24 answers

Toddler with Dark Circles Under Eyes

my daughter (3 years old) used to get dark/puffy circles when she was tired or sick. Now she has them most of the time. Also, she gets sick very often and is a picky eater, even though we try everything under the sun to make her eat. she has plenty of activity and takes vitamins. She is lactose intolerance and we give her lactose free milk, although she drinks normal yogurt (we've tried soy yogurt w no success). She had a blood test done a year ago that came out normal. Any ideas of what can be causing the dark circles?

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My toddler had the dark under-eye circles. In her case I think it was due to nasal congestion from her very enlarged adenoids. She had a lot of ear infections and was mostly a mouth breather.

Since her adenoidectomy the circles aren't as apparent.

2 moms found this helpful

A lot of times dark circles are a sign of allergies. I would take her to an allergist and have her tested.

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I know I've read something in the past about what causes them....but to be certain what YOUR child's problem is, I'd see an Iridologist. If you're close to the Woodlands, there's one at Health Market on Sawdust. Cheryl is WONDERFUL. It cost me $85 to find out within 3 minutes that my daughter is allergic to gluten and wheat intolerant. She'd been having headaches all the time and her doctor couldn't tell us why without tens of thousands of dollars worth of test. Cheryl found the cause in literally 3 minutes of us walking in the door!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

My toddler had the dark under-eye circles. In her case I think it was due to nasal congestion from her very enlarged adenoids. She had a lot of ear infections and was mostly a mouth breather.

Since her adenoidectomy the circles aren't as apparent.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi R.,

Dark circles are a sure sign of allergy. IgE allergies (immediate response such as hives, anaphylaxis) are often easier to detect. IgG allergies (delayed response where symptoms appear hours or even days later) are much more difficult. Keep a journal of what she eats and her symptoms (all negative reactions including behavioral stuff)as well as getting an IgG allergy test done. Good luck!

Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions!


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A majority of milk-intolerance in young children is an allergy to a protein in the milk, rather than the lactose. I'm not saying she isn't lactose-intolerant, but she could be having additional issues. You may want to eliminate all dairy for at least two weeks (I was told it takes this long for the protein to clear the system--I had to quite dairy while breastfeeding).

It is also time to re-do the allergy testing. New allergies can develop and some are hard to reliably detect in younger children.

My daughter also gets the dark circles when she is having a little bout with allergies--she has environmental, rather than food allergies. She just gets a little miserable, slightly stuffy nose, coughing when she lays down. We've tried both Zyrtec and Singulair, but she experienced profound side effects with both--disturbed sleep, night terrors, personality change. When she has a flare-up, I use Mucinex, a homepathic cough syrup, and a steam vaporizer to keep it from sitting in her sinuses and becoming an infection. It works for us and I don't have to keep her on medication all the time.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

My baby girl has them too. We attribut it to her constant allergy issues (she had them as a baby too). We've watched her 'allery times' to learn what bothers her (mold, ragweed, cedar) & give her allergy meds during those times of the year. Does your little one struggle w/a runny nose (other allergy issues?)? We tried visiting a pedi-allergist & found she was ONLY allergic to eggs (which don't tend to produce any visible response--of course we fed her eggs before we learned about this allergic issue :) I wasn't thrilled with the testing process on my little one & was not happy with the results. Make sure she eats & doesn't over due the milk...milk enduced anemia can be the result of that. Feed her her favs & know that she'll eat/try more when she gets a bit older.

I hope this helps,
M. R.

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We were just in to the dr to figure out a 5-week long cough and learned that dark circles under the eyes can be a sign of allergies. It can't hurt to call the nurse.

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Hi R.-

When my son was diagnosed with a milk allergy the doctor told me that dark circles around the eyes were a sign of a food allergy.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

The most common cause of dark bluish circles under the eyes is congestion of the nose. The veins from the eyes drain into the veins of the nose. If the nose is blocked up, the veins around the eyes become larger and darker. To understand what's going on, we need to look at the nose.

These dark circles are sometimes called allergic shiners because nasal congestion is usually caused by nasal allergy or hay fever. Dark circles are also caused by chronic sinus infections, recurrent colds, or blockage of the nose by large adenoids. (If the dark circles are caused by large adenoids, your child probably breathes mostly through his mouth instead of his nose.) Dark circles under the eyes may run in families. Dark circles under the eyes are especially noticeable in children with fair complexions.

Most of the time, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of poor health or troubled sleep. In very rare cases, they may be a sign of a more serious condition.

1 mom found this helpful

Our daughter used to get the dark circles under her eyes when her Asthma was acting up and she was coughing so much... Her asthma symptom was a dry cough... Not always the wheeezy kind...

I always knew she was about to get really sick when those circles showed up.

Document as much about her symptoms and see if there is a pattern. If she has been ill, she may not have been sleeping well.. That could also be causing the dark circles...

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning R.,

It sounds to me like your daughter may have allergies, but she may be to young to get tested.

