What Are Allergic Shiners? Everything You Need to Know (2024)


How to get rid of allergic shiners?

To treat allergic shiners, use approved antihistamines to control reactions to common allergens. In addition, practice hygiene such as frequent and thorough hand washing before touching food, after playing outdoors, and after petting animals to limit exposure to allergens. Keeping your surroundings clean can help as well.

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What Is An Allergic Shiner?

Allergic shiners, also called allergic facies, are dark circles and indentations around the eyes resulting from chronic allergic inflammation. This type of inflammation is caused by environmental allergies such as allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or inhaled allergens like pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores.

Allergic shiners form when histamine and other chemicals in the body cause small blood vessels and capillaries to swell and constrict, creating dark circles around the eyes. This allergy reaction can result in puffiness, redness, itchy eyes, and irritation. In some cases, individuals with allergies might also experience congestion of the nose, throat, and sinuses.

People suffering from allergic shiners may also have facial itching, watery eyes, sneezing, and a post-nasal drip. Allergic shiners can occur in both adults and children but are most frequently seen in pediatric patients who rub their eyes due to an itchy nose.

Allergic Shiner Symptoms

Allergic shiners are a common type of seasonal allergy reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • Itchy nose
  • Shadowy pigmentation under the eyes (resemble bruises)
  • Runny nose
  • Throat clearing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • High fever
  • Sneezing
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Itchy nose
  • Mucus in the throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Puffy eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchiness on the roof of the mouth

See a doctor if any of these allergy symptoms continue for more than a few days or if they begin to interfere with daily life activities. Proper treatment and allergy management strategies, such as avoiding triggers or immunotherapy, can mitigate your allergy symptoms and improve your quality of life.

What Do Allergic Shiners Feel Like?

Allergic shiners can be a painful and uncomfortable part of seasonal allergies. People who experience them often feel a heavy pressure on the eyes and around the bridge of their nose, as if they have been up all night crying. There may also be severe swelling.

The eyes may appear puffy and bloated. Other symptoms of allergic shiners may include blurry vision or irritated eyelids.

What Do Allergic Shiners Look Like?

Allergic shiners appear as dark circles around the eyes and generally look bluish or purplish in color due to the increased blood flow underneath this region of the skin. While their appearance can differ, swollen eyes with puffiness around them are common signs of allergic shiners.

Differences from a Black Eye

Allergic shiners and black eyes often share several similarities. They both typically involve the area underneath the lower eyelid turning dark, usually purple or blue. They differ from a black eye in that they usually affect both eyes, often extending to the area below the cheekbones and manifesting as symmetrical dark circles around both eyes.

A black eye shows more variation depending upon which side was impacted initially. The marks resulting from an allergic shiner are less distinct than a black eye, causing the skin to look swollen or puffy rather than bruised. Additionally, a black eye typically starts to heal after some time, with discoloration fading away. In contrast, allergy-related circles beneath the eyes often linger until the cause is treated.

When to See a Doctor for Allergic Shiners

If you don't experience relief after a few days of self-care, like taking over-the-counter allergy medication and avoiding triggers, it's time to see your doctor. Describing your symptoms will help them identify if allergic shiners are related to an allergic disease or something else. Depending on the cause, your physician may give you further instructions like an allergy test and prescribe a short course of steroids or antibiotics.

You should also see your doctor immediately if the dark circles around your eyes are accompanied by other allergy symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, severe headaches, and facial pain, as they could signal something serious. It's best to be proactive in addressing this allergic reaction and seek medical advice quickly.

How Are Allergic Shiners Diagnosed?

Allergic shiners are a form of discoloration beneath the eyes. If you are experiencing allergy shiners, it is important to get them properly diagnosed so that you can find relief from your symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about diagnosing allergy shiners.

Physical Exam

The first step in diagnosing allergy shiners is for a doctor to conduct a physical exam. During this exam, the doctor may look at the area around your eyes for any signs of discoloration or puffiness. The doctor may also ask questions about your diet, lifestyle habits, and any medications or supplements you take regularly. This information will help the doctor determine whether or not your allergy shiners are caused by allergies or something else.

Allergy Tests

If your doctor suspects you have allergies, they might order an allergy test. Several different types of tests are available, including skin prick tests, blood tests, and patch tests. Each of these tests measures the body’s reaction to certain substances that could be causing your allergies. Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor may recommend certain treatments, such as antihistamines or immunotherapy (allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy).

Food Logs and Elimination Diets

Your doctor may also ask you to keep a food log or follow an elimination diet to identify which foods may be causing your allergy shiners. In a food log, you will record everything you eat over time and note any changes in symptoms after eating particular foods. An elimination diet is when you eliminate specific foods for some time to determine whether they contribute to your symptoms. For instance, if dairy products seem to trigger your allergy shiners, removing dairy from your diet could alleviate the problem.

