Moon Facies

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is moon facies?

If your face has slowly edematous into a rounded shape, you may have moon facies. It was known as moon face. Although this is usually not serious it may make you feel lack of confident in your appearance.

Moon facies occurs when extra fat builds up on the sides of the face. It is often related to obesity but can be from Cushing’s syndrome. That’s why people sometimes refer it as a Cushingoid appearance. Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body is exposed high levels of a hormone called cortisol for long periods.

How common is moon facies?

Moon facies can affect patients at any age. It can be eliminated by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of moon facies?

The common symptom of moon facies is that the face gradually becomes round, full, or puffy. The sides of your face may become so round from the buildup of fat that the ears cannot be seen from the front of your face. Fat deposits in the sides of the skull can also make the face look rounder.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

 If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes moon facies?

  • Allergic reaction (allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or a bee sting);
  • Angioedema;
  • Blood transfusion reaction;
  • Cellulitis;
  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye);
  • Drug reactions, including those due to aspirin, penicillin, sulfa, glucocorticoids, and others;
  • Head, nose, or jaw surgery;
  • Injury or trauma to the face (such as a burn);
  • Malnutrition (when severe);
  • Obesity;
  • Salivary gland disorders;
  • Sinusitis;
  • Stye with swelling around the infected eye;
  • Tooth abscess;
  • Hyperadrenocorticalism/ hypercortisolism: a high release of hormones, especially cortisol;
  • Cushing syndrome;
  • Long-term use of steroids such as prednisone.

Risk factors

What symptom for moon facies?

There are many symptom  for Moon Facies, such as:

  • Sudden, painful, or severe facial swelling;
  • Facial swelling that lasts a while, particularly if it is getting worse over time
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Fever, tenderness, or redness, which suggests infection.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 How is moon facies diagnosed?

The health care provider will ask about your medical and personal history, as well as recent injury. This helps determine treatment or if any medical tests are needed. Your doctor will usually try to figure out the causes of moon facies to determine the treatment.

  • To confirm that moon facies is the result of abnormal cortisol levels, your doctor may proceed blood and urine tests. In other to find the cause of high cortisol levels, you may need other tests, such as an MRI or CT scan.
  • Cussing syndrome: it can be difficult to diagnose Cushing’s syndrome. The reason is that signs and symptoms such as facial swelling can be caused by other conditions. However, it is more likely to be Cushing’s syndrome if moon facies gets worse gradually along with other characteristic symptoms. For example, fat may also gradually build up in the back of the neck, abdomen, or trunk, but legs and arms often stay thin. This type of central obesity is the most common feature of Cushing’s syndrome. However, if you are someone who diets or exercises a lot, you may have little or no weight gain or moon face may be very slight.
  • Medication history: your doctor will also likely to ask for your medication history, especially if you are under long term use of steroids. Long-term use of steroids such as prednisone can cause many of the same signs and symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. Although millions of Americans take these types of medications, many others may be affected by moon facies but not know its cause. In fact, weight gain with fat redistribution such as moon facies is one of the most common signs of steroid use. Your risk of developing these signs depends on the dose of medication and how long you take it. With steroid using, an increase in appetite and food intake may contribute to weight gain. Symptoms usually occur as the result of long-term use of oral steroids. But less commonly, injected or inhaled steroids may cause Cushing’s signs and symptoms as well.

How is Moon Facies treated?

Your doctor will likely to treat the causes of your Moon Facies, for example:

  • Treatment for Cushing’s syndrome depends on what is causing it. In some cases, a surgeon can remove a tumor. In other cases, medicine, radiation therapy, or physical therapy can help.
  • If your long-term steroid usage is the cause, the best way to reduce the impact of symptoms is to reduce the dose of medication or discontinue it altogether. If you need to continue using it, your doctor will help you try the lowest effective dose. For example, taking the medication every other day can sometimes lessen Cushingoid changes. If this does not resolve moon facies and other symptoms, your doctor may suggest trying other types of therapies.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage moon facies?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with moon facies: Applying cold compresses to reduce swelling from an injury. Raise the head of the bed (or use extra pillows) to help reduce facial swelling.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to get clear understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: November 30, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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