I don’t wear makeup so I don’t often look at myself in a mirror without my eyeglasses on. The glasses makes my eyes look large and mask the look of black circles. Today for the first time in months I actually looked at myself in a mirror in good light without my glasses on. I look like I’ve been in a terrible fight or am about to expire from some gothic wasting disease. Huge black circles, almost craters, under my eyes. Looks a little scary, like death warmed over. Yummy.
So I did what any good Interneter would do: I Googled for information. Did you know there’s a name for these dark circles? No, neither did I. They’re called “Allergic shiners” and are a result of longtime allergies and/or sinus infections. iVillage has a good explanation, which says (in part):
In people with chronic nasal or sinus inflammation, venous blood circulating through tiny vessels in facial skin may have a hard time reaching the larger veins. If you can imagine the swollen tissues of the nasal cavity/sinuses acting as millions of separate tourniquets on these tiny venous channels, you will have a fairly accurate idea of what’s going on.
Thus, due to sinus/nasal inflammation, venous blood in the facial vessels is impeded in its return to the heart. This is venous congestion — “congestion” in the same sense as “traffic congestion.” When the small vessels in skin become congested with venous blood, the skin takes on a dusky or bluish hue … thus producing allergic shiners.
There’s no known treatment for allergic shiners. Aggressive treatment of the underlying condition is clearly helpful, but successful treatment does not always cause the shiners to vanish. Unfortunately, the only sure-fire solution to the problem is the artful use of cosmetics.
I suspect it’s tied to the same aspects of my allergies that are causing my eyes to be constantly watering or gummed up. Lovely.
(As a completely off-topic aside, I’m watching the best of Comic Relief 2007 special. David Tennant (Doctor Who) is wearing a dress kilt and he looks hot. No, I mean REALLY hot. I absolutely love a man in a kilt, especially a Scotsman in dress kit. I don’t know why. Genetics?)
(As another aside, what is with the horse riding pantomiming that people do to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”? It’s funny to watch but it must be a British thing.)
(As a last aside, the special also featured Take That singing Patience, which I first heard and blogged about here almost exactly a year ago. The circle spins around again…)