic drink, drink a glass of water. The following day continue to sip on water,” Maston Recommends.

2. Long term excessive consumption

“Consumption of alcohol long term poses a lot of problems to health including heart disease and diabetes risk, high blood pressure and weight gain. All of these issues can contribute to poor circulation of the blood and fluid retention, and in many cases accumulation of fat around the organs and limbs,” explains Maston.

The solution? Think about having weeks or days alcohol free regularly. Stay active every day to keep your lymph system moving and be focus on fresh, high fibre foods like leafy greens and vegetables which help flush out retention.

3. Lack of sleep

Becasuse tiredness has long been linked to a puffy appearance, when combined with a late night on the drink it’s a recipe for a seriously swollen jawline, says Maston.

“Due to the negative effects of alcohol on sleep quality, you can wake up looking and feeling tired, and puffy faced due to sheer lack of sleep.”

To avoid waking up with a pillow face (no pun intended), opt to finish drinking by 10 or 11pm at the latest and be in bed by midnight to ensure you get adequate shut-eye.

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