Patch Test

A patch test is a common way for doctors to diagnose allergies. During a patch test, your doctor will apply small patches of different allergens to your skin. These allergens could be from pollen and dust mites to pet dander and food. Over 24 – 72 hours, your doctor will observe any reactions on the patches. If you show an allergic reaction to any substances, it suggests that you may suffer from an allergy-related condition like allergic shiners.

Skin Prick Test

A skin prick test is another option for diagnosing allergies and is often used when patch tests don't provide enough information about what might be causing your symptoms. During this test, small amounts of different allergens are applied directly onto your skin and then pricked with a needle so that they penetrate just beneath the surface layer of cells. Your doctor will observe any reactions over 30 minutes before concluding whether or not you have an allergy-related condition, such as allergic shiners.

Nasal Smear Test

A nasal smear test takes a sample from inside your nasal cavities using cotton swabs or other instruments designed for this purpose. The sample will then be analyzed by a lab technician who can check for bacteria or other organisms that could cause allergies and other problems like sinus infections which can lead to dark circles under the eyes due to congestion and inflammation in that area of the face.

At-Home Allergy Test

An at-home allergy test is one of the easiest ways to determine if you’re dealing with allergies. These tests identify allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander that may be causing your allergic reactions. This test measures the levels of IgE antibodies in your blood which can help identify potential triggers for your allergic reactions. The results from this test can provide insight into why you might be experiencing allergic shiners and will tell you what you’re allergic to so that you can avoid those allergens in the future.


Having allergic shiners can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience. Thankfully, there are several strategies that you can use to prevent them from occurring or worsening.

Here are some of these strategies:

  • Limit exposure to allergy triggers: One simple way to prevent allergic shiners is by limiting your exposure to outdoor allergens. This could mean avoiding certain foods or environmental elements such as pet dander, dust, pollen, and smoke. You may also opt to stay indoors during allergy season to prevent triggers. Identifying your triggers during allergy season will help you make the right lifestyle changes.
  • Use air conditioning and humidifiers: The air quality in your home significantly reduces indoor allergies. Using an air conditioner to keep your home cool and dry during the summer months and running a humidifier during winter months when the air is dryer can help reduce allergy symptoms significantly.
  • Diet modification: Eating a balanced diet is important for keeping the immune system functioning properly, including reducing inflammation caused by allergens. Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish like salmon, leafy greens like kale and spinach, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fruits like blueberries and strawberries, and vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can potentially reduce inflammation associated with allergens.
  • Pre-treat symptoms with antihistamines: Taking an antihistamine before coming into contact with an allergen may help reduce the severity of symptoms. It’s important not to take antihistamines without consulting a doctor first, as they may cause unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness if taken in large doses or on an empty stomach.
  • Take probiotics: Taking probiotics is effective at reducing inflammation associated with allergies which can lead to fewer episodes of allergic shiners over time. Probiotics are friendly bacteria found naturally in food sources such as yogurt or fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi. However, it’s possible to take them in supplement form.

Treatment Options

There are several ways to treat allergic shiners so you can feel your best again. Let's look at some of the most effective treatments for allergic shiners.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies such as nettle tea or chamomile tea may help reduce symptoms associated with allergies like sneezing and runny nose, which may lead to reduced puffy eyes and reduced appearance of allergic shiners over time. Additionally, using a cold compress on the eyes several times a day helps reduce inflammation and puffiness associated with allergies which may also lead to reduced appearance of allergic shiners over time.

Allergy Medications

Allergy medications such as antihistamines or decongestants can temporarily help relieve symptoms associated with allergies, such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy skin. Some types of oral medication can even help minimize the appearance of allergic shiners by reducing swelling and inflammation around the eyes. However, always take these medications under the supervision of a doctor since they may have side effects if taken in excess or without proper guidance.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy is a form of treatment that involves taking drops or tablets under your tongue daily. Sublingual immunotherapy contains allergen extracts that build up your immunity to your specific allergens over time. This method is safe and effective for treating allergies in children and adults and results in long-term symptom relief.

Take Our Allergy Assessment

Knowing what you’re allergic to can give you the power to manage allergic shiners better. Our allergy assessment is a great first step to understanding your unique allergies and sensitivities, helping you make informed decisions about your health. The test is comprehensive and easy to use: simply fill out a few short questions, and our team of experts at Wyndly will give you feedback tailored specifically to your needs.

Take our quick allergy assessment today to get one step closer to a life without allergies!

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