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What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes in Children?

author image Sharisa Lewis
Sharisa Lewis is a freelance writer and editor for and various other websites. She launched the Washington Post's Health Section. Lewis' work experience also includes producing, editing and writing for AOL News, and PBS Online. She has a Master of Public Policy from American University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.
What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes in Children?
What Causes Dark Circles Under Eyes in Children?

Not From Lack of Sleep

Dark circles under the eyes in children are not usually from lack of sleep or troubled sleep. When you see dark circles under the eyes of your kids, look for another health problem.

Not a Sign of Bad Health

If you see dark circles under your child's eyes, it does not necessarily mean they have poor health or lack vitamins or nutrition.

Nasal Congestion Likely to Blame

Dark circles under the eyes are most likely caused by nasal congestion, according to Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. in Parenting magazine. If the nose is blocked, the veins around the eyes get larger and darker. Nasal congestion can be caused by hay fever, sinus infections, colds or allergies. It can also be caused by large adenoids, which cause your child to breathe through his mouth more than his nose. Nasal congestion can also be a result of enlarged tonsils.

Common With Fair Complexion

Children with a lighter complexion often appear to have darker circles under their eyes without any related health problem.

Runs in Families

Dark circles under the eyes can be common within a family. Some people genetically have thinner skin under the eyes. Check family circle to see if dark circles are the norm.

Not a Sign of Anemia

Often the child with dark circles also looks pale, but this is not a sign of anemia. Instead, the congestion or puffy skin makes the surrounding area appear pale.

Signs to Call a Doctor

Dark, puffy circles are not usually cause for calling a doctor. However, do call your child's doctor if he snores badly at night, breathes mostly through his mouth, has persistent nasal congestion or has signs of skin irritation on the face.

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