Have allergies and lifestyle factors caused dark shadows under your eyes that look like bruises? This unfortunate symptom of allergies and your lifestyle are referred to as “allergic shiners” due to their resemblance to a black eye, or “shiner.” This condition can impact your appearance and have other undesirable symptoms. Learn about what causes allergic shiners and what treatments you can use to dissipate the dark circles and puffiness under the eyes.
The skin under the eyes is thin and delicate – if the blood vessels under this skin become inflamed, dark circles can form. This is true when you are tired and it can also occur when you have nasal congestion. When allergies are the cause of nasal congestion, dark shadows under the eyes caused by inflamed blood vessels are called allergic facies, periorbital hyperpigmentation or allergic shiners.
Causes and Symptoms of Allergic Facies
Allergies can often result in a stuffy or congested nose. This includes a wide variety of common allergies that many people struggle with all year-round or with seasonal changes. Some of the allergies that can result in nasal congestion that contributes to allergic facies include:
- Pollen or outdoor allergies
- Dust or pet dander
- Food allergies
- Perfume or chemical allergies
When you have allergies, your body reacts to the allergen by producing an immune response. Antibodies are made to fight the allergen and the blood vessels expand. Histamine is released, which can cause the congestion in the nose and sinuses. This congestion and widening of the blood vessels can impact the area under the eyes. The symptoms of allergic shiners include:
- Puffy, inflamed skin under the eyes
- Circular shadows under the eyes
- Bluish or purplish skin under the eyes
- Sinus pain, sneezing, nasal congestion and other nasal allergies
Not only can the allergies make you feel miserable, the reaction under the eyes is very noticeable. The puffy, round “bruises” can resemble a black eye, or shiner, or make you look exhausted. While a shiner that is caused by trauma to the eye results in a bruise, allergic shiners are different. The small blood vessels become engorged and visible under the thin skin, causing the dark skin. The inflammation can impact the ability of these blood vessels to drain. To reduce the appearance of allergic shiners, you need to find effective treatments that will relieve inflammation, constrict the blood vessels, reduce puffiness and relieve nasal congestion.
Treatments for Allergic Shiners
Since allergens cause the reaction that leads to nasal and sinus congestion which causes allergic shiners, controlling allergies is the best treatment. Avoiding allergens can reduce nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms. If animal dander causes an allergic reaction, you can avoid close contact with pets. Cleaning and air purifiers can help remove dust and other indoor allergens. However, it is not possible to avoid all allergens.
Controlling your allergies can help reduce your nasal congestion and reduce your symptoms, including allergic shiners. There are a variety of allergy treatments available over-the-counter, including:
- Nasal sprays
- Eye drops
Finding the right medication to manage allergy symptoms can reduce nasal congestions and inflammation under the eyes that cause allergic facies. For more severe allergies, prescription medications may be needed. Visit your doctor to discuss prescription medications or therapies that can offer relief from your allergy symptoms when OTC medications are ineffective.
Beyond controlling your allergies, how can you improve the appearance the swollen, dark circles under your eyes? While allergies may be what triggers the puffiness and engorged blood vessels, other factors can impact the severity of your allergic shiners. You want to ensure you are taking care of yourself and your skin to dissipate the appearance of puffy, dark circles. Some treatments to help reduce puffy eyes include:
- Hydrate the body – drink at least 64 ounces of water a day
- Hydrate the skin – use a quality moisturizer on the skin under the eyes
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – these substances can dehydrate the body
- Get enough sleep – your allergic shiners will be more pronounced if you are tired
- Eat a healthy diet – iron and other deficiencies can contribute to shiners
- Allergic shiner creams can be used to minimize dark circles and puffiness
- Applying an ice pack for a few minutes can relieve inflammation under the eyes
Controlling allergic reactions internally combined with lifestyle factors and skin treatments can reduce the appearance of allergic shiners and other symptoms.
If you suffer from allergic shiners, there are a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you relieve your allergy symptoms and the appearance of your puffy, bruised eyes. Talk to your doctor about effective allergy treatments and see a dermatologist to improve the health and appearance of the skin under the eyes. With the right combination of treatments, you can manage and control allergic facies.