How to Get Rid of Stye: Effective Tips and Home Remedies

A stye is a small but painful bump near your eye. It looks a lot like a pimple. The cause is a bacterial infection in an oil gland of the eyelid.1 In most cases, styes will heal on their own within 7–10 days.2 With the right care and treatment at home, they can disappear in a few days.

To treat a stye, warm compresses work well. You also can use over-the-counter medications and keep your eyelids clean.2 Use a warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day.2 Coconut oil helps too. Apply it 3 to 5 times daily and wash it off after 15 minutes.3 Remember, warm compresses reduce pain and help the stye go away by itself. Use a warm, damp cloth over your eye for up to 10 minutes. Coconut oil and tea bags also offer some relief.3 Black tea can be good because it fights bacteria and lessens swelling.

Don’t try to pop your stye. It can make things worse.3 Picking at it will only cause more trouble and slow down the healing.2 If your stye is not better in two weeks, see a doctor.1 And if they keep coming back, you might have another problem. In that case, talk to a doctor about it.1 Styes that keep returning could be a sign of other eye conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Styes are typically caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. They usually heal within a week or two.
  • Warm compresses, coconut oil, and certain medications help get rid of styes.
  • Don’t pop or squeeze styes. It can make them worse.
  • If a stye doesn’t improve in two weeks or gets worse, see a doctor.
  • Keep your eyelids clean and avoid things that might irritate them. This can help prevent styes from coming back.

What is a Stye?

A stye is a painful, red bump that appears on the eyelid. This bump is often caused by a bacterial infection in an eyelid oil gland. The bacteria most at fault are Staphylococcus aureus or Staphylococcus epidermidis.24

Understanding the Causes of a Stye

Styes come from bacterial infections in the eyelid oil glands.4 Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis are usually to blame. These bacteria get into the gland, causing a bump that feels like a painful pimple.

Symptoms of a Stye

The symptoms of a stye are hard to miss. You might notice a painful bump, eyelid redness, and sometimes, tears.4 They often appear either inside or outside the eyelid. Styes can make your eye feel very sensitive and uncomfortable.

How to Get Rid of Stye

To get rid of a stye, warm compresses are very effective. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water. Wring it, so it’s only damp, and place it gently over the closed eye for 10-15 minutes. Do this 3-4 times daily to help the stye come to a head and drain.2

Warm Compresses for Stye Relief

A warm compress is a good way to treat styes. It helps open the gland and heals it faster. Use a warm compress 2 to 4 times a day for a few days. This can make a real difference.2

Using Tea Bags as a Warm Compress

Warm tea bags can also work as a compress to reduce swelling. The tea’s antibacterial properties help fight infection too.2

Cleaning the Eyelid Area

Washing the eyelid area with mild soap or baby shampoo fights off bacteria. It stops infection from spreading. Use a mix of baby shampoo and warm water to keep it clean. This can help prevent more styes and keep the eyes healthy.2

Home remedies and these tips are great for getting rid of a stye. If it’s not better in 48 hours, or if the redness and swelling spreads, see a doctor.2

Over-the-Counter Treatments for Styes

Using warm compresses helps a stye heal faster.1 Stye ointments and eye drops with antibiotic or anti-inflammatory ingredients lessen swelling and pain. They make you feel less discomfort.1 Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) help too.1 Remember to use these products only as directed. Don’t use them too much or for too long.

Stye Ointments and Eye Drops

1 Doctors may recommend antibiotics like erythromycin for styes for up to 10 days. But they do not always work.1 You can find stye ointments and eye drops at the store. They contain antibiotics or anti-inflammatory ingredients. These can reduce a stye’s swelling and pain.

Pain Relievers for Stye Discomfort

1 For stye pain, you can take ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).5 Anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Bayer (aspirin) also offer relief.

over the counter treatments for stye

Preventing Styes from Recurring

To stop styes from coming back, take good care of your eyelids and face. Use6 a mild, hypoallergenic soap or baby shampoo to cleanse your eyelids. Avoid using dirty hands to touch or rub your eyes. Stay away from things that can irritate, like makeup, contacts, and dirty products.7 This can lower your chance of getting another stye. Keep the area around your eyelids clean to stop styes from returning.

Proper Hygiene and Eyelid Care

6 Wash your hands before you touch your eyes. Clean your contacts with the right solution and take off your makeup before sleeping. This helps keep your eyelids germ-free.6 Throw away old makeup and don’t share yours or other people’s makeup or brushes. Doing this can lower your risk of getting a stye.

Avoiding Irritants and Contamination

Don’t use old cosmetics because they might cause styes. It’s best to7 get new mascara every three months to keep your eyes healthy.6 Blocked pores and putting in contacts that aren’t clean can also create styes.6 Stay away from these things to prevent styes from happening again.

