Have you ever woken up to an irritated, swollen bump on your eyelid? This painful nuisance is likely a stye – a common eye infection that can make wearing your favorite mascara seem next to impossible.
While styes may be harmless, dealing with a sore, reddened bump leaves many women wondering if they need to ditch their makeup completely during recovery. Can you still swipe on eyeliner over an infected eyelid? Is mascara off limits until the stye disappears? How long until you can wear eyeshadow again after stye swelling goes down?
This comprehensive guide tackles all your pressing questions about using eye makeup with a pesky stye. You’ll learn insider tips on what products to avoid, home treatment remedies, when it’s safe to resume your beauty routine, and more. Whether you currently have an uncomfortable stye or want to arm yourself with knowledge about this eyelid invader, read on to get the full scoop from stye symptoms to makeup do’s and don’ts. Let’s cover how to care for your eyes while showing your stye who’s boss!
What Exactly is a Stye?
A stye, also called a hordeolum, is a swollen bump that develops on the eyelid, usually near the edge of the lid. Styes are caused by blockages and infections of the oil glands along the eyelid margins.
Common symptoms include:
- Red, tender swelling on the eyelid
- Feeling like something is in your eye
- Watery, irritated eyes
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Swelling around the eyelid
Styes can be triggered by poor eye hygiene, lack of sleep, hormone changes, and rubbing the eyes excessively. Most clear up on their own within a week, but some may require treatment with antibiotic eye drops.
I still remember the first time I had a stye. I woke up one morning with my left eyelid extremely puffy and tender. There was a large, red bump right at the edge of my lid that was very painful when I blinked or touched it. My eye felt irritated, like there was something inside it. I immediately realized it was probably a stye.
While styes are not serious, having one made me realize how much I take my eyesight for granted. Simple tasks like reading, driving, and putting on makeup became challenging and uncomfortable. I had to rearrange my schedule to allow more time for letting the stye heal properly. It definitely motivated me to take better care of my eye health and hygiene going forward!
Should You Wear Mascara and Makeup With a Stye?
When you have a stye, it’s best to avoid wearing mascara and most other eye makeup until the bump and inflammation have completely gone away.
Here’s why you should skip the makeup when dealing with a stye:
- Eye makeup can transfer bacteria and germs, potentially worsening the infection.
- Rubbing and applying pressure to the eyelid from putting on cosmetics can further irritate and inflame the stye.
- Mascara and eye products can seep into the stye and cause more discomfort, redness, and swelling.
- Makeup near the eye raises the risks of spreading the infection.
It’s recommended to wait 1-2 weeks after the stye has healed before resuming your normal eye makeup routine. This allows the inflammation to fully resolve and lowers the chance of a recurrence.
When I had my stye, I stopped wearing eye makeup completely while it was healing. As much as I wanted to put on my usual swipe of liquid eyeliner and volumizing mascara, I knew it was critical to avoid any irritation around the infected area. I even switched to a more gentle face cleanser to prevent getting soap and chemicals in my eyes.
While it was frustrating to go barefaced for a couple weeks, protecting my eyes was far more important. Now that I’m stye-free again, I’m extra careful about washing makeup brushes regularly and replacing mascara every few months to avoid contaminating my eyes.
Home Remedies and Medical Treatments
While dealing with a stye:
- Use warm compresses and gentle eyelid scrubs to encourage drainage.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the stye.
- See a doctor about prescription antibiotic eye drops if symptoms persist.
- Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes to prevent spreading infection.
With proper hygiene and care, most small styes resolve within 3-4 days. Seek medical treatment promptly if your symptoms worsen or vision becomes impaired.
To treat my stye, I followed my doctor’s advice and did warm compresses multiple times a day using a clean washcloth soaked in warm water. Applying the heat helped relieve some of the pain and discomfort while also encouraging the stye to drain. I also used OTC eyedrops to lubricate and soothe my irritated eye.
Thankfully, with consistent home treatment, my stye started shrinking after about 5 days. I saw an optometrist as a precaution, but they said my eye looked like it was healing well on its own. The stye left a small lump on my eyelid for a couple weeks afterwards, so I continued warm compresses until the area was back to normal.
