You are probably concerned if you notice that your child has dark circles under the eyes, as this is a more common problem among adults.
However, it can also affect the little ones, and although their origin rarely responds to a serious condition, there are many factors that can cause them. Here we review everything about children’s dark circles.
Dark circles, idiopathic hyperchromia of the orbital ring, in medical vocabulary, is the alteration of the coloration of the skin that is under the eyes. Its extension usually follows the anatomy of the orbicularis oculi muscle that surrounds the orbit.
Dark circles occur due to the excessive production of a pigment called melanin and the dilation of capillaries on the surface of the skin, and can be temporary or permanent. The origin of the disease is usually unknown, although it is attributed to different factors. Let’s meet them:
Dark circles due to tiredness
Whether due to distractions with electronic devices, or due to a nocturnal nature, many children, just like adults, may have dark circles under their eyes due to not being able to get a good night’s sleep.
Reviewing the sleeping patterns of children, and, if problems are identified, finding the cause of that disturbance, is a good way to combat dark circles.
Dark circles due to congestion
The veins (blood vessels) in the nose are connected to the veins around the eyes. This means that if the nose becomes stuffy from allergies, colds, flu, or ear infections, it can also block the veins around the eyes and cause dark circles.
Dark circles due to dehydration
Water is key to maintaining good skin health as it helps plump up the skin and prevents it from becoming too dry.
If children do not drink enough water, or, on the contrary, consume drinks that can dehydrate them, such as liquid yogurts, smoothies or soft drinks, they may have dark circles.
According to experts, this happens because the skin, especially under the eyes, looks thinner when we are not hydrated.
Dark circles due to genetics
Many times we look for the cause of a problem in external factors when it could be closer than we imagine. Are dark circles under the eyes common in your family? For hereditary reasons, many children are likely to have thinner skin or increased pigmentation under the eyes.
These types of cases are not related to any health condition, and the dark circles are usually darker in color, rather than blue or purple.
The presence of dark circles is usually irregular, although as you age they can become permanent.
dark circles from wounds
Children are usually very active and therefore prone to hitting or hurting themselves. Thus, dark circles may have their origin in some type of injury, such as trauma, which cause slight bruising that affects the color of the skin.
Even a blow to the nose or a nosebleed can lead to blockage of blood flow and cause puffiness around the eyes.
Dark circles due to eye irritation
Crying is another very common physiological response in children. It can cause puffiness around the eyes, and thus the appearance of dark circles.
Even when it is not caused by necessity, happiness, pain or sadness, but by allergens such as animal hair, dust or food, it can cause temporary irritation and cause the appearance of dark circles.
Dark circles due to anemia
Children grow quickly, and many times their diets may not keep up. If to this is added the whims in front of certain foods, there is a risk that they do not obtain all the necessary nutrients for proper development.
When that deficit is iron, anemia can be suffered, a disorder characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells that makes it difficult for the correct transport of oxygen to the different tissues of the body.
This condition may be responsible for the famous dark circles, but not always that these marks appear under the eyes means that we are in the presence of anemia. To differentiate it, take into account the following symptoms:
- Tiredness and fatigue.
- High heart rate.
- Cold hands and feet.
- Pale skin.
- Conduct problems or misbehavior.
- Accelerated breathing.
If you suspect that your child has anemia, consult a health professional as soon as possible. Regular blood tests, called complete blood counts, will help detect the presence of anemia early on.
Treatments for dark circles
From natural medicine there are many options to deal with dark circles:
- cold compresses: soaked cloths (can be with cold water or green tea) seem to improve eye inflammation and tend to minimize the appearance of dark circles.
- Potato or cucumber slices: both options have refreshing and decongestant properties. To take advantage of them, it is advisable to wash them well, cut them into thin slices and place them on each closed eyelid. They are kept for ten minutes and then removed.
- parsley compresses: You can prepare an infusion of parsley by boiling a tablespoon per cup of water for ten minutes. Let it cool, then strain and soak in cotton pads that are placed on the eyelids. Similar to potato and cucumber, parsley is linked with decongestant properties.
The truth is that, to combat dark circles, the best option is to identify the factor that causes them, and then yes, solve that problem.
In this way, the solution can range from getting restful sleep, drinking more water or avoiding other beverages, and limiting exposure to certain allergens, to controlling the nutritional quality of children’s diets.
It is important to consult the pediatrician if the dark circles do not disappear on their own, to make a diagnosis and determine the best treatment.
Remember: The medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, with other herbs and supplements, and even alter the diet. Wait until you have meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, and only use these options under the recommendation and supervision of a healthcare professional.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Eye Institute.