When to Seek Medical Attention for a Stye

Styes often get better on their own within 7-10 days with home care.8 But, if yours doesn’t improve in 48 hours or gets worse, see a doctor right away.9

If you experience extreme pain, the redness and swelling spread, or your vision changes, seek medical help.8 A doctor might give you antibiotic ointments or have to drain the stye.9 Recurring or stubborn styes might signal a bigger health issue needing a doctor’s assessment.9

Factors Indicating the Need to See a Doctor for a StyePotential Medical Interventions
  • Stye not improving after a couple of days
  • Obstructed vision
  • Red and swollen skin around the stye
  • Fever, eye discharge, nausea, headaches, or loss of appetite
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Stye drainage
  • Steroid injections to reduce swelling

If a stye hasn’t cleared up after 10-14 days or looks infected, visit an eye doctor.8 Recurring styes hint at a possible underlying health issue that needs checking.9 Quick professional care could avoid problems and make sure the stye heals right.

when to see a doctor for stye

Natural Remedies for Stye Treatment

Aside from usual treatments, natural cures can ease stye symptoms. Putting a bit of coconut oil on the sore eyelid can cut down swelling. This is because coconut oil fights bacteria and soothes.2 You should use coconut oil 3 to 5 times a day. This routine will tamp down swelling and kill bacteria.2

Coconut Oil for Stye Relief

Washing your eyelid gently with warm water mixed with mild baby shampoo is a good idea. It will keep your eye clean without hurting the skin further.2 Using baby shampoo keeps the eye cleaner, so you’re less likely to get styes.2 These ways can work with warm compresses and medicines you can buy without a prescription to help you get better quicker.

Baby Shampoo for Gentle Cleaning

Lifestyle Adjustments for Stye Management

Adjusting your lifestyle can be a big help in managing and healing a stye. Avoid wearing contact lenses until the stye is fully gone. Contacts can keep bacteria and spread it back to the eye.10

Also, stay away from eye makeup while you have a stye. Makeup can irritate your eyelid more and make the healing slower.10 Taking a break from contacts and makeup can speed up recovery and stop the infection from spreading.

Taking a Break from Contact Lenses

Putting on contact lenses might make your stye worse and cause an infection. You should wear glasses until the stye goes away completely. This helps keep bacteria from coming back to your eye.10

Avoiding Eye Makeup During Stye Healing

Eye makeup can make the eyelid sore and block the stye from healing. It’s best not to use any makeup, like mascara or eyeshadow, until your stye is no longer there. This stops any extra pain.10

How to Get Rid of Stye: Effective Tips and Home Remedies

The best ways to get rid of a stye are using warm compresses and OTC medications. Also, keeping your eyelids clean is crucial.2 You can try home remedies like coconut oil and tea bags too. These can help ease the pain.2 But, don’t try to pop the stye. This could make things worse.2 If the stye doesn’t get better in two weeks or if it gets worse, see a doctor.

Home remedies for a stye are powerful. Use a warm compress on the eye for 2 to 4 times a day.2 Massaging the stye while using the compress can speed up healing.2 Also, putting coconut oil around your eyes a few times daily can soothe it.2

It’s key to keep your eyelids clean to stop styes. Mix mild baby shampoo with warm water. Apply it gently with a cotton swab.2 But if it doesn’t get better in 48 hours, or if it spreads, see a doctor.2

Most styes clear up in a few days with the right care.2 It’s very important not to wear contact lenses until the stye is gone.2 Contacts can hold onto bacteria. After the stye is gone, use new contacts.2

Stye Prevention Strategies

To prevent styes, keeping your eyelids clean is crucial. Use gentle soap or baby shampoo to wash them often. Also, don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands. Styes happen in one eye first and might come back again.11

Maintaining Good Eyelid Hygiene

Preventing styes means keeping your eyelids free from bacteria.2 One way is to mix some baby shampoo with warm water. Then, gently clean your eyelids using a cotton swab. This can help stop styes from happening again.2

Avoiding Contamination and Irritants

11 Touching your eyes a lot with dirty hands or using old makeup can lead to styes. Leaving makeup on while sleeping is bad too. To avoid a new stye, stay away from things like eye makeup and dirty products.11

11 People with certain health issues or poor hygiene are more likely to get styes. These issues include blepharitis, acne, or diabetes. It’s important for them to keep their eyelids and face very clean. This can prevent styes.11

Understanding the Healing Process of a Stye

Most styes go away on their own within 1-2 weeks. Without any help, they usually last about the same time.12 Styes often clear up fully in a week. In some tough cases, they might stick around for two weeks.13 Usually, a stye takes between three days and two weeks to heal, with seven days being common.13 Regardless of treatment, a stye normally lasts about a week. Using a warm compress for four 15-minute sessions daily can speed up recovery.12 Doctors don’t typically advise using antibiotic creams on styes.

