**NEVER use essential oil directly on your eyelids or near your eyes.
What Causes A Stye? What Is A Stye?
Astye is a bacterial infection with abscess formation (or simply, a collection of pus, like a pimple) in the glands of the eyelid.
The meibomian glands are structures in the eyelid that create oils, called meibum, for lubricating the surface of the eye, enhancing comfort. This meibum is the very outside layer of the tears and keeps your tears from evaporating.
When the meibomian glands are blocked, this can lead to eyelid inflammation. If a meibomian gland is blocked and then becomes infected with an eyelid bump, then this is called a stye.
There are two types of styes though, and a stye of the meibomian gland is one that is considered internal: This will appear deeper inside the oil glands and will be red and inflamed without the white top.
The other type of stye is externaland typically looks like a pimple that has “come to a head,” meaning it has a white top and is ready to pop (But please don't!). This is caused by a blockage of the gland of Zeis or Moll.
The glands of Zeis and Moll service the eyelashes, secreting oil onto them, keeping them clean and moisturized.
Redness on the eyelid, especially around the bump
Pain in the eyelid and around the eye
Inflammation and irritation of the eyelid
Blurred or partially blocked and obstructed vision
Itching and soreness in the eyelid (try not to rub it)
We discuss tea tree essential oil all the time, because it has great antibacterial properties that make it helpful for a stye. Because tea tree is so strong and must be diluted before using, we always recommend using a prepared tea tree oil solution meant for use on the face. For example, Heyedrate Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash and Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover are great examples that can be used while you have a stye.
Eucalyptus leaves have been used for centuries to treat wounds and heal other skin ailments, and it can be used to fight inflammation. Just like tea tree oil, it must be diluted properly, but it can be beneficial in reducing the pain of a stye. In addition to this, it does have a strong fragrance, so some people may be sensitive to this particular oil.
Lavender has anti-inflammatory properties that make it beneficial for those with styes. Like other essential oils, this one needs to be well diluted before using but can help soothe the pain and redness associated with a stye.
We love coconut oil! First of all, make sure to use only organic, unrefined coconut oil, as this is less comedogenic than regular coconut oil (meaning it won't clog pores). This oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit those with a stye. Simply wash your hands and apply a small amount to your stye, repeating several times per day.
Castor oil is another oil that can be useful for styes, but make sure you use organic, hexane free castor oil. Just like coconut oil, it has hydrating properties and can assist in reducing inflammation. After washing your hands, apply castor oil directly to your stye and reapply as often as desired.
Clove is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it can be super beneficial for a stye. It can calm both the pain and swelling by simply being mixed with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) and applied to the stye several times per day.
Lemon is well known for its antiseptic properties and it is also antibacterial, making it great for styes. If you have the oil handy you can dilute it with a carrier oil and apply to your stye using the same method noted above.
I want to start out this section by discussing direct application of essential oils to your eyelids. We have seen many patients and read a lot of articles that discuss putting essential oils directly on the eyelids and we STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT doing this.
Remember than an essential oil is a heavily concentrated oil of a specific plant and some of these plants that we use are toxic to humans, like tea tree oil.
Also, when putting an essential oil on your eyelid, some is bound to get into the eye, which can cause burning and irritation.
With that being said, when using an essential oil close to the eye, make sure it is heavily diluted or mixed, or just purchase a commercially available mixed essential oil that is made for the part of the body that you are trying to heal (more on this later).
Tea tree essential oil has known antibacterial properties that work well to kill off microorganisms on the skin around the eyelids. It's imperative to keep your facial and eyelid skin clean, because more bacteria will only exacerbate the issue.
Eye makeup clogs all the glands inside and outside of your eyelids. When you have an active infection from a stye, LIMIT your eye makeup use ordon'twear any eye makeup at all to heal even faster.
Above, we discussed using a premixed essential oil solution instead of applying essential oil directly to the eyelid. This eye makeup remover is a great mix for moisturizing the eyelids and eyelashes, while at the same time removing all that pesky waterproof eye makeup, unclogging the glands and pores.
To use as an eye makeup remover, simply drop 3-5 drops onto a cotton round or a cotton ball and wipe gently back and forth, then up and down, alternating between the two until all eye makeup is removed.
If using as a general oil cleanser (which works great, by the way), then drop 3-5 drops onto a cotton round or cotton ball and wipe gently back and forth.
You'll want to do this at least at night if wearing eye makeup or twice per day if using as an oil cleanser, while you actively have a stye, and preferably nightly to remove eye makeup to prevent styes from recurring
We love this eye makeup remover, because it contains only 4 ingredients: organic grapeseed oil,organic jojoba oil, Vitamin E (helps with wrinkles), and tea tree essential oil.
Organic grapeseed oil helps decrease signs of aging, decreases dry skin, and decreases discoloration of your skin. Grapeseed oil also helps moisturize your skin, heal blemishes, lighten skin, tighten pores, reduce scar appearance, and removes eye makeup. Vitamin E battles free radicals and helps reduce wrinkle formation.