My son had circles and was alway's sick and slept very poorly. When we were finally able tohave him tested, we found out he was allergic to Tomato's and Peanuts (among other things). He was also a pickie eater but of course loved Peanutbutter and Ketshup. Peanut oil is in tons of food so we had to really pay attention to labels. When we removed these things from his diet he was a new kid. His speech improved and his sleeping patters were finally normalized. Just an idea!! I know how frustrating it is because they can't communicate vary well and the Drs. all wan't the quick fix. For example tubes in the ears for fluid rather than figureing out why the fluid is there. Naselchrome(spelling??) spray (can be purched over the counter now and does not contain any steroids) was a God send for the fluid on his ears as well as the diet changes. The good news is he out grew all these problems and is a fatasic healthy young man today!!

Best of luck--A. M

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I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Both suffer from allergies and when they have not got allergy meds, they will have dark circles. Ask you pediatrician.

I have had dark circles under my eyes since I was 10 years old. My doctor said it was due to allergies, which were pretty severe. I don't know if this is true in your daughter's case, but many people have it.

Our eldest had them too. They were due to sinus problems caused by allergies. Hers were worse during hay fever season...which is almost all year round in Austin. Definitely check with your pediatrician, he/she may be able to offer help.

From what I have read and heard in oriental and Ayurvedic medicine, dark circles under the eyes are related to the kidneys. It may be something in her diet that is irritating to her kidneys.

my girls also get dark rings... it is allergies.
Take her to an allergy dr.
even if they do tests and find out it isn't one certain thing.. the combination is the problem..

The first thing I thought was 'milk allergy' and now I see she DOES have some milk issues. I strongly recommend cutting out the milk and yogurt for two weeks and see if she gets better. For some children, when they switch to organic, raw, or goat milk they get betters, others can't have animal milk at all.

I get ear and sinus infections when I have milk or yogurt, but cheese is fine.

It could be "Iron Eye". The nick name for the dark circles caused by a low iron count. or anemia. I have been anemic all my life and the circles get worse when I am sick or tired. if she is on a vitamin with iron, you may try to give her something with vitamin C as iron needs the vitamin to be absorbed into the body. when I was younger I had to eat all sorts of "yummy" (NOT) foods considered to be high in Iron, like beef liver ( barely cooked) I still have a hard time keeping it up, my Dr. has me on prenatal vitamins and an extra slow absorbing iron supplement.
Good Luck...regardless it is worth a trip to ther Dr. request the test to check her iron, it is just a prick in the finger and about 2 minutes to find out.My daughter used to have to get hers 3 days a week for several months til we got her regulated.

I have had dark circles under my eyes my whole life. My doctor once asked if I was being abused. They get worse if I'm tired or sick, but they are always there. My first daughter was lucky enough to not have them but my youngest does.
As for the yogurt, we buy the goat milk yogurt at wholefoods, its great. Goat milk is much easier for people to digest than cow milk.

Hi R.,
My sister had that issue all her life. It was some sort of iron deficiency- from what you are describing she could have other allergies- have you checked your kitchen cabinets for cleaning products..that have chemicals and toxins? There are also toxin residues left in laundry such as her bed linens - toxin residue that she inhales as she sleeps. There is a lot of research out there to support this claim.....I would suggest trying products that are free from these chemicals and see if that does not make a little difference....Also, try her on foods that are high in iron- and these are mostly the "green" ones- or if you can get her to eat beets- they are good also.
good luck and blessings

I've had them pretty much all my life also and have been told they're from allergies..

A lot of times dark circles are a sign of allergies. I would take her to an allergist and have her tested.

Iron count may be low. Have them check it out.

usually people who are unhealthy or have allergies have these dark circles. i have these and so does my son. we both have very deep set eyes. other than making sure she is getting plenty of sleep didnt think there was anything else you could do to fix them. when i first wake up they arent as bad as they are by the afternoon.

- Grate raw potato, squeeze the juice and apply the juice under your eyes for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also place thin slices of potato on your eyes (with them closed) every night before you retire. This is one of the most popular and time-tested home remedies for dark circles.

- Include a lot of green leafy veggies in your diet. Also include food rich in Vitamin A and E.

- Indulge in some kind of exercise like walking, jogging. Yoga, especially pranayama is known to improve skin health.

- Take two thin slices of cucumber and place them on your eyes. This removes the puffiness and cools the eyes - Dip cotton in rose water and place them on your eyes.

- Reduce salt intake in your food. Excess salt encourages fluid retention and leads to puffy eyes.

- The area under your eyes has very sensitive skin, so never use chemical bleach.

- You can also place used tea bag (cold) on your eyes which helps lessen the darkness - Avoid exposing your skin to harsh rays of the sun. Especially for the eyes, wear sunglasses whenever you step out in the sun

- Apply any best eye cream for dark circles containing vitamin K and argiline. Dark circles may be caused by a deficiency of vitamin K. Regardless of the cause, however, skin creams containing these two ingredients reduce puffiness and discoloration significantly in many people. Long-term daily use seems to have the greatest effect.

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