10 Natural Remedies for a Sty (Stye)

| Modified on Jan 18, 2021
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Eye Sty Natural Remedies

A sty* in the eye will cause an uncomfortable swelling along the eyelid with accompanying redness. Styes are caused by an infection in the eye lash hair follicle or oil gland of the eye. Natural remedies for styes include tea compresses, castor oil, turmeric or activated charcoal.

What Causes a Sty (Stye)?

A sty is a bacterial infection. Staph is commonly the cause of a sty, though it is not the sole bacteria that will cause an eye infection.1 In addition to pain and swelling, a sty presents an immediate cosmetic issue which can be just as disconcerting. Styes will often heal on their own, though it can take up to 10 days. Fortunately natural remedies can heal a sty in as little as 24 hours or less, especially when treatment is started as soon as symptoms of a sty are first noticed.

Home Treatments for a Sty

1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile fights infection, inflammation and pain. Simply moisten a chamomile tea bag and hold it against your sty for 15 minutes. Repeat this several times through out the day. While chamomile is a gentle herb and even a popular children’s herb, if you are allergic to ragweed, avoid the use of chamomile.

2. Green Tea

Green tea bags can be used to relieve a sty as well. The tannins in tea reduce inflammation. As with the chamomile tea bag, use for 15 minutes several times a day.

3. Black Tea

A simple black tea bag often works well for a sty. Again, 15 minutes several times a day. The tannins in the tea as well as the warmth from the tea bag reduce the pain, inflammation and infection.

4. Gold Wedding Band

Wedding bands that are made with gold can be used to treat a sty. It is wise to wash and dry the wedding band before applying it to the sty so that another infection or debris is not introduced into the eye. This will not work with silicone wedding bands, though it may work with a sterling silver wedding band. Simply use the wedding band to rub the sty gently for a few minutes a couple of times each day until the sty resolves. This remedy is compatible with other natural remedies like castor oil or chamomile tea bags.

5. Coconut Oil

Many oils have anti-infective properties. Cold pressed coconut oil is one such oil.  Using a clean finger, apply coconut oil to the sty at least twice a day. To avoid getting bedding greasy, cover pillows with a towel when using this remedy at bedtime.

Use only cold processed coconut oil that smells like coconut oil to treat a sty. This oil has powerful antibacterial properties and is also soothing.

6. Castor Oil

Castor oil is commonly used in the eyes for a variety of ills, including cataracts. This healing oil will also fight a sty in many cases. Use hexane free, cold processed oil when using castor oil in or around your eyes.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric reduces inflammation and fights many bacteria, including staph, which is the cause of most styes. Turmeric can be used internally to treat a sty, or it can be used directly on the eye.

To use turmeric internally, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of turmeric to 3 ounces of whole milk or almond milk. This can be used thrice daily to fight styes or other bacterial infections. Before drinking the milk, a drop or two can be applied to the sty.

Turmeric can be used topically, alone to treat a sty. Simply mix 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric into an ounce of water and use the turmeric water as an eye wash three times a day. Make a fresh batch of eye wash each time.

8. Honey

Raw honey is sterile and antibacterial. Apply a few drops of honey to a sty twice daily. It may sting initially, but the sting passes quickly.

9. Charcoal

Activated charcoal will draw out infection from the sty. It also relieves pain and inflammation. This remedy is a great overnight treatment.

Mix ½ teaspoon activated charcoal powder with ½ teaspoon ground flax seed. Put them mixture into an empty tea bag. Thoroughly wet the tea bag and remove excess water. Apply the tea bag poultice to the closed infected eye. Cover the tea bag poultice with plastic wrap. Use a bandanna to keep the poultice and plastic wrap intact for overnight use. Usually the sty is greatly relieved by morning.

If charcoal poultices are inconvenient, charcoal eye drops can be prepared and used instead.

Mix ½ teaspoon activated charcoal into 4 ounces of pure water. Strain the charcoal water through a coffee filer. Use the resulting water, which will have tiny charcoal particles in it. Add a few drops to the affected eye twice daily. This may be the least messy and most convenient sty remedy, once the eye drops have been prepared.

10. Use Strict Hygiene

  • Wash all towels that touch your face during sty treatment in hot water with bleach or white vinegar. Wash your hands well after touching your eyes to avoid spreading infection.
  • Do not use make up that belongs to someone else.
  • If you have reoccurring stys, you will need to replace make up, especially eye make up.
  • If chronic stys are a problem, using castor oil to remove eye make up may alleviate the problem.
  • Charcoal eye drops can also be used regularly to prevent reoccurring styes.

What is the Difference between a Sty and Conjunctivitis?

A sty in an infection of an oil gland or eyelash hair follicle in the eye. Conjunctivitis in a bacterial or viral infection of the conjunctiva of the eye.

What is the Difference between a Sty and Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid, though not necessarily caused by an infection. It tends to be a more chronic problem than a sty. It is commonly associated with allergies or skin conditions like rosacea or dandruff. Some sty treatments like castor oil, charcoal poultices and chamomile tea bags may work quite nicely for blepharitis.

What is the Difference between a Sty and a Chalazion?

