Is it normal for my baby to have dark circles under his eyes?

Is it normal for my baby to have dark circles under his eyes?

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There are a number of reasons for dark circles under your baby's eyes, and almost all are normal, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, editor of The Wonder Years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones.

"The skin under everyone's eyes is thinner than on the rest of the face," says Altmann. Some people with darker skin tones, including those with a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean background, have darker pigmentation that could give the appearance of circles under the eyes, she says. It's also common for a tired baby to rub his eyes, making the sensitive under-eye skin turn red.

A lot of parents blame allergies for dark circles, but Altmann says seasonal allergies generally don't show up in children younger than 1 year old. "Babies usually need to be exposed to environmental allergens for one or two seasons before they get hay fever," she says.

Children who do develop nasal allergies may have "allergic shiners," or dark circles under the eyes caused by swelling of blood vessels underneath the skin.

And some nursing babies who are especially sensitive may have an allergic reaction to food in their mother's diet, but this usually shows up as hives or blood in the stool, not dark circles under the eyes.

Although it's extremely rare, darkness around the eyes can be caused by a tumor. If the skin under your baby's eyes is very dark, says Altmann, ask your baby's doctor about it.

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