Dark circles in children: should we worry?

Although they are rarely a cause for concern, it is necessary to understand why dark circles appear in children. The first thing to define is that these are produced by an alteration in the coloration of the skin located under the eyes or in their total contour.

This alteration occurs due to a excessive production of melanin and also by the dilation of the blood vessels. It should be remembered that the skin around the eyes measures between 300 to 800 microns, that is, it is quite thin, that is why these physiological processes are so notorious.

Common causes of dark circles in children

It is normal for parents to be alarmed to see that their children woke up haggard, as this condition makes them look sick, tired and emaciated. But nevertheless, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. The reasons why dark circles appear in children are the following.

Sleeping difficulties

It is normal for dark circles to appear when children have bad sleeping habits. This disorder is known as infant insomnia and affects children between six months of life and 5 years of age.

Children's sleep can be affected by consuming foods or beverages such as coffee or chocolate shortly before bedtime. Performing physical activity at night, the light stimulus of technological devices and ambient noise can also affect them and give way to the appearance of dark circles.

In childhood insomnia there are dark circles due to a lack of adequate rest.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Another cause that can cause the appearance of dark circles in children is pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder it is caused by partial or total blockage of breathing during sleep due to a narrowing of the airways.

Other symptoms that may suggest that your child has this disorder include the following:

  • Snoring with long pauses in breathing.
  • Night terrors and restless sleep.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Breathing through the mouth.


Product of lack of sleep or excessive activities during the day, children may experience episodes of tiredness that lead to the appearance of dark circles.

In these cases it is necessary to review the activities that the child develops during the day to provide rest spaces that allow him to recover. It is necessary to be careful with naps during the day so that they do not affect night sleep.

Read also: Relaxation techniques for children

Nasal congestion

Being one of the most common causes, nasal congestion caused by the flu, allergic rhinitis, asthma or sinusitis also causes dark circles to appear. This color change is not only in the lower eye contour, but also in the nose.

It occurs due to the dilation of the veins in these areas. It should be clarified that when there is conjunctivitis, the eyelids turn red due to the irritability of the skin.

Genetic conditions

Although they usually manifest in adolescence, some children may have a genetic predisposition to have dark circles at an early age. This condition is also known as congenital dark circles or hereditary periorbital melanosis.

It is nothing more than a genetic hyperpigmentation in the area around the eyes that can rarely be cleared up. The important is that does not compromise the physical condition of the child.


Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that occurs most frequently in the adrenal glands, in the abdomen, in the chest, or in areas of the body where there are groups of nerve cells. Appears in children under five years of age and causes bruising around the eyes.

It is essential not to confuse these dark circles with dark circles. Other symptoms also appear, such as subcutaneous lumps, proptosis (eyes that seem to pop out of the sockets), bone or back pain, fever, and weight loss for no apparent reason.

Orbital cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis is an infection that can be serious. In children it appears as a sinus condition; so it is accompanied by dark circles or bulging of the eyes in those under 7 years of age.

Are bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes Y Haemophilus influenzae the common causes. In addition, there is a red color in the eyeball, difficulty in mobilizing the eyes and fever.

You may be interested: Conjunctivitis in children: what should I do?

What to do if my child has dark circles?

In the usual way, dark circles in children are not a serious condition. However, when there is another type of accompanying symptom, it is necessary to consult a doctor to rule out any disease. In order to improve the appearance, you can keep in mind these recommendations and natural treatments.

Promote rest

When it comes to dark circles due to lack of sleep, it will be necessary to prevent the child from taking long naps during the day. Avoid watching television or exposing yourself to screens before sleeping. You can consult with your doctor about the possibility of including infusions to help you fall asleep, such as chamomile or milk with honey.

On the other hand, if the child does many activities during the day, you can evaluate the option of giving him more space to rest or doing activities that relax him, such as yoga or meditation.

Screens before sleeping are not a good idea as they disrupt your night's rest.

Use natural treatments

If your desire is to help reduce the appearance of dark circles you can use natural options such as cucumber slices. A slice is placed in each of the eyes. This will improve circulation, deflate and hydrate this area.

You can also apply a little coconut or almond oil on the dark circles with the help of a cotton ball. This also helps to reduce inflammation and will promote eyelash growth.

A more aesthetic problem

Dark circles in children, as in adults, are a more aesthetic than a health problem In most cases. So, if you have already ruled out a physical problem with the help of your doctor, it is better to remain calm.

In cases such as hereditary it is necessary to bring the child to the child to the acceptance of their physical characteristics and avoid the application of products that promise their elimination without medical approval. Natural options are valid, as long as there are no contraindications.