Factors Affecting Healing Time

The time it takes for a stye to get better depends on many things.12 How bad the infection is and a person’s health and immune system play a role. Being on the inside or outside of the eyelid matters too.13 Health issues like blepharitis, dry eyes, and diabetes can make getting styes more likely. This shows why good eye care is so important.

12 If a stye doesn’t go away in a few days with a warm compress, or in a week without, see a doctor.13 Those who get styes often should visit an eye doctor. They might need special ointments or antibiotics.

Complications and Risk Factors for Styes

Styes are mostly harmless and go away with the right care. But, they can cause some serious issues. If a stye doesn’t get better or gets worse, it might lead to a skin infection or a bad eye infection.11 People with certain health problems, like chronic eyelid inflammation or a weak immune system, might get styes more often. Quick treatment and dealing with health issues can keep stye problems away.

14 Styes are more common in teens. But, anyone can get one.14 They usually clear up in a week, but some need more help if they stay.14 Only one eye is usually affected. The stye might turn yellow, fill with pus, and hurt when you touch it.14 It’s best for family members not to share face towels to avoid spreading them. Severe issues from styes are very rare.

11 If you often have inflamed eyelids or skin problems, you might be at higher risk. Health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, and bad habits can also increase your risk.11 Although styes aren’t caused by stress, stress can make you more likely to get an infection.

11 Styes can’t usually spread between people. But you can get one by touching an infected eye then touching your own eyes.11 Ways to avoid styes include washing your hands often, not rubbing your eyes, taking off makeup before bed, throwing away old makeup, keeping your contact lenses clean, and managing certain health issues.11 How you take care of yourself and your hygiene matters in preventing styes.


Styes are common and often not a big issue for most people. But, they can make your eye feel uncomfortable. Luckily, there are many ways to treat a stye at home or with help from a pharmacist. Using warm things on your eye, putting special creams on it, and keeping your eyelids clean can make the stye go away in about a week to ten days.14

If a stye gets worse or doesn’t get better, go see a doctor.15 Without help, a stye could turn into a more serious eyelid infection.15 Good care and the right treatments will help you get rid of styes. This way, your eyes will get better and feel normal again.

16 Things like wearing contact lenses, using old makeup, and certain health problems can make a stye more likely.16 To stop them from coming back, avoid these risks and keep your eyelids clean. Sometimes, doctors will give you medicine if the infection gets worse or doesn’t go away.14 While home remedies are a good start for treating styes, getting help from a doctor is a must if home treatments don’t work.14


What is a stye?

A stye, or hordeolum, is a red, painful bump that forms on the eyelid. It comes from a bacterial infection in an oil gland. This infection is mostly caused by Staphylococcus bacteria.

What are the symptoms of a stye?

Symptoms of a stye include a painful, swollen, and red lump on the eyelid. You might also see tearing and feel sensitive to light. They can be inside or outside the eyelid and cause discomfort.

How can I get rid of a stye using warm compresses?

The best way to treat a stye at home is with warm compresses. Soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and then put it over your eye for 10-15 minutes. Do this a few times each day. It helps the stye to open up and drain.

Can tea bags be used as a warm compress for a stye?

Using a warm tea bag as a compress is also helpful. It can reduce swelling and clean the area because tea has antibacterial properties.

How can I clean the eyelid area to help get rid of a stye?

Using a mild soap or baby shampoo to clean the eyelids is good. It stops bacteria from spreading. This can help the stye heal faster.

What over-the-counter treatments are available for styes?

There are many over-the-counter options for styes. Ointments and eye drops with antibiotics or anti-inflammatories can ease symptoms. Pain relievers like ibuprofen help with the discomfort, too.

How can I prevent styes from recurring?

To avoid styes coming back, keep your eyelids and face clean. Use gentle soap or baby shampoo to wash your eyelids. Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands. And steer clear of things that can irritate, like old makeup.

When should I seek medical attention for a stye?

If your stye doesn’t get better in 48 hours or it gets much worse, see a doctor. Go if it hurts a lot, looks very red, or if you have trouble seeing.

What natural remedies can help treat a stye?

Some natural ways to treat a stye include applying coconut oil or a warm shampoo mix. Coconut oil can reduce swelling with its antibacterial effects. A shampoo mix gently cleans your eyelid and soothes the area.

What lifestyle adjustments can help manage a stye?

Avoid using contact lenses and eye makeup until your stye is gone. They can make the problem worse. Contacts and makeup can have bacteria on them that can infect your eye again.

How long does it typically take for a stye to heal?

Home treatments usually clear up a stye in 7-10 days. But the time it takes to heal can vary. It depends on how severe it is, your health, and if it’s inside or outside the eyelid.

What are the potential complications and risk factors for styes?

Most styes go away without problems. But, if one doesn’t get better or gets worse, it could lead to cellulitis or a more severe eye infection. People with eye problems or weak immune systems might get styes more often.

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