Can You Pop a Stye?
You should never try to pop, squeeze, or puncture a stye like a pimple. Doing so can further spread the infection to other areas of your eye and face. It can also damage the eyelid tissue and cause scarring.
While tempting, it’s crucial to let a stye drain and heal on its own. Applying warm compresses can help facilitate drainage in a safe, natural way. If the stye is not draining, see a doctor to have it properly lanced and drained under sterile conditions.
When I first noticed the stye, I debated trying to pop it to get the gunk out quickly. But after reading up on stye treatment, I realized this could make the problem much worse. I’m glad I resisted the urge to pick and squeeze, no matter how much I wanted the stye gone. Leaving it alone allowed my eye to heal properly.
Can You Wear Contact Lenses With a Stye?
It’s best to switch to eyeglasses while you have a stye until it has fully cleared up. Contact lenses can adhere to and further irritate the inflamed bump on your eyelid. They also increase risks of scratching your eye or trapping infection.
Wait at least 1-2 weeks after the stye has resolved before considering reintroducing contact lenses. Ensure your eyes feel back to normal and all irritation has subsided first. As an extra precaution, replace your contacts with a fresh pair after a stye to avoid recontamination.
I’m a daily contact lens wearer, so dealing with glasses for two weeks while my stye healed was an adjustment. But protecting my eyes and following my optometrist’s advice was crucial for full recovery. Now I’m extra vigilant about proper contact lens hygiene and disposal to avoid infections in the future.
Can You Use Eye Drops With a Stye?
Using the right medicated eye drops can be helpful for treating a stye. Sterile, single-use drops help lubricate the eye, reduce swelling and redness, and may contain antibacterial agents to fight infection. Consult your pharmacist or eye doctor about over-the-counter options.
Avoid any eye drops that contain steroids, which could worsen the stye. Be very careful not to contaminate the bottle tip when applying drops to the infected eye. Discard within 24 hours after opening to prevent spreading germs.
My doctor recommended antibiotic eye drops containing tobramycin to use along with warm compresses for my stye. Putting drops in a swollen, tender eye was challenging, but it helped clear up infection. I made sure to discard the bottle promptly after use.
Can You Wear False Eyelashes With a Stye?
Give your eyes at least 1-2 weeks to recover after the stye before considering false lashes again. Carefully clean all makeup brushes and lash tools to remove any lingering germs. It may be a good idea to get a new lash set instead of reusing old ones that could carry infection.
I had to postpone my usual lash refill appointment while I had the stye. My technician recommended letting my eyes fully heal first, which was disappointing but necessary. Instead, I focused on hydrating and caring for my natural lashes until I could safely have extensions put back on.
Can You Wear Eyeliner With a Stye?
It’s best not to apply pencil, liquid, or gel eyeliner while you have a stye. Rubbing and pressure on the infected eyelid from applying eyeliner can aggravate symptoms. Eyeliner can also harbor bacteria that could potentially spread or worsen the infection.
If you must apply basic eye makeup, stick to very gentle, natural products. Use disposable applicators and clean brushes instead of anything that directly touches the eyes. Still, going makeup-free until the stye has resolved is ideal for proper healing.
As an avid eyeliner wearer, going two weeks without my usual winged liner look was an adjustment! I swapped my gel pot eyeliner for softer pencil liners during recovery. I sharpened them frequently and never shared to avoid contamination while my eye was vulnerable.
Can You Wear Eyeshadow With a Stye?
Eyeshadow generally poses less irritation risk than eyeliner if you have a stye, since it’s typically applied above the infected eyelid area. But shadow, primers, and pigments still contain bacteria that could spread if used on the eyelids.
Stick to powder eyeshadows rather than creams, which harbor more germs. Use clean applicators and brushes, avoid sharing makeup, and wash your hands thoroughly before applying. Keep shadow away from the stye area and stop immediately if you feel any irritation.
