Styes are red bumps that usually form on the outside edge of the eyelid but may also develop on the inside. They are rarely a serious medical issue but are irritating and painful. Styes form when a pore becomes clogged by dead skin cells, dirt, or build-up from oil glands around the eyelids. Blocked glands allow bacteria to grow and cause inflammation. Often, simple home treatments, keeping the area clean, and avoiding rubbing the eyes can cure styes in seven to ten days. However, styes that worsen or do not improve within three days may need antibiotics.
Warm Tea Bags
Green tea contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling around the eye. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight infection. Brew a tea bag in water as if you were making tea. Remove the tea bag and allow it to cool. Once it is warm but no longer hot, place it over your eye for five to ten minutes. Use a new bag each time, and for each eye if styes are affecting both.
Avoid makeup that will come in contact with your eyes or the surrounding areas, including lotions and foundation. Cosmetics irritate the skin around the stye and may spread the infection to other parts of the eye. Also avoid wearing contact lenses until the stye has healed, and replace the lenses you were using when the infection developed.
Warm Water Compress
A warm compress is the most common stye remedy. Dip a clean cloth into hot, sterile water. Allow the compress to cool slightly and apply it to the affected area for ten to 15 minutes. You can substitute eye pads for single use. Apply up to four times a day to help draw the pus and bacteria to the surface more quickly.
Apply a Potato
Potatoes have long been used as a home remedy due to their astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to styes, the juice of the potato can contract tissue around the stye and reduce pain and swelling. Grate a potato and wrap it in a cheesecloth. Place the compress against your eye for ten to 15 minutes. You can do this two to three times a day for up to four days.
Create a soothing compress of brewed parsley leaves. Brew the parsley leaves in hot water for about 15 minutes. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and apply to the eye area. Most compresses should be applied about four times a day to get the most benefit. This is a natural remedy passed down through the ages. Although it may reduce the swelling and soreness, there’s no scientific evidence that it speeds up the healing of styes.
Aloe vera is thought to have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. It can help calm redness and inflammation of the skin around a stye. Aloe vera is available in creams and gels, or it can be taken directly from the leaf of a plant. Gently apply the gel onto the eyelid and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. You can repeat this as often as four times per day. Avoid getting aloe vera into your eyes and don’t apply it to a stye on the inner lid as it can cause eye irritation.
Baby shampoo gently cleans the area around the stye. Regular use can help reduce the chances of recurrence. Mix baby shampoo with a little warm water, then use a washcloth or dip a cotton swab into the liquid. Gently swipe the swab over the closed eyelid, and repeat every two days.
Coriander Seeds Compress
Another homemade compress can be made with coriander seeds, which contain natural anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe pain. Place 1.5 teaspoons of coriander seeds into a pan with one cup of water and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the seeds soak in the water at room temperature for another 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and allow it to cool. Once it reaches a comfortable temperature, wash around the stye. Repeat up to three times a day.
Toss Old Makeup
The best way to prevent future styes is to throw away any old eye makeup you were using before the infection became visible. It’s also a good practice to get rid of all eye makeup after three months. Develop a weekly habit of washing makeup brushes and sponges, and always remove all makeup before going to bed.