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How to Prevent Sties

Updated on April 3, 2013

Sties are red, swollen, puss-filled bumps on your eyelid. If you have one, you want to get rid of it as soon as possible and I am sure that you would prefer not to have them at all. I used to have recurring sties and there is nothing more discouraging than getting rid of a sty and then having seeing another one to pop out. You already avoid touching your eyes when you have a sty because you know that they are eager to spread around. And you definitely know that you never ever pop your sty because you know that it’s just going to make everything ten times worse. So what are you going to do? Just keep suffering and hoping that one day they just disappear from your life? Just hoping isn’t going to do much but I will tell you what you can actually do to prevent sties from appearing at all.

How sties are born

In order to find out the secret of preventing sties, we have to learn what causes sties in the first place.

A sty is born when one of the secretory glands of the eyelids is infected. In other words, this means that sites are kind of like pimples in your eyes. (Because normal pimples on your face just aren’t bad enough!) Sties are caused by bacteria that live on your eyelids and which don’t normally cause any problems. The bacterium which is responsible for most cases of sties is Staphylococcus aureus and it is frequently found on the skin.

A sty is born when one of your oil glands on your eyelid is blocked by debris.

Three keys to prevent sties permanently

One of the most important things you can do to prevent sties, is to take good care of your eye hygiene. If you wear makeup, you should be very careful how you wash off your makeup. First rule is to wash it completely off every night. If you sleep with your makeup on, it may block the glands and that will help a sty to develop.

This second tip gives you a good reason to go and buy some new make-up. Sties can spread if you touch your eyes with your hands or with your mascara and/or other make-up. Bacteria can live quite a long time in warm, moist places (like your mascara tube!) so you should change your mascara often enough. Those bacteria in your mascara are just waiting to be spread again into your eyes. And since you are using your mascara on both of your eyes, sooner than you know it, you will have a sty in both of your eyes at the same time. And as you can imagine that is not something you want.And don’t forget to wash your eye lash curlers and change the pads regularly

This third tip is geared both toward men and women because good hygiene is important for both sexes. There is a way to clean your eye lash area with a baby shampoo (or with other very mild shampoo). This tip is very simple to execute and you should do it twice a day. I would recommend that you do it in the morning when you are getting ready for the day and in the evening before going to bed.


  • 3-5 drops Johnson's baby shampoo
  • 1 cup Water
  • Q-tip

Mix three to five drops of Johnson’s baby shampoo with a cup of water. Dip your Q-tip on the solution and wash the eye lashes with it. Don’t use too much pressure in order to avoid hurting your eyes. Gentle sweeping is enough. However, you should do a thorough job and wash both upper and lower lids. And remember to use separate ends on separate eyes because you are supposed to prevent sties from appearing and not give them a ride to your other eye. And that’s all there is to it. It’s this simple.

Once you get rid of your sties, you should follow these advices to make sure that they don't come back. I have found that washing your eyes with baby shampoo works very well. When I started to use this tip, I did it two times a day as I said but since my life is so busy and I want to spend as little time grooming as possible, while still looking like a human being, I started to do it less and less. And this is something I also advise you to do.

Start with two times a day. Then if sties don't come back (and they shouldn't!), you should try just once a day. Continue this for a month and if you don't get them, you should try washing your eyes every second day. Continue this until you start getting sties again and when this happens, you should wash your eyes more often again. You can also stop when you just feel that you have achieved a washing frequency that works best for you.

If you follow this advice, you should be able to prevent all future sties. I used to have frequently recurring sties and washing my eyes with baby shampoo has prevented outbreak of more sties.


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    • Lumitare profile image

      Lumitare 5 years ago from Helsinki

      Thanks for commenting. I have actually only used hot compresses and it has never crossed my mind that a cold compress could work too. I have to test that next time when I have a sty. But luckily that is very rare these days. :)

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is interesting! Thanks for the tips. I remember my cousin used to have this when we were young(er) and her mom would only used old school way of ice cold compress over her eyes, which apparently works like magic too and the sty is gone after maybe a day or two. Not sure, but I don't know much yet during those days. Again, thanks for sharing.

    • Lumitare profile image

      Lumitare 5 years ago from Helsinki

      I had sties too. They are horrible and I think that the worst part of them is that they are in your eye. How can you hide your eye unless you wear sunglasses all the time?

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I had this when I was younger. it was not a good experience. Being clean is always a good way to prevent problems.