ParentingDark circles under the eyes of children: should we be concerned?

Dark circles under the eyes of children: should we be concerned?

Although they are rarely a cause for concern, it is necessary to understand why dark circles appear on children. The first thing to define is that they are produced by an alteration in the color of the skin located under the eyes or in the total contour of the eyes.

This alteration is caused by an excessive production of melanin and also by the dilation of blood vessels. It should be remembered that the skin around the eyes measures between 300 and 800 microns, i.e. it is quite thin, which is why these physiological processes are so noticeable.

Common causes of dark circles under the eyes in children

It is normal for parents to be alarmed when they see their children wake up with holes in their eyes, because this condition makes them look sick, tired and emaciated. However, they are not necessarily a cause for alarm. The reasons why dark circles under the eyes appear in children are the following.

Difficulty sleeping

It is normal for dark circles to appear when children have bad sleeping habits. This disorder is known as infantile insomnia and it affects children between the six months of life and the 5 years of age.

The dream of the children can be affected by the consumption of foods or drinks like the coffee or the chocolate shortly before sleeping. The performance of physical activity at night, the light stimulus of technological devices and ambient noise can also affect them and lead to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Another cause of dark circles under the eyes of children is obstructive pediatric sleep apnea. This disorder is caused by the partial or total blockage of breathing during sleep due to a narrowing of the airway.

Other symptoms that may suggest that your child has this disorder are the following

  • Snoring with long pauses in breathing
  • Night terrors and restless sleep
  • Dry mouth.
  • Breathing through the mouth.


As a result of lack of sleep or excessive activity during the day, children may experience episodes of fatigue leading to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

In these cases it is necessary to review the activities that the small one develops during the day to offer him/her spaces of rest that allow him/her to recover. It is necessary to take care with the naps during the day so that they do not affect the night sleep.

Nasal Congestion

As one of the most common causes, nasal congestion from flu, allergic rhinitis, asthma or sinusitis also causes dark circles under the eyes to appear. This color change is not only in the lower eye area, but also in the nose.

It occurs due to the dilation of the veins in these areas. It should be noted that when there is conjunctivitis, the eyelids become red due to the irritability of the skin.

Genetic conditions

Although they usually manifest themselves in adolescence, some children may have a genetic predisposition to have dark circles under their eyes at an early age. This condition is also known as congenital dark circles or hereditary periorbital melanosis.

It is nothing more than a genetic hyperpigmentation in the area of the eye contour that can rarely be cleared up. The important thing is that it does not compromise the child’s physical condition.

Orbital Cellulite

Orbital cellulitis is an infection that can be serious. In children, it appears as a sinus condition; therefore, it is accompanied by dark circles or bulging of the eyes in children under 7 years of age.

Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Haemophilus influenzae are common causes. In addition, red eye color, difficulty moving the eyes and fever appear.

What should I do if my child has dark circles under his eyes?

Dark circles under the eyes in children are usually not a serious condition. However, when there is another type of symptom that accompanies it, it is necessary to consult the doctor to rule out a disease. In order to improve the appearance you can keep in mind these recommendations and natural treatments.

Encourage rest

In the case of dark circles under the eyes due to lack of sleep, it will be necessary to avoid the child from taking long naps during the day. Avoid watching TV or being exposed to screens before sleeping. You can discuss with your doctor the possibility of including infusions to help him/her fall asleep, such as chamomile or milk with honey.

On the other hand, if your child does a lot of activities during the day, you may want to consider giving him or her more space to rest or do activities that relax him or her, such as yoga or meditation.

Resorting to natural treatments

If you want to help reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, you can resort to natural options such as cucumber slices. One slice is placed under each eye. This will improve the circulation, deflate and hydrate this area.

You can also apply some coconut or almond oil to the circles with the help of a cotton ball. This will also help to reduce inflammation and encourage the growth of eyelashes.

A more aesthetic problem

Dark circles under the eyes of children, as in adults, are a more aesthetic problem than a health problem in most cases. So, if you’ve already ruled out a physical problem with your doctor’s help, it’s best to stay calm.

In cases such as hereditary, it is necessary to bring the child to the acceptance of his physical characteristics and avoid the application of products that promise their elimination without medical approval. Natural options are valid, as long as there are no contraindications.


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