A sty is usually quite painful, whereas a chalazion is not generally painful. A chalazion tends to be larger than a sty and further back on the eyelid.

Many sty remedies will work equally as well for a chalazion.

Sty Cautions

While essential oils are strong antibacterials, essential oils should never be used in or around the eyes. Do not use essential oils to treat a sty.

If a sty is not responding to natural remedies or seems to be getting worse instead of better, consult a medical professional.

*Sty is spelled “sty” or “stye.” The medical term for a sty is “hordeolum.” Hordelum is Latin for barley, interestingly.

Do you have a natural remedy for styes? We would love to hear from you! Continue reading to see how our readers have creatively treated their styes with home remedies.

Sources:

1. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/ask-ophthalmologist-q/stye-staph-infection

2. https://www.aao.org


Apple Cider Vinegar

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 
  100%


Posted by Julie (Hi) on 06/04/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Note: I wanted to clarify my last post.

I've been using ACV to treat sties for years. Bent over the sink, I put a large spoon with ACV in it, up against my CLOSED eye. I'll tilt it a bit making sure I've covered entire eye. I'll hold it there as long as I can-at least a minute. Then rinse my eyes thoroughly with water afterwards. Be careful not to get in the eye because it stings like the dickens, making you literally cry! But, as soon as you flush it out with water, the sting will be gone. To my knowledge, nothing over the counter will heal those sties that fast! Within the day, my eyes feel better. Since using this method, my sty has never gone beyond a day or grown larger! And yes, I learned to use ACV from Earth Clinic. Thank you Earth Clinic, I come to your site often! You've been my faithful doctor for years!!


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Julie (Waialua, Hawaii) on 05/04/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I've been using ACV to treat sties for years. I put ACV in a large spoon, put it up to my closed eye. I hold it there for as long as I can. Then rinse my eyes with water thoroughly afterwards. Be careful not to get in the eye because it stings like the dickens, making you literally cry! But, as soon as you flush it out with water, the sting will be gone. But I'll tell you what, nothing over the counter will heal those sties that fast! Within the day, my eyes feel better. Since using this method, my sty has never gone beyond a day or grown larger! And yes, I learned to use ACV from Earth Clinic. Thank you Earth Clinic, I come to your site very often! You've been my faithful Dr. for years!!


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Lisa (Brisbane) on 04/09/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Sty:

I noticed a red rash above my eye yesterday morning and as the morning went on it got puffier & puffier (suspecting it may turn into a sty) so I put 2 Tablespoons of ACV in a cup of water and each hour bathed my eye with cotton wool and the ACV solution. It was alot bettter by nighttime. My eye was still abit puffy when I awoke this morning, so kept bathing my eye every hour for the next 5 hours and its great. Cured. Fantastic site for solutions to problems.


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Vee (Ft. Hood, Texas) on 09/11/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Apple Cider Vinegar cured my sty! I was taking it for another issue I was having, and soon after starting, I noticed that a sty that had been on my eyelid for over a year was getting smaller! I didn't use anything different so I am contributing this to the apple cider vinegar. Now it is completely gone and my eye isn't puffy anymore.


Apple Cider Vinegar, White Potato

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Ladydiana (East Windsor, Nj) on 10/14/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I had a stye for a few months. Finally, I tried apple cider vinegar heated with paper towel (did not have cotton balls). I put it on for a few minutes at a time. Then when it looked like it came to a head, lid was very white. I took a white potato and cut it and put it on my lid and directly on the stye underneath the lid. My eye oozed for a few days. It worked, I was so amazed!

You have to try the combination of the apple cidar vinegar and white potato because I tried just apple cidar vinegar and it did not go away.


Avoid Aluminum Deodorants

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
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Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 01/18/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Years ago, back in the day, I would use a roll-on, underarm deodorant before going out on a date! (We usually washed as well! ). It was quite fashionable back then. Trouble was the kick in the teeth that came along with it!!

The following day I would get a sty in one of my eyes - always the same eye but I have forgotten which one. Took me a while to join the dots as it were but I would normally NEVER get an eye sty. What was going on? Dashed uncomfortable - felt like a rock in the eye.

Someone alerted me to the fact that there was aluminium (or 'a-luminum' as you say over there) listed in the fine print on the back of said container.

I kicked the thing into touch and have never looked back as it were. Smelly dates were better than styed eyes.

Hope this major scientific discovery of mine helps some other folks as well!

Cheers from Down Under

Michael


Baby Shampoo

15 User Reviews
5 star (14) 
  93%
(1) 
  7%


Posted by Ginny (Kent) on 12/10/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Try Johnsons baby shampoo. A Dr. told me this years ago, and when one started up on my lower lid 2 days ago I started using it.

I use a cotton bud to apply it and repeat as often as I can - it really works.

Redness reduced and swelling going down already - Thank goodness.


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Ejburling (Stevenson Ranch, Ca) on 06/17/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Staphylococcus aureus, a gram positive cocci, is the bacterial species most often associated with styes. Baby shampoo works because soap is a surfactant and destroys the lipid layer of the bacterial cell wall, killing the bacteria.


