Have a Stye? Here’s How You Can Use Makeup…Safely

If you’ve developed a stye, you may be wondering if you can wear mascara. The general answer is no but there are a few things you need to consider.

Main Takeaways

  • You should avoid wearing mascara until your stye clears up
  • Mascara can cause even further irritation which could worsen the condition
  • Use non-comedogenic products if you must wear makeup
  • Remove makeup at night
  • Avoid cross-contamination and sharing makeup with others

Can I Wear Mascara With A Stye?

If you have a stye, you should avoid wearing mascara or any other eye makeup. Mascara can actually be part of the reason that you have a stye.

Bacteria can build up in the mascara and when it is applied, your eye is exposed to the bacteria. If you continue using the product, further damage could be caused.

It is also a good idea to check the expiration date of your mascara as out-of-date products can result in infection.

Alternative solutions to mascara include vaseline or you can get a lash tint or a lash lift.

What Is A Stye?

A stye is a painful lump that can form on the edge of your eyelid or inside it. Often filled with pus, they are caused by inflammation or infection of a skin gland or follicle.

They may also be a result of a blockage of oil in a meibomian gland. These are the glands that keep the eyes lubricated.

Blepharitis is another cause of styes, which makes the eyelids at the base of your eyelashes swollen and red.

Some symptoms associated with a stye include:

  • Warmth and swelling along the eyelid
  • Painful lump on the eyelid
  • Eye feeling gritty
  • Tearing more than usual
  • Eye feeling sensitive to light

What Causes A Stye?

The most common way for bacteria to get into your eye and result in infection is by rubbing your eye.

There are different ways this can happen:

  • Hay fever and other allergies
  • Contaminated eye makeup
  • Leaving makeup on overnight
  • Certain skin conditions like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis
  • Being overtired
  • Some medical conditions such as diabetes
  • Air pollution

How To Wear Makeup With A Stye

woman covering her eye in front of blue background

If you decide to forgo the advice about not wearing eye makeup when you have a stye, then there are precautions you can take.

Firstly, it is important that you don’t just return to using the same makeup as before as this could potentially be contaminated with bacteria.

Using makeup that is non-comedogenic will help prevent clogging pores further. Also, avoid wearing makeup with glitter as the larger particles could cause further irritation.

How To Prevent A Stye

Styes are sneaky little devils and can be hard to prevent. But there are a few precautions you can take to try to avoid them:

Remove Makeup At Night

Be sure to remove makeup at night. Leaving eye makeup on at night can result in a build-up of bacteria.

Avoid Sharing makeup

You should try to avoid sharing eye makeup with anyone. Any stye-inducing bacteria they may have will be transferred to the makeup and applicators and could result in cross-contamination.

In other words- they could give you a stye!

Adhere To Expiration Dates

Always adhere to any expiration dates on mascara packaging and don’t use a product that has passed its expiry date.

As a rule of thumb, mascara should be replaced with a new product every three months to avoid any nasties.

Avoid Cross Contamination

Try to avoid cross-contamination of bacteria by not sharing sheets, towels, or clothes with someone who has a stye.

Practise Good Hygiene

Wash hands often and thoroughly. This will help reduce the number of bacteria on your hands and help reduce the spread of infection.

How To Treat A Stye

woman covering her eye

There are a few things you can do to manage and treat a stye:

Keep The Area Clean

Keep the eye area clean using a gentle formula. Baby bath wash is a good product to use for this. And always gently pat the area dry- never rub.

 A Warm Compress

A warm compress can be used to give you some relief. Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out, then hold it gently against the infected area. Do this a few times a day.

A tea bag could also be used in this way. Just dip it in the warm water, squeeze off the excess water and hold it to, or place it on the infected area.

Avoid Wearing Contacts

Avoid wearing contact lenses until your stye has healed as this can cause further irritation.

Don’t Be Tempted To Squeeze

Although it might be tempting, it is strongly advised to avoid trying to squeeze the stye to remove the pus. In fact, squeezing your stye can push the infection further into your eye and cause additional damage.

See A Pharmacist

See your pharmacist or doctor. They may be able to prescribe an antibiotic ointment which could help the healing process.

How Long After A Stye Can I Wear Mascara?

As soon as the stye is gone, you can start wearing mascara again. Just make sure you are not using the same makeup you used before the stye.

How Do I Know When A Stye Is Healed?

You will know the stye is on the road to recovery when you no longer feel the discomfort or pain. The stye has likely popped giving relief from the pressure.

How Long Does A stye Last?

A stye tends to last anything from 1 to 2 weeks until it heals on its own.

 However, treatment makes it possible to get rid of a stye in around 2 to 4 days.

What is the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

While a stye is a small lump that causes pain, a chalazion is often a larger bump and less painful.

A stye is caused by bacteria entering the eye whereas a chalazion is caused by a clogged oil gland.

Does eyeshadow cause styes?

Yes, eyeshadow, just like mascara, can cause styes.

It is important to keep them bacteria-free by keeping brushes clean and not sharing makeup. You should also avoid using the product if it has passed its expiry date.

Can I Wear An Eyepatch With A Stye?

Yes, it might be beneficial to wear an eyepatch with a stye.

Wearing an eyepatch when you have a stye can be a good idea, especially at night as it prevents you from rubbing the infected area.

The advice underpinning styes appears to be that mascara should be avoided when you have a stye.

This will give the stye a chance to heal properly and let you get back to enjoying wearing eye makeup (that is clean and bacteria-free!) again.

So, Can You Wear Mascara With A Stye?

The overarching research seems to suggest that eye makeup of any kind, including mascara, should be avoided when you have a stye. This is because the bacteria that caused the stye may still be lingering on your makeup. To apply the makeup would be to risk another stye.