Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are the dark circles under my eyes caused by pet allergies?"
I have a new girlfriend and she has a dog. Now I've started seeing dark circles under my eyes. Could this be from an allergy to the dog? I don't think I'm allergic but I've never had these dark circles under my eyes either.
Dark circles under the eyes are a very common problem that people seek medical advice for. They occur because the skin under the eyes is very thin, and so the blue veins show through easily giving the characteristic 'dark circle' appearance. Anything that thins out the skin or causes the skin to swell is likely to make the circles appear worse. One of the most common causes of worsening dark circles is, as you suspected, allergies. These can be either eye allergies or nose allergies (allergic conjunctivitis or allergic rhinitis); in both cases, they cause dark circles by causing fluid retention in the skin under the eyes. Pets are one of the most common causes of these allergies, but there are numerous other causes including mold and mites (for example, think about the house your new girlfriend lives in). In the case of allergic rhinitis, there are usually other symptoms, such as nasal discharge or stuffiness. In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, there is usually eye itching or redness. I suggest that you start by seeing your primary care doctor. They can examine you closely and help determine if you have allergies; if so, there are multiple excellent medications that they can prescribe to help relieve the symptoms.
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