A Dennie-Morgan (DM) line describes a fold or crease of skin below the lower eyelid. It usually appears in children with skin conditions such as eczema.

Inflammatory skin diseases, such as allergies and eczema, cause inflammation, skin dryness, rashes, and other skin changes. A DM line is another example of these skin changes.

This article explores the DM line, including its symptoms, causes, and more.

DM lines are prominent skinfolds or creases beneath the lower eyelid.

While doctors call them atopic pleats, other names for DM lines include:

  • DM folds
  • Dennie folds
  • Morgan folds
  • infraorbital folds

Research from 2020 found that DM folds were the most common minor criterion for atopic dermatitis, or eczema, and were present in up to 84% of people with eczema. However, other research has yet to corroborate this.

However, these lines are not specific only to atopic dermatitis and may also appear in other inflammatory conditions affecting the eye area. They are also present in people with asthma and allergic rhinitis without eczema.


Dr. Charles Clayton Dennie, a dermatologist in Kansas City, was the first to describe the condition but never published it himself.

However, his colleague, another Kansas dermatologist named Dr. David Morgan, published a brief report entitled “A Suggestive Sign of Allergy” in 1948. The report explained the condition from the teachings of Dr. Dennie. Since then, these lines have been called DM lines.

DM folds often appear with allergic shiners, which are swollen and dark areas under the eye.

Other common skin conditions relating to atopic dermatitis that help doctors determine its diagnosis include:

  • hyperlinear palms and soles, which involve increased prominence of the lines on the palm
  • lichenification, which is the result of repeating itching and causes thickened skin
  • keratosis pilaris, which are tiny bumps appearing on the skin
  • pityriasis alba, which are discolored skin patches
  • ichthyosis vulgaris, which is dry and scaly skin

The underlying cause behind DM lines remains unclear.

DM lines can present as early as birth but may be more noticeable with age. It may also appear with other typical symptoms relating to the underlying condition that caused it.

Aside from skin edema, it may also have links to the continuous spasm of the Muller eyelid muscle due to the lack of oxygen — which doctors call hypoxia — relating to reduced blood circulation.

People with atopy may be more prone to developing DM lines. Atopy is an immune system problem that makes individuals prone to developing allergic diseases. This makes those with allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and other atopic diseases more prone to developing these folds.

The way to treat DM lines is to address the underlying conditions, but cosmetic treatments may help address them. It is best to work with a dermatologist, who may need to do some patch testing to avoid products someone may be sensitive with.

Treatments for DM lines include the below.


Types of products that may help include:

Mild anti-inflammatory drugs, such as steroids and allergy medications, may also help reduce inflammation. However, a person should only use the drugs under the advice of a doctor due to possible skin complications.

Cosmetic and surgical treatments

Cosmetic treatments may also help. Dermal fillers can help fill lines and wrinkles with collagen and hyaluronic acid to make the creases less visible. According to a 2018 study, laser therapy may also help.

Blepharoplasty may help people with severe DM lines and sagging skin. This surgical procedure removes excess skin and fat deposits under the eyes. This can also help reduce dark circles in case a person also has allergic shiners.

With age, a person may develop deep wrinkles and fine lines. Stress, diet, smoking, and sun exposure can also speed up skin aging and cause wrinkles to appear sooner. They occur in the following areas:

  • frown lines, which appear between the eyebrows
  • worry lines, which appear on the forehead
  • nasolabial folds, which appear on the sides of the mouth
  • laugh lines or crow’s feet, which appear in the corner of the eyes

Below are some frequently asked questions about DM lines.

Why do DM lines form?

The causes of DM lines are unclear. However, various factors could play a role in developing these lines. Possible risk factors include eczema, allergic rhinitis, and other allergic conditions.

Is it possible to get rid of DM lines?

Treating the underlying condition that causes DM lines can help improve them. Cosmetic eye treatments may also help with symptoms.

What are allergy lines under the eyes?

Allergy lines are folds or creases due to the thickening of the skin under the eye due to repeated irritation and swelling. It often comes with allergy shiners, or dark-colored circles that resemble black eyes. These two are common symptoms of allergic conditions.

DM lines are small creases or folds below the eyes. It is often present in many people with eczema and allergic conditions.

The best way to treat DM lines is to address the underlying condition causing it. Topical creams may also treat the associated symptoms. Additional methods include cosmetic treatments, such as dermal fillers, laser therapy, and blepharoplasty.

DM lines differ from other wrinkles as they appear due to allergic conditions and not from natural aging. It is essential to consult a dermatologist before any treatment since the skin of people with skin conditions can be sensitive to certain skin products.