To use, simply lather the soapbetween wet hands and apply in circular motions to your wet face, taking care to close the eyes tightly and rinse them well afterward. The tea tree oil soapshould be used twice per day while the stye is active and can be used once to twice per day for maintenance and to prevent recurrence of styes.
We love this soap because it only contains 5 ingredients: organic green tea, organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic raw shea butter, and tea tree essential oil.
Organic Coconut Oil has anti-inflammatory effects which assist in reducing swelling. It also has antibacterial properties which are ideal for relieving and healing the stye pain, as styes are caused by bacteria.
Organic green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties which help relieve redness and pain on the skin of the eyelid area.
Styes are a result of the glands getting clogged due to excess bacteria or hardened oil glands. Using a warm compress will heat up this hardened oil which will lead to a more liquid oil and better gland expressibility.
We recommend a warm compress four times daily when you have a stye and once daily to prevent recurrent styes from returning
With all of the bacteria that naturally live on our eyelids and skin, it is so important that those who are prone to bumps on the eyelids to always keep their eyelids clean. If you suffer from eyelid irritations, bumps, or red eyelids, cleaning your eyelids and eyelashes with an effective eyelid cleanser is the best way to ensure that contaminants do not lead to difficult-to-treat eyelid issues.
A hypochlorous-based cleanser is great because it's super gentle and requires no scrubbing. If you don't like cotton balls, you can simply spray it on your closed eyelids and go. So simple!
A stye is in an area of the face that is called the "Triangle of Death," which can be just as dangerous as it sounds. Since a stye is an active bacterial infection, if you try to pop it and the infection goes in deeper, instead of expressing out (like a pimple), then it can cause a deeper infection in the eyelid, called preseptal cellulitis. Alternatively, it can cause an infection of the eye, called orbital cellulitis, or even worse, an infection in the brain, called meningitis, which can lead to death.
7. Do Not Wear Contact Lenses During an Active Infection
Contacts increase the bacteria count in your eyelids, because it is a piece of plastic in your eye disrupting the tear film. If you have a stye, not wearing contact lenses will help aid in the healing process.
8. See Your Eye Doctor
As stated above, a stye is an active infection that should be looked at. You may need an antibiotic, especially if the above options are not working for you. It is always best to get a professional opinion on what to do for your stye.
If you are allergic to tea tree oil, obviously avoid the recommendations on this list and check out other essential oils for styes or use some of the other stye hacks mentioned here.
FAQs about Styes
Will tea tree oil help a stye?
It is possible that tea tree essential oil can be beneficial in treating a stye. Tea tree has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective solution. However, care must be taken to dilute the tea tree oil properly before applying to the eyelid, as tea tree can cause the eyes to burn. We recommend using a prepared tea tree oil product meant for use on the facial skin and eyelids.
Can you put essential oils on your eyelids?
Using essential oils on your eyelids can be very beneficial in some cases, but we always recommend diluting the oil first. Use a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or use a prepared product like ourHeyedrate Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash.
How do you heal a stye naturally?
The best course of action is to avoid wearing makeup during treatment, make sure you're washing your face thoroughly during this time, apply a warm compress eye mask 2-4 times per day, and cleanse your eyelids 2-4 times per day with a hypochlorous acid cleanser. Never attempt to pop a stye, as this can spread the infection.
Are eye styes caused by stress?
There is no evidence that stress causes styes, but stress can contribute to an increase in inflammation in the body, which can be a contributor to styes.
Are there eye drops for styes?
There are a few available over-the-counter eye drops for styes on the market, however ensuring that your eyelids are kept clean is likely the best route for initial treatment. For prescription medications, see your eye doctor.
Are eye styes contagious?
While styes are not contagious, bacterial infections can be. As a precaution, make sure to never share cleaning cloths, warm compress eye masks, washcloths, or towels with another person while treating a stye.
Does a stye itch?
During healing, a stye can cause itching because of the irritation often noted with a stye. In addition, there tends to be discharge not normally present in the normal eye, and this can lead to itching.
Can you get over the counter medication for a stye?
There are available over-the-counter eye drops for styes on the market, however ensuring that your eyelids are kept clean is likely the best route for initial treatment. We recommend hypochlorous acid cleansers used 2-4 times daily.
Is Tea Tree Oil good for a stye?
Tea tree essential oil is beneficial in treating a stye. Tea tree has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective treatment. However, care must be taken to dilute the tea tree oil properly with a carrier oil before applying to the eyelid, as tea tree can cause the eyes to burn. We recommend using a prepared tea tree oil product meant for use on the facial skin and eyelids, as to avoid having to dilute.
Can you use tea tree oil on eyelids?
Tea tree essential oil can be safely used on the eyelids as long as it is diluted with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil or use a prepared product like our Heyedrate Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash.
What essential oils are good for eye infections?
There are quite a few essential oils with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, no essential oil should be put directly into the eyes.
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