I continued wearing neutral eyeshadow looks applied very gently around (but not on) my irritated eyelid during my stye. I switched out my cream shadows for purified mineral powders, which felt soothing on my tender eyelids. Staying away from shimmers and glitters prevented any discomfort.
Can You Wear Mascara With a Stye?
Mascara is one of the biggest makeup offenders when you have a stye. It breeds bacteria easily and applying it risks rubbing germs directly into your infected eyelid. The tiny mascara wand also makes it very difficult not to get product on or around the stye.
Skip mascara completely while dealing with a stye. The risks of worsening irritation, inflammation, and potential infection are too high. Allow the stye to fully run its course and wait 1-2 weeks after it has healed before considering reintroducing mascara into your makeup routine.
Mascara was definitely the eye makeup product I missed the most when I had my stye! A few times I debated applying just a light coat, but quickly realized it wasn’t worth the potential downsides. Instead, I embraced the natural look until my eye was totally back to normal.
Can You Wear Makeup After a Stye Has Healed?
Once your stye has fully drained and resolved, with no more redness, swelling or tenderness, it should be safe to start wearing eye makeup again. However, proceed carefully and stay alert for any irritation or recurrence of symptoms.
Follow these tips when resuming makeup after a stye:
- Allow 1-2 weeks for the stye to fully heal before applying makeup.
- Use fresh, clean brushes and replace old mascara or eyeliner.
- Avoid reusing any eye makeup that was applied before the stye developed.
- Discard eye products that seem clumpy, smelly or discolored.
- Start by wearing minimal eye makeup and gradually increase.
- Stop immediately if you experience redness, pain, or irritation.
I tested the waters about two weeks after my stye resolved by wearing a simple sweep of brown pencil eyeliner and neutral eyeshadow. When that went well for a few days with no recurring bumps, I reintroduced my favorite mascara. Thankfully my eyes tolerated my usual routine again, but I continued monitoring closely for several weeks just in case.
How Long Does a Stye Usually Last?
With proper care and hygiene, most small styes resolve on their own within 3-5 days. Some can last up to a week or slightly longer before draining fully. See a doctor promptly if:
- The stye worsens or continues to grow after 5-7 days. Antibiotic treatment may be needed.
- Symptoms like pain, swelling and redness persist beyond 7-10 days.
- Vision problems, discharge or excessive tearing develop.
- Multiple styes keep recurring in the same eye.
Larger, more deeply embedded styes may take up to 2-3 weeks to completely disappear. Warm compresses, lid massages and medicated ointments can help speed healing. Avoid any temptation to squeeze, poke or pop the stye.
From first noticing initial swelling to having my eyelid look totally normal again took about 2 weeks. The stye itself drained after around 5 days, but there was still some visible lumpiness and tenderness for another week after that. I’m thankful it resolved on its own without needing antibiotics.
Are Styes Contagious?
Styes themselves are not actually contagious. The bacteria that causes most styes is staphylococcus aureus, which normally lives on the skin’s surface without issue. Having a stye means the bacteria has gotten trapped within an eyelid oil gland and caused local infection.
However, it’s possible to spread stye-causing bacteria to others through close contact or sharing makeup and eye care products. Practicing good hygiene and not sharing personal items can help prevent transmission.
I worried about spreading my stye to my family while I had it, so I was meticulous about not sharing towels, pillows or eyedrops. I also thoroughly disinfected my makeup tools once the stye healed. Thankfully no one else developed one, but being cautious about germ transmission is always a smart idea.
Styes are a common eye condition that can be irritating and uncomfortable. It’s best to avoid wearing eye makeup, especially mascara, until the stye and eyelid inflammation have fully healed. Allowing 1-2 weeks after the stye resolves before applying makeup helps prevent reinfection and recurrence. With a little patience and proper treatment, your eyes will be back to normal in no time!
Caring for a stye taught me to appreciate my eye health and take hygiene seriously. While dealing with sensitivity and irritation was no fun, I’m glad it motivated me to learn more about proper eye care. My stye experience makes me vigilant about signs of eye infection and avoiding potential triggers like makeup contamination. Focusing on recovery instead of eye makeup allowed my stye to heal quickly and safely.