Allergic Shiners: Can Allergies Give You a Black Eye?

Jul 25, 2023

Allergic Shiners: Can Allergies Give You a Black Eye?

4 minute read

Allergy season seems to come out of nowhere and hit you right in the face. And sometimes, it can look like you actually got knocked out by your allergies. Did you know the dark circles around your eyes may be caused by your allergies?

Allergic facies – commonly referred to as allergic shiners because of their bruise-like appearance – are caused by nasal and sinus congestion. Essentially, your stuffy nose is what’s giving you a black eye.

What are Allergic Shiners?

Allergic shiners are the dark or discolored areas under the eyes caused by allergies. Although your allergic facies may look like a shiner, it’s not actually a bruise at all. The dark circles forming around your eyes are inflammation of the blood vessels due to congestion.

Causes of Allergic Shiners

When histamines and other allergens chronically irritate your body, your blood vessels react by becoming swollen and inflamed.

Your eyes can become puffy, red, and itchy – and in some cases, dark and discolored. Whatever allergens trigger your allergic reaction – pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or certain foods – can also cause these shiners.

Allergic rhinitis – also commonly referred to as seasonal allergies or hay fever – can cause an allergic reaction that may manifest as an allergic shiner.

Environmental factors

Low-quality indoor air can lead to allergen exposure in the home, which may impact your susceptibility to allergic reactions and subsequent allergic shiners.

Allergic shiners are typically accompanied by other common allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, skin rashes, or gastrointestinal issues.

There are a few steps you can take to help improve the air quality of your home. These include:

  • Replace your AC filter regularly
  • Use cooking vents
  • Keep your rugs and carpets clean
  • Use an air purifier
  • Buy indoor plants to freshen the air
  • Control the humidity

Other causes of discoloration around the eyes

Getting an accurate diagnosis for the discoloration around your eyes is key. There are a couple different reasons why you might have some discoloration around their eyes, such as fatigue or hereditary factors. Periorbital hyperpigmentation – or dark circles around the eyes – is hereditary and there is usually no concerning underlying condition that causes it.

If you notice dark circles under or around your eyes, be sure to seek medical attention. Cleared by LifeMD can help you determine the cause of the discoloration and provide guidance on appropriate treatments, including FDA-approved allergy medications.

Symptoms and Identification

If you have an allergic shiner, you most likely are experiencing other common allergy symptoms. The typical symptoms of allergic shiners include:

  • Dark or bluish discoloration under the eyes
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, throat, or eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Fever

How to Get Rid of Allergic Shiners

There are a few different ways to manage and alleviate allergic shiners.

The most important thing you can do to avoid getting these unpleasant bruise-like circles around your eyes is to identify your allergens and stay away from them whenever possible.

If you haven’t been able to avoid allergens – because let’s face it: pollen is everywhere – antihistamines and decongestants can be effective in reducing and alleviating allergy symptoms, including allergic shiners. Most antihistamines – such as tablets, capsules, liquids, nasal sprays, and eye drops – can be found over-the-counter.

There are also prescription allergy meds if the over-the-counter medications aren't doing the trick. Fortunately, Cleared by LifeMD can connect you with a doctor who can help you determine the treatment that’s most effective for you.

Home Remedies for Allergic Shiners

Allergic shiners can last for up to a week. The good news is that there are some home remedies you can try that may help minimize the appearance of allergic shiners.

Some tips for lessening the unwanted look of allergic shiners include:

In general, adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as proper hydration, sufficient sleep, and a well-balanced diet may help in promoting overall skin health.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you notice dark and bluish circles around your eyes that look like you could have been in the boxing ring, it may be time to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cleared by LifeMD is your one-stop allergy shop for effective allergy treatment. We offer personalized treatment from home from U.S.-licensed doctors so you can be on your way to looking and feeling like yourself again.


Dr. Payel Gupta

Medically reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta


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