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Allergic shiners, also known as allergic facies or periorbital venous congestion, are a common symptom of allergies, especially in children. These dark circles under the eyes can be unsightly and cause concern for parents and individuals alike. This article will discuss what allergic shiners are, what causes them, and how they can be treated.

What Are Allergic Shiners?

Allergic shiners are characterized by dark circles under the eyes that appear swollen or puffy. The skin around the eyes may also be red or itchy. These symptoms are caused by the dilation of blood vessels under the skin due to inflammation caused by allergies. Allergic shiners are typically more visible in the morning and may worsen throughout the day.

What Causes Allergic Shiners?

Allergic shiners are caused by an allergic reaction. When exposed to an allergen, the body produces histamine, which causes inflammation and dilation of blood vessels. This inflammation and dilation can cause the blood vessels under the skin around the eyes to become more visible, resulting in the appearance of dark circles.

Common allergens that can cause allergic shiners include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and certain foods. Allergic shiners can also be a symptom of allergic rhinitis, an allergic reaction to airborne allergens such as pollen or dust.

How Are Allergic Shiners Treated?

The best way to treat allergic shiners is to identify and avoid the allergen causing the reaction. This may involve allergen testing to determine the specific substance causing the allergy. Allergen testing may involve skin prick or blood tests to identify the specific allergen.

Once the allergen has been identified, steps can be taken to avoid exposure. This may involve avoiding certain foods, keeping the home free of dust and pet dander, and using air purifiers or filters to remove allergens from the air. Medications such as antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids may also be prescribed to manage the symptoms of allergies.

In addition to avoiding allergens and taking medications, other steps can be taken to reduce the appearance of allergic shiners. These include:

  • Using Cold Compresses: Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and inflammation, reducing the appearance of dark circles.
  • Getting Enough Sleep: Lack of sleep can cause the skin around the eyes to appear puffier and swollen, making allergic shiners more noticeable.
  • Drinking Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated can help reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
  • Using Eye Creams: Eye creams containing ingredients such as caffeine or vitamin K can help reduce the appearance of dark circles.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, allergic shiners are not a cause for concern and can be managed with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. However, if the symptoms are severe or persistent, it may be necessary to see a doctor. This is especially true if the symptoms are accompanied by other symptoms such as itching or swelling of the eyes, difficulty breathing, or hives.

In some cases, allergic shiners may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as a sinus infection or an autoimmune disorder. If the symptoms are persistent or severe, a doctor may recommend further testing or referral to a specialist.


Allergic shiners are a common symptom of allergies that can be managed with a combination of avoidance strategies, medications, and home remedies. While they are not typically a cause for concern, it is important to see a doctor if the symptoms are severe or persistent. By avoiding allergens and managing symptoms, individuals can reduce the appearance of allergic shiners and improve their overall quality of life.

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