When I was 15, I joined colorguard, which meant lots of heavy, dramatic makeup. I would come home from practice around 8 or 9, exhausted, and I would just go straight to sleep with my makeup on from the school day. That year, I had a major issue with styes. It was painful and embarrassing, and I know it isn't fun to deal with.
Let me start with this: I'm not a doctor. I don't ever intend to be a doctor. This post is based on my personal experience. These are tips I have discovered through lots of research and that work for me when I have had styes or stye symptoms. If you are having severe symptoms, please go see a professional.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about how to prevent and treat styes!
What is a stye? A stye is a swollen lump, similar to a cystic pimple, that forms primarily on the edge of the eyelids, although sometimes they can form underneath the eyelids.
What causes a stye? A stye sometimes forms when the wrong kind of bacteria eats the dead skin cells around the eye. It can also form when the tear duct or eyelash root gets clogged by dead skin, makeup, or bacteria. Most commonly, styes occur due to a combination of the two.
If you think you might have a stye but you aren't sure, I suggest clicking here. But if you're squeamish, beware! It isn't exactly pleasant to look at.
Now the question that is on everyone's mind: How can I prevent styes?
- Remove ALL of your makeup at night. Don't skip out because you're too tired or lazy to fuss with it. Just do it. Be very particular about it, and make sure to get it all off.
- Use baby shampoo to wash your eyelids. Use just a few drops of tear-free baby shampoo and mix it with a cup of water. This will help dilute it to make it safer for use around the eyes. After mixing it up, take a cotton ball or cotton pad, soaked in the solution, and gently wipe this over your eyelids, focusing on the upper and lower lashlines.
- Do NOT, under any circumstances, share makeup or brushes that have not been properly sanitized. Some products, like mascara cannot be sanitized, so don't even think about it! Sharing makeup spreads bacteria, and can not only cause styes, but acne breakouts.
Prevention is key, but on the off chance you may be on this page because you already have a stye, or you can feel one coming on, I have a solution for you as well!
How can I get rid of a stye?
- Take a clean wash cloth and soak it in warm water to make a warm compress. Place it on the affected eye until the wash cloth cools down. Repeat multiple times a day, but make sure to use a clean wash cloth each time!
- Make hot and cold green tea compress. Green tea is an anti-inflammatory filled with antioxidants. Make yourself a nice hot cup of green tea, and after the tea bag has cooled down a bit, apply this to the eye. Do this while it is still warm, but not so hot that it will burn you. You can also put the tea bag in the fridge or freezer for a cool, refreshing compress that will help reduce swelling even more! I almost always do this step whenever I have a stye or any kind of hormonal cystic acne.
- Try to avoid wearing makeup. If you absolutely must wear makeup, make sure to use clean brushes and to sanitize your makeup. Like I said before, mascara cannot be sanitized, so I would suggest purchasing a new mascara if you can. But no makeup is the best makeup when you have a stye.
- On the same note, clean and sanitize your makeup brushes before applying any makeup to the eye, and make sure to clean your brushes after! To learn to clean and sanitize your brushes, I suggest visiting my blog post, "How I Clean/Disinfect My Makeup Brushes & DIY Brush Drying Rack."
- Use stye eye drops. When I was younger and got styes a lot, this stuff was my holy grail. Use them just like ordinary eye drops, and not only will it soothe the pain caused by a stye, but it will help to get rid of it! Use just a couple times a day, in combination with the other steps, and your stye will be gone in no time!
More than anything, the #1 thing I can recommend for both prevention and treatment of styes is to NEVER touch your eyes unless your hands are clean. I know it can be hard to resist sometimes, especially if you tend to touch your face a lot, but the more aware you become of it, the easier it will become to control.
Usually, this is where I would include a photo, but I can't think of anything less pleasant than adding a picture of a stye to the end of this post.