About Circles Under Eyes in Babies

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We're used to seeing it on adults, but if your baby has dark circles under his eyes, it can be very disconcerting and worrisome. These "shiners" probably aren't what you think; they're not caused by tiredness, an unhealthy diet, or being hit. They're most often due to congestion, and treatment can be very simple.

Identification

  • Your baby looks like he has a couple of black eyes, or shiners, or that he hasn't been getting enough sleep because of dark or bluish under-eye circles. If your child has a fair complexion, it will be even more noticeable.

Misconceptions

  • Most parents assume the condition is caused by a lack of sleep, because that's what often causes under-eye circles in adults. The second conclusion is that it could be due to poor health. But dark under-eye circles in babies usually aren't caused by either of these, so chances are your baby is actually quite well-rested and healthy, except for one thing: his sinuses.

Considerations

  • The most probable cause of dark circles under the eyes in babies is nasal congestion. This causes veins around the eyes to get larger and darker, resulting in the dark-circle look.

Theories/Speculation

  • In most cases, treating the root cause of your baby's nasal congestion will get rid of the circles.
    Allergy tests aren't usually done on children younger than four or five, unless it's a food allergy, which isn't likely in this case. It's also not very common for babies to be allergic to dogs or cats that are present in the home. But if you still suspect allergies, talk to an allergist or your doctor about ways to reduce the allergens in your home. This might include changing bed linen, dusting, cleaning the floors and vacuuming more often, or using a hypoallergenic cover on your baby's mattress.

Prevention/Solution

  • The condition is sometimes called "allergic shiners" for good reason. In a lot of cases, the root cause of the nasal congestion that makes the dark circles appear is hay fever or some other allergy. In infants, the allergy is more likely to be environmental than seasonal. The most common are carpet molds and dust mites, which occur regardless of how often you vacuum or clean your house. However, a carpeted house is more rife with indoor allergens than one with wooden or tiled floors.
    If your baby rubs his eyes a lot, allergies are the most likely underlying cause to the sinus trouble. They aren't the only culprit, though. Other causes of the nasal congestion could be recurring colds, chronic sinus infections, or breathing through the mouth because of large adenoids (or tonsils).

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