What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes in Children?

Dark circles under the eyes are more common than you might think.

The dark circles under your child's eyes may spark a worrisome feeling in your gut. While it's possible for it to be a serious condition, odds are, it has more to do with factors outside of your control. If your parental instincts are keeping you up at night, it's never a bad idea to consult with your child's pediatrician just to give you peace of mind.

What Causes Dark Circles Under A Child's Eyes?

Those dark circles under a child's eyes are most likely caused by nasal congestion, according to the University of Utah Health. If the nose is blocked, the veins around the eyes get larger and darker. It can also be caused by large adenoids, which cause your child to breathe through his mouth more than his nose. Nasal congestion can also be a result of enlarged tonsils.

Check for these signs in your child:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Mouth breathing at night
  • Loud snoring

Read More: Congestion in Children

Skin Tone and Genetics

If your child has fair skin, it is possible for the veins underneath the skin to appear like dark circles. The thickness of the skin under the eye will determine the transparency of the skin. In addition, if dark circles under eyes appears in either parent, it is possible for this trait to be passed down to a child. Do a quick family evaluation to see if this is the case.

Read More: Hereditary Dark Circles Under the Eyes

Other Factors

Most experts agree that dark circles under the eyes in children are not caused by improper nutrition, as previously suggested with iron deficiency. The Mayo Clinic suggests some reasons for dark eye circles in adults are most often fatigue, but also excessive rubbing of the eyes, which can be a common occurrence in children who are tired.

Read More: Extreme Fatigue in Children

Is There A Treatment for Dark Eye Circles?

As a parent, you are probably wondering what is the best way to get rid of your child's dark eye circles. The best treatment is time. Some children can have very sensitive skin, so it's best not to use any types of creams or lotions to treat dark eye circles. For those with a genetic component to the dark eye circles, the best treatment is to maintain good skin health. Use sunscreen on the face when outdoors and for older children, a good skin care regimen.

Ensure your child gets enough sleep and naps when appropriate. Take note of your child's drinking habits and make sure they are hydrated in all seasons.

Read More: How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Naturally

When to Call a Doctor for a Child's Dark Eye Circles

It can be hard to determine when it is appropriate to seek consult from a doctor. If your child has a cold or allergy symptoms, see if the dark circles subside when the symptoms go away. The National Institutes of Health indicate that congestion usually subsides within a week.

If the dark circles do not seem to be related to any cold or allergy symptoms, if they get worse over time, or get worse in one eye over the other, it may be necessary to call the doctor to rule out any underlying or serious conditions. Lastly, if the dark circles seems to bother your child, it may be worth a consult to see if you can ease their discomfort.

Visit the LIVESTRONG Seasonal Allergies Center