What a “memorable” eye stye recovery experience (includes tips to speed up recovery)

Today, I’ll share with you my long and agonizing stye recovery experience.

What’s a stye? Think of it as a big big pimple on the eyelid. If you ever have one, please do not squeeze it at all. Read through and see the day-by-day photos on how ugly the blister can get if you allow it to get more infected than it already is.

I will also share tips on how we can speed up the healing process of a stye or boil. 

Stye recovery Day 7
See my swollen eyelid?


How it all started: Emergence of a Stye on my eyelid

It started benign enough – just a tiny lump over the fold of my eyelid. But the bump was not painful or tender to the touch. 

However, it was certainly growing in size. By the third or fourth day, the lump was around 2mm or so and was starting to affect the fold of my double eyelid. That prompted me to squeeze the “pimple”, hoping to get that seed out.

But nothing came out. And I gave up. Unfortunately, things didn’t end there. What followed after the “pimple-squeezing episode” was the start of my long nightmare! 


The Pain began – How Stye affected my work and self-esteem

Day 3 – Pain on Eyelid Worsening 

By the third day since I first noticed the lump, I was feeling self-conscious as the double eyelid fold on the affected eye was starting to disappear due to the bump. As such, I was having asymmetrical eyes – one big and one small. Darn!

However, that was just the beginning, and I wasn’t even in the ugliest state then.

I headed to the pharmacy to buy Oxy Cover, hoping that the Benzoyl Peroxide 10% would heal the pimple. I also spoke to pharmacist, hoping to get stronger prescriptive medicine to speed up the process.

But she told me she didn’t have any medicine for me, and asked me to wait for the Stye to run its course (in about 10 days). 

Day 6 – Saw a doctor for Infected Eyelid

On the 6th day, I had to attend a F2F meeting and felt extremely uncomfortable being in the presence of people. Not only did I feel ugly, I was also in pain as the lump was getting quite stiff and firm by then. 

I’d lamented of the pain then, and certainly didn’t expect this pain to be considered mild as compared to what would happen over the next few days.

Stye Recovery (Day 6)
Stye on Day 6

In any case, one of my concerned colleagues who recently went through a stye surgical-draining procedure, encouraged me to see a doctor ASAP and not wait for the stye to run its course. He was telling me that I should go for surgical draining.

Should I? Read on. 


What the doctor prescribed for Stye Treatment

I heeded my colleague’s advice and went to a random clinic. The doctor asked if I was ok for her to use a needle to poke the stye.

“Well, I’m ok if you think that is the right procedure to do. But the stye is still quite firm and tender. I’m not sure if anything would drain out of it right now,” I replied. 

She agreed and said it may not be the time to poke and drain the stye yet. Instead, she gave me an acne cream – Tidact Gel 1% for topical application (twice a day).

Stye treatment

She also asked if I like an oral antibiotics that could speed up the recovery process. Of course I said yes, and was extremely hopeful that the 5-day course (10 tablets) would save the day…quickly!

That was the night when I packed my stuff for a short JB trip (see where I stayed in JB). With the medicine on hand, I was quite confident things wouldn’t get worse from the current state.

Boy, I was so wrong!

Stye treatment
Antibiotics (10 tablets)


Stye Recovery: Why it’s hard to be patient

With something so prominently displayed on the face, it was hard to be patient with the recovery of a stye. I wished it had grown on my armpit, so that it wouldn’t be seen so easily.

Even if it was on my neck, it wouldn’t be as bad as being right smacked on my face (or worse on my eyelid). 

Day 7 – A huge 3D Lump on the Eyelid

What you see below was  the milder version, after I tried to cover the red and angry bump with foundation. Still, it was ugly as hell – and I asked my partner to call me “Liu San Jie” (Chinese folk music singer) as a joke.

“Liu” means lump in Chinese.

Stye recovery Day 7
Stye (with makeup to conceal redness)

During the later part of the day, I removed my makeup and this was the bare appearance. You can see the yellowish-white thingy within the bump, can you?

Stye recovery Day 7
Stye on Day 7 (no makeup)

The eyelid was still tender. At this point, I was impatiently wondering why the 3 antibiotic tablets that I’d popped religiously weren’t reducing the swell at all. And don’t forget that I’d also applied the anti-bacteria ointment twice daily. 

Every minute felt like a year, especially when that ugly thing was right on my eyelid (which I couldn’t helped noticing every time I looked into the mirror). 

It’s called a boil! 

By then, I’d googled enough to know that the thing on my eyelid is known as a boil or abscess. A boil is a painful infection of a hair follicle caused by bacteria. It would be filled with pus which is made up of white blood cell, bacteria and skin tissue

Here’s more to read up on boil if you are curious. It was said that the boil infection would make me feel ill and tired. And I did – I couldn’t finish a group briefing to my team (on Day 6), and had to postpone it halfway through the session with much apologies.

On Day 7, I was mostly drifting in and out of sleep during car rides in Johor Bahru.

I was so tempted to pop the Boil (Stye)

When you see a white and yellowish head, wouldn’t you be tempted to poke it?

I was seriously contemplating doing that every other minute, but read from multiple sources that we should never ever attempt to squeeze, poke or express the boil on our own. That may lead to even more serious infection. 

