You wake up one morning and see that you have bags under your eyes that look like a bruise. What gives?
This condition affects millions of people all over the world and it can be a real hassle to deal with.
Luckily for you, it isn’t permanent and there are many treatment options available, many of which you can comfortably do from home.
Today’s article is going to cover what allergic shiners are, what causes them, and how to get rid of them once and for all.
What are allergic shiners?
Allergic shiners are also known as periorbital venous congestion or allergic facies. These dark circles under the eyes often look like bruises, containing swollen, red, black, and purple skin. While traditional black eyes are caused by trauma, allergic shiners work a bit differently. Instead, they are caused by the blood vessels under and around the eyes having difficulty draining blood which causes swelling and the breaking of vessels.
The dark circles around the eyes aren’t the only symptom, however. They are traditionally brought along with sneezing, itching, dry eyes, coughing, and lethargy. All of these are common traits of allergies which is one of the main causes of these circles. It’s also very common to mistake allergic shiners and there associated symptoms with the flu, cold, or similar illness. You should visit a doctor if your case of allergic shiners involves:
- Noticeable pain is felt around the eye or in the sinus that doesn’t go away.
- Bleeding around the eye or from the nose.
- Symptoms causing you grief in your day to day life.
- Symptoms are not improving over time.
Let’s talk about the causes of allergic shiners next.
What causes allergic shiners?
Not getting enough sleep
Every adult requires approximately seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep every evening to look and feel their best. It’s normal to get bags and dark circles under your eyes when you don’t get enough sleep. However, constant sleep deprivation can result in much more serious cases like allergic shiners. If you noticed that your case came on after not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis, you should try falling sleep in a cool dark room. Shut off devices like laptops and phones approximately 30 minutes before bed and try to do something relaxing like reading. Your body also heals while you sleep which is another reason to more shut-eye in the evening.
Eczema is a skin condition we’ve touched on several times on our blog. It’s a disorder in which the immune system attacks itself, leaving red, scaley, itching blisters on the body. They commonly appear on the face, neck, elbows, chest, and back. Eczema has no cure but can be treated through creams, diet, and other approaches. Allergic shiners can be caused by your eczema if you are currently experiencing it.
Thin skin from aging
As you age, your skin will naturally become thinner. This means blood vessels more easily show from under the skin which can be one of the natural causes of allergic shiners. Typically in these cases, it isn’t as severe but it still can be for some individuals.
A lack of iron in your diet
Some individuals experience allergic shiners due to a lack of iron in their diet. Iron is responsible for eliminating fatigue, boosting hemoglobin, and supporting the immune system. Iron deficiency results in the condition amenia which prevents oxygen from reaching the blood vessels around your eyes. As a result, the swollen dark areas of skin are produced.
While the above causes do happen for some people, allergies cause allergic shiners in most situations. Being exposed to pollen, plants, flowers, or other nature that you have an allergic reaction to normally causes sneezing and itchy eyes. However, it’s also completely normal to get some form of swelling around the eyes with the most severe cases turning into shiners. Always take into consideration that your case could be the cause of several reasons and not just one which is why it’s wise to understand all of the different reason it could be occurring.
Are allergic shiners permanent?
No, allergic shiners are not permanent if they are caused by allergies, diet, or external means. Aging-related shiners are permanent for the most part although creams and treatment options we will be covering in a moment do help. Similarly, cases of shiners caused by eczema can be permanent since the base condition is also permanent.
How to get rid of allergic shiners
Now that you understand what these pesky dark circles under your eyes come from, let’s touch on how you can finally get rid of them and get back to living life.
Use an ice pack to reduce swelling and heal the skin
Ice reduces swelling, redness, and inflammation on any part of the body. It’s also why it’s a very convenient and quick way to start healing shiners. Keep in mind that holding ice or an ice pack on the skin for long periods can cause further damage. Keep it on for a few minutes at a time and leave it off for a few before resuming. It’s also recommended to wrap ice in a cloth or towel to ensure your skin isn’t exposed to the bare ice.
Stay hydrated inside and out
Hydration is key to keeping your skin looking and feeling its best. This is done in two ways. The first by staying hydrated by drinking enough fluids every day. All adults should aim for a minimum of eright 80z glasses of water every day. If you are physically active you will need to increase this amount and also consider drinking a beverage like Gatorade as it contains helpful electrolytes.
The second way to keep your skin hydrated is through the use of a good moisturizer. Since you are experiencing a skin condition, it’s best if you use a product that doesn’t contain any fragrances or compounds that can further irritate the skin. Additionally, you can consider moisturizing with coconut oil or virgin olive oil.
Use allergic shiner creams
There are creams specifically made to treat shiners and it can be one of the best bang-for-your-buck treatment options since they aren’t incredibly expensive and can be very quick-acting. Since they are made specifically for this skin condition, these creams will work much faster than other natural approaches, too.
Eat foods that are good for your skin
Diet plays a much bigger role in skin health and general wellbeing than most people realize. A lot of skin conditions can be completely cured or improved strictly through eating and removing certain foods. You definitely want to avoid any food items that cause inflammation within the body or don’t offer any real nutrition. These include fast food, junk food, processed food, candy, chocolate, soda, etc. Foods and nutrients that are good for the skin are:
- Collagen: This amino acid is the building block of the skin and helps create firmer younger skin cells.
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that reduces inflammation, heals the skin, and hydrates cells from within.
- Vitamin A: Reduces inflammation and protects the skin from free radicals.
- Aloe vera: You can find this in juice form or it can be added to a smoothie. It has antibacterial and skin healing properties that are awesome for shiners.
- Green tea: A very healthy hot drink that contains antioxidants.
Final thoughts on treating allergic shiners
Allergic shiners appear as dark and swollen circles under the eyes. They are commonly caused by allergies, iron deficiency, a lack of sleep, and other skin conditions such as eczema.
Treatment options include creams, allergy medication, eating foods that are good for the skin, staying hydrated, and placing an ice pack on any swollen areas.