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Harper (Dallas, Tx) on 06/16/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I have had a persistent, stubborn sty for just over a month now. I tried everything I could think of to help it and was very frustrated with the huge painful red bump on my upper eye. It was embarrassing. I wanted to share the steps I have done to try to heal this thing.

First, I removed my contacts completely and went to glasses for the last 2 weeks. My eyes are breathing better and just feel better in general.

Second, I began using warm washcloths multiple times a day and lightly massaging the sty.

Third, I have been taking echinacea capsules for 2 weeks now.

Fourth, I applied a drop or two of apple cider vinegar directly to the sty (daily).

Fifth, I washed my eyes gently with baby shampoo at least 2 times daily.

Sixth, I made sure I stayed hydrated with spring water.

Seventh, I tried to get extra rest when I could for my eyes.

I don't know exactly which one of these things specifically led to the turning point to start healing this problem, but I just wanted to share all of the things I could think of just in case someone else is just starting to tackle their sty. I think one important factor is to begin treating this immediately! Start right away with the warm washcloths on the sty. I didn't start immediately and it didn't go away on its on for me. I think the most important things are the following: warm washcloth with light massage on sty, wash the eye area with baby shampoo, don't keep touching the area. Only touch it when you are cleaning it or using a washcloth.

My sty is now going down and healing hopefully! Thank you Earth Clinic members for sharing your tips because you helped me a ton!


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Alina (Uk) on 12/19/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Hi from the UK. This site is amazing and I want to share my experience. I have always been plagued with styes and chalazions. For years I wore thick NHS glasses then I got contacts and first time ever got compliments on my eyes. Then the styes and more permanent chalazion came. I've had this particular one for about TEN years. V unsightly. I read this site and started using ACV. Then I bought baby shampoo on a whim. Can't hurt I thought. OMG. Within three days it's no longer visible. It's nearly gone. And it was quite big. I hated mostly kids commenting on it and my little nieces were due to visit which I why I wanted to be rid. Baby shampoo on a cotton pad just made it vanish. Thank you Earth Clinic. Thank you people of Earth Clinic. I salute you! Happy Christmas.

Replied by Sujata
(Sg)
01/08/2017
0 out of 5 stars

hi, did you apply baby baby shampoo directly on the sty or dilute it. I tried both, but the area got redder n more swollen. Am I doing something wrong?

Replied by Barbara
(Aiken, South Carolina)
01/09/2017
23 posts

Are you using a branded baby shampoo? It likely contains chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate. That could cause irritation. Major brand baby shampoo is not safe for anything.


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Teresa (Austin, TX) on 08/23/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I happened to be looking for holistic remedies for a sty that developed overnight. I have bad allergies and this is what happens. I tried the hot compress first and then applied the baby shampoo for about 2 mins and then ran hot water for about another 2 mins and I treated both eyes because the other one did not present a sty but was just as swollen. It relieved the pain instantly with some swelling left but at least I could see now. It worked within 24hrs, it was all gone.


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Sky (London, Uk) on 01/17/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I can't believe how this has worked so fast! I had one stye on lower lid that had kinda burst and was still quite big and painful. I also started feeling another one was growing on upper lid which was reaaally hurting. I came across this site at about 5:00pm, it is now 8:30pm and I can already blink again and the pain is pretty much nearly all gone. My eye is also looking pretty normal! I just can't believe it has worked so well! I have an interview soon and was really worried it wasnt going to clear up in time. I am so grateful for this site. Absolutely amazing!!


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Olglory (Amado, Az) on 07/23/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Baby shampoo for styes. When I worked as an ophthalmic tech, I saw many styes successfully treated with the use of baby shampoo. The basic technique is to use very warm compresses on the affected eye first - to open the offending glands - and then gently scrub the lashline with a clean washcloth that has been wrung out in warm water and has only a drop or two of the shampoo applied. If you can manage to use the warm compresses at least two to three times a day, that actually seems to work at least as well as the shampoo.


Baby Shampoo
Posted by Darcie (Burlington , Vt) on 04/06/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Yes, baby shampoo is very affective at alleviating styes quickly. I tried two applications- yesterday afternoon and evening, on a under-the-lower-eyelid sty. First I used a cotton swab with a drop on the end to target the sty directly. It stung slightly and my eye teared up a bit. Before bed, I washed my afflicted eye with the baby shampoo in the shower, which seemed like the gentler and better method. This morning my sty is almost gone, along with the discomfort and swelling. Remarkable! Does anyone know why this works?


Baby Shampoo
Posted by The Wife Is Always Right!! (New York, New York ) on 10/18/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Yup! It works. My husband used baby shampoo on a terrible Sty he had on his lower eye lid. He was skeptical, but used it in the shower and let it just naturally drip on to his eye ( while washing his hair ). Gone in two showers. Too bad he waited so long heeding my advice!! :)

Replied by Angela
(Cary, Nc)
07/22/2012

No, you wash the eye thoroughly inside and out for at least two minutes. Try to do this at least three times a day. It helps believe me. It will sting a bit but the relief is worth it once you start soaping it up. Be sure to wash your hands anytime you come in contact with your eye and hot compresses are a good relief as well. Good luck!



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