Stye or boil
Yellowish and white pus within

Still, I was tempted to take the risk as I thought I would be very careful, sterilizing the needle with rubbing alcohol etc. I also didn’t see any difference between me pricking the style or the doctor doing so as long as care was taken to ensure a sterile environment.

What really stopped me was the inability to find a pimple needle at the pharmacy stores in JB. LOL! But I was also trying my best to contain the thought that could make things worse. It was tough!

Stye Recovery: First Session of Warm Compress

On the night of Day 7, I started a warm compress which is the recommended thing to do to speed up the recovery and promote “natural-draining”.

But after seeing the lump looking worse (and angrier) immediately after the warm compress, I hesitated and wondered if I was making things worse. 

TIP: Later on, I read that it was natural for the area to look worse immediately after a warm compress session. We should still continue to apply warm compress many times a day.


Day 8 – Not as tender, but the blister was huge! 

By Day 8, the area around the stye didn’t feel as tender. But it didn’t help that the blister didn’t subside at all. In fact, it looked like it was pleading for me to poke and drain it (again). 

I tried concealing the redness with a non-comedogenic BB cream (bottom right photo was with makeup). But nothing could hide the lump – sigh, call me Liu San Jie!

TIP: To cover the pimple or boil effectively, I only apply BB cream to the side of the boil (the red part). The part with the pus was not covered as it was already whitish in colour.

But of course, the rule is not to apply makeup at all if possible. 

Stye Recovery Day 8
Stye on Day 8

Day 9 of Stye Recovery

This was the day I started doing warm compress fervently using a teabag soaked in hot water – 3 times a day for 20 minutes per session. 

The reason why I started trusting the effectiveness of warm compress was after reading something that made logical sense. Some online article said that warm compress can help the blocked pore to unblock itself. The warm compress also brings blood supply and pus to the surface of the skin, encouraging it to open up and drain naturally.

WARM COMPRESS TIP: Pour hot water into a cleansed cup and soak a teabag within. Drain it and press the teabag over the stye.

Every few minutes, I would re-dip the teabag into the hot water to ensure that the bag remained warm throughout.


Day 10 – Finally, the Stye drained naturally

After I removed my makeup on the night of Day 10, I was surprised at the colour of my boil. It was dark and purplish (different from the red, yellow and white a few days ago). I didn’t have a photo of that but can show you how it looked like in the morning (less purplish though). 

Stye natural draining
Stye on Day 10 morning

I took a warm shower and while applying my skincare, I pressed a tissue over the blister gently. That was the greatest moment of joy as I saw spots of blood on the tissue.

Finally, the boil had burst on its own. I continued to dab the tissue and managed to collect quite many spots of blood. It’s great that I didn’t see yellowish pus – just watery blood. Wonder where the yellowish pus went to – perhaps disintegrated? 

The eye was finally a bit more natural looking, especially from the side. No more “Liu San Jie”.

Stye natural draining
Stye on Day 10 Night (after natural draining)


Day 11 – Scab & Stye Recovery

With a wound opening, it didn’t come as a surprise that the area would be harder to cover with makeup.

I didn’t mind the red dot actually, as long as the shape was no longer weirdly puffed up. 


Day 13 – Considered Recovered

The wound was still obvious, but I liked to consider this state as “recovered”. There was still a light pinkish-red bump. However, it could be easily masked up with makeup and I no longer felt self-conscious when meeting people. 

Let’s consider this as 80% recovered. 

Stye after 2 weeks
Stye Recovery – Day 13 (almost 2 weeks later)

Day 18 – Stye still noticeable to others

Almost coming to 2.5 weeks, the skin where the stye was had turned pink. I no longer cared about the stye since Day 13 as I’d gone through worse (i.e. Day 8). But I like to highlight that most people who met me would point out the wound and asked me about it.

Even my hairstylist whom I had not met for a year did the same. So even though I was no longer bothered, it didn’t mean the stye wasn’t visible by Day 18. :) I was just desensitized by then. 

Let’s see when this thing would disappear totally – the literature says a few days to two weeks for stye recovery. Mine had overstayed! It was probably due to me squeezing it and infecting the area. Sob!


Remember, don’t do this if you have a stye

Before I end this post, let me share some things you should avoid doing when you have a stye:


  • touch the area directly with your fingers
  • squeeze or pop the stye
  • wear contact lenses
  • wear eye makeup 

Do this instead…

  • apply warm compresses 3 to 4 times daily, with each lasting 15 minutes
  • make sure to keep the teabag or towel warm by dipping it constantly in warm (and clean) water
  • plan to stay indoor for next 8 to 10 days if you can (to avoid stress, embarrassment or the need to apply makeup)
  • be patient (easier said than done…I know)


Stye Recovery Photos 

Here’s a collage to let you trace the recovery path of a stye. I sincerely hope you won’t ever get it! :)

Stye Day-by-Day Recovery Photos

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4 thoughts on “What a “memorable” eye stye recovery experience (includes tips to speed up recovery)”

  1. Thank you for such a informative article. The pictures were excellent. I’m going through a similar situation and it’s so hard to be patient…..

    1. Hi Alexis, I’m sorry to hear that you are going through the same thing. Hope you’ll recover soon, and thanks for dropping a note here. :)

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