Allergic shiners: how to diagnose and treat

If you’ve ever woken up to dark circles under your eyes that just won’t seem to go away, you may be dealing with a condition known as allergic shiners. These pesky under-eye circles can be frustrating to deal with. And although people may focus on how allergic shiners look, it’s important to approach getting rid of them wholistically. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what allergic shiners are and how our dermatologist can help you treat them effectively.

Allergic shiners
Allergic shiners

What Are Allergic Shiners?

There are a number of causes of dark circles under the eyes including genetics, sun damage, and aging, but allergic shiners are more of a medical problem. Allergic shiners are dark circles that appear under the eyes due to various allergic reactions. They might appear more red in people with fairer skin. The skin often appears thicker with visible folds called Dennie-Morgan lines. They can be triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or certain foods. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, on the eyelids can also produce these changes. Eye rubbing to soothe the itch also contributes to the darkening (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and thickening of the skin .

People with this condition often experience other allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, or a runny nose. While allergic shiners are not harmful themselves, they can be uncomfortable and bothersome and affect your confidence, especially if they become prominent or persistent.

How Our Dermatologist Can Help

If you think you may have allergic shiners, consult our dermatologist at Aglow Dermatology who can confirm the diagnosis and provide you with effective treatment options to help get you relief.  Here is the process:


The doctor will consider your medical history and examination to determine if the dark circles under your eyes are allergic shiners or another problem.

Allergy Testing

Should allergies be suspected, the doctor may suggest allergy testing.  We can perform environmental allergy testing to pinpoint the substances that are causing your symptoms. By knowing your allergens, you can take steps to avoid exposure, treat and reduce the frequency and severity of your allergic reactions.

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Treating Eyelid Eczema

Many individuals with allergic shiners also experience eyelid eczema, a common condition characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin on the eyelids. The dermatologist will prescribe topical corticosteroids or immunomodulators to help alleviate the symptoms of eyelid eczema and reduce inflammation. Additionally, they may recommend gentle skincare products and lifestyle changes to prevent flare-ups and keep your skin healthy.

Treating Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Dark circles caused by allergic shiners are often accompanied by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition where the skin produces excess melanin in response to inflammation. When the allergies or eczema are treated, sometimes the discoloration resolves on its own, however, this make take several months.  Our dermatologist can offer various treatments to help lighten hyperpigmentation more quickly and improve the appearance of your under-eye area. Not all lightening creams used on other parts of the body are safe to use on the delicate eyelid skin– especially if there is active eczema.  This is why medical supervision is important.  We also offer in-office procedures like chemical peels which can be recommended for more stubborn pigmentation issues.

Conclusion: treating dark circles

Dark circles around the eyes can be a bothersome cosmetic concern.  With the help of our board-certified dermatologist, effective treatment options are available. By identifying and managing your environmental allergies, treating eyelid eczema, and addressing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, you can lighten and improve the appearance of dark circles under your eyes. Don’t let allergic shiners dull your sparkle—seek professional help to feel better and reclaim a brighter, more radiant complexion!

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