If you’ve ever had a pimple on your eyelid, then you’ve definitely wondered how to get rid of styes. While there’s no foolproof, guaranteed method, there are a few simple things you can do at home to minimize the stye, deal with the pain and potentially make it go away faster.
First, we should know what, exactly, a stye is and how it develops. It’s basically a red bump that looks like a pimple that forms on your eyelid. Styes form when dead skin, dirt, oil or other gunk clogs the tiny oil glands on your eyelids. That allows bacteria to grow, which ultimately leads to pus, swelling and pain.
Now that we’ve got our baseline facts, before we dive into how to get rid of styes, here are a few things you need to know:
- Neither SPY nor any other website can properly substitute for a conversation with your doctor. Though we stand by our tried-and-true tips to help get rid of styes, if you have any concerns about a stye, it’s always best to speak to a medical professional.
- If you do nothing, your stye should go away on its own in a few days. If it doesn’t go away on its own or remains significantly painful after a few days, you might consider speaking to a doctor.
- There’s no way to avoid styes entirely, but a few things can help: Only touch your eyes with clean, washed hands, don’t leave any product on your eyelids overnight and don’t share facial hygiene products or towels with anyone dealing with a stye.
- Do NOT attempt to pop your stye. In general, messing with it in any way to attempt to pop it will not work and will likely only make things worse.
Now, with facts in hand and those tips out of the way, let’s walk through our guide on how to get rid of styes.
1. Warm Compress
The easiest thing you can do is also the best thing you can do: place a warm compress on your eye with the stye. According to the Mayo Clinic, a warm compress can offer some pain relief and encourage a stye to drain on its own by helping open up the clogged glands.
Get a clean washcloth, soak it in warm water, wring it out and place it over your closed eye with the stye. Re-wet the washcloth to warm it up as needed and continue for 5 to 10 minutes. When finished, gently massage your eyelid to encourage natural draining and repeat a few times a day for at least a few days for best results.
2. Clean Your Eyelid With Soap and Water or Eyelid Wipes
This one seems obvious, but think about all the times you touch your eyes in a day without clean hands. Dirt, gunk, grime or really anything on your eyelids can contribute to the development of a stye by clogging the eyelid’s glands. With clean hands, of course, wash and rinse your eyes with mild soap and water. And we emphasize mild here. Remember you’re washing your eyes and the last thing you want to do is irritate the eyeball with an infected eyelid. Avoid harsh or synthetic chemicals where possible to minimize unintended irritation.
Alternatively, if you’re on the go or just want a dedicated eyelid product, you could turn to eyelid wipes, such as the No-Rinse Eyelid Wipes. They’ll help clear away any dirt and oil and the best part is you don’t have to rinse your eyes after using them.
3. Tea Bag Compress
If a warm water compress helps, then it stands to reason that doing the same thing with black tea, known for its antioxidants and reputed antibacterial qualities, could also help.
All you have to do is make tea with a black tea bag, but instead of letting it steep for a few minutes, pull the bag out after a minute and press it to your closed eye. Make sure it’s not too hot before doing so. Hold it for 5 to 10 minutes for some relief and do it a couple of times a day for best results.
For a solid black tea (for drinking as well as compressing), we recommend Twinings of London English Breakfast Black Tea Bags. Not only do they make a nice brew, but they’re cheap and come in a 100-count box so you only have to buy once.
4. Over-The-Counter Pain Relief Medications
If the stye seems stable and pain is your main problem, then you can always turn to over-the-counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Not only will they offer some pain relief, they might also help with inflammation, which could affect your stye.
Just don’t be a hero here. If your stye really hurts, go talk to a doctor, if only to be sure you’re not dealing with a more severe issue.
While you could go for the brand name versions of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, Advil and Tylenol respectively, the cheap Amazon Basic versions will have the exact same effect. As always with over-the-counter medications, be sure to read and obey all the instructions.
5. Use Antibiotic Ointment, Eye Drops or Eyelid Sprays
Though it’s not clear that topical solutions, such as antibiotic eye drops, eyelid ointments and eyelid sprays, are legitimately effective, they are one possible route you can take, either through over-the-counter options or a prescription from your doctor, especially if the stye shows signs of spreading. Furthermore, with an issue this specific, there’s not really a significant difference between topical ointments and cleansers since either kind of product will both cleanse your eyelid and minimize irritation.
For something more on the topical ointment side, we recommend the OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Foam Plus. It’s designed to treat generally irritated eyelids, dry eyes and some medical conditions. Though it’s not explicitly designed to treat styes, anything that works to cleanse and soothe your eyelid could help, especially if you’re dealing with some pain.
For a great acid spray, we recommend another OCuSOFT product, the OCuSOFT HypoChlor Hypochlorous Acid Solution Spray. Some users praised the non-toxic, non-irritating spray for helping minimize styes as well as keeping them from developing. It uses hypochlorous acid to keep the bacteria in check, removes dirt and debris from the eyelid and treats minor irritations and abrasions. Just spray it on a cotton swab or pad and run it across your eyelids and eyelashes to soothe your eye and help prevent styes.
6. Avoid Contacts
Contact lenses can have bacteria in them that transfers to your eye and develops into a stye. If you’re at your wits’ end with styes and a regular wearer of contacts, try going without them for a few days to see if it helps.
7. Don’t Mess With the Stye
Aside from cleaning your eye and stye, one of the best things you can do is nothing. Don’t touch the stye, don’t put anything on it, don’t squeeze it, etc. While some of these home remedies absolutely can help, they could also make the problem worse for no apparent reason other than styes gonna stye. If the stye isn’t too painful, instead of fiddling with it, sit back and trust the process. Your body will take care of it on its own in due time.
8. Seek Medical Assistance
When in doubt, there’s no substitute for speaking to your doctor if you have any concerns about a stye. We’d bet the doctor would suggest some of these remedies, but if they don’t work, the doctor could resort to prescribing topical antibiotics, lancing and draining the stye or surgical removal in extreme cases.