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Does wearing eye makeup cause styes?

Beth inquires: I know this isn’t a question related to a specific product, but I just have to ask. I keep getting a stye in the same spot on my eyelid, and I am scared to go to the doctor because I don’t want them to tell me to stop wearing makeup! I know, that is terrible. But I wash my makeup brushes regularly, I change my mascara every 3 months, I don’t do the same for my eyeshadows or eyeliners, however. I always get all of my makeup off before I go to bed. I am just wondering if there is any evidence of makeup causing styes? It seems strange that it would always be in the same spot if it were something in my makeup, wouldn’t it get on the other eye as well? Thanks for any guidance you can provide, I really love your blog and respect your science.

The Right Brain responds:

When Beth first posed this question, we urged her to overcome her fear and check with her doctor. That’s because we are cosmetic scientists, NOT medical professionals and we would never want anyone to seek our advice in place of seeking help from their physician.

Thankfully Beth took our advice and asked a dermatologist. Even better, she was kind enough to write back and tell us what advice the doctor gave her. So, we thought we’d share her email with the rest of Beauty Brains community in case you ever have similar problems. Here’s what she said:

Hi Beauty Brains, I just thought you might like to know, that I did check with my dermatologist. She said some people are just prone to styes, and that it has absolutely nothing to do with makeup or products or anything. It’s just a “shell” that keeps filling and draining. If you really get them a lot, sometimes an ophthalmologist can remove the shell through surgery, but it can cause scarring. Just a hot compress is all you should use. Anyway, thanks for your reply, thought this might help if you get this question again!

Thank YOU Beth, for taking your time to share your learnings with the rest of the Beauty Brains community. It’s people like you that make doing this blog worth while. And we’re relieved to hear that you don’t have to worry about giving up your favorite eyeshadow! If you want to learn more, here’s a good article from Medline on the causes of styes.

Have you ever had a stye on your eye? Have you ever felt like you’re living in a pig sty? No? Well, um, have you ever watched a Julia Stiles movie? Close enough!

Be like Beth and leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Mandy February 13, 2014, 8:58 pm

    For what it’s worth, there seems to be more than one opinion on this subject. I noticed I was getting styes all the time. So I went to my doctor and he confirmed that some people are just more prone to them. But he also said that wearing eye make up can exacerbate the problem. He suggested I stop wearing eye makeup for a while and see if it made a difference. I took his advice and my styes virtually vanished. I get one only about two or three times a year now. So I would say there can be a definite correlation. (Btw, I was using high quality eye makeup when I was getting the styes, so that doesn’t necessarily matter.) Anyway, hope this is helpful.

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