A pimple on eyelid can be caused by a stye, cysts and eye infections. It can appear as an eyelid cyst, white pimple or lump on eyelid. The pimple on your eye can grow on the eyelid rim, under eyelid, inside eyelid and even above or on upper eyelid. Antibiotic treatments can get rid of styes and other bacterial infections that cause the lumps, spots and bumps on eyelid as discussed below.
An eyelid bump can be a pimple, an inflamed oil gland or even a sty. For most cases, a pimple on the eyelid is called a stye or hordeolum. Once it forms on the edge of your eyelid (on the eyelash line or eyelid rim), the lump can grow on the outside or inside eyelids. A small pimple inside the eyelid can be very painful.
Eyelid pimple overview
The appearance of the lump under eyelid or above the eyelid may be slightly different depending on the cause. Like any other pimple, a bump on the eyelid appears as a small growth above, under or on the rim of the eyelid. We have discussed the various causes below. With them and throughout this post are pictures of a bump on eyelid.
What causes a bump on eyelid?
Cysts, whiteheads, styes and chalazions manifest as small lumps, bumps or pimples on and around the eyelid. A rash around your eyelids can also start as some white pimple-like bumps and grow into many white bumps on eyelid. Here are the causes of a pimple on eyelid.
1. Stye on eyelid
A stye, also called sty, occurs when the edge of the eyelid gets inflamed. It swells and forms into a small, pimple-like growth on the eyelid rim. A stye usually appears as a red bump and can form outside or inside the eyelid.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “If you have blepharitis or eye redness, you are more likely to get styes.” Other than blepharitis, these stye bumps above the eyelid are caused by a staph bacteria. The bacteria occurs naturally in the nose of everyone and can travel to the eye – internally, and cause the pimple-like growth.
Is a stye contagious? When caused by a staph infection in the eye, the bumps are contagious. However, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Styes are not contagious, but rather a local infection or inflammation of the oil-producing glands of the eyelids.”
2. Chalazion lump on eyelid
A chalazion is a small lump on eyelid. It forms as a result of a blocked oil gland. Chalazion bumps can appear on the upper and lower eyelid, or both. A “blockage in the Meibomian gland on the eyelid” can cause a pimple-like bump to form due to trapped sebum under the skin, or in the pore.
If too much sebum is produced and trapped in the gland, the oil can spread into the surrounding tissue when the gland breaks. This will cause an inflammation on the eyelid. According to the American Optometric Association, risk factors of a chalazion pimple on eyelid forming include the following:
- Eyelid and eyelash inflammation, or blepharitis
- Viral infections
- Seborrhea or eyelash dandruff
- Rosacea and acne
If you suffer from any one of these, you are more likely to get a pimple on upper eyelid or even a bump inside the eyelid.
3. Milia or small pimple on eyelid
Do you have small white bumps on eyelid? Milia cysts occur in groups under or above the eyelid. The cysts occur as a result of keratin being trapped beneath the skin surface. If the small bumps feel like hard bumps under eyes, it is because keratin is a strong protein. Keratin is typically found in nails, hair and skin tissues.
Milia spots on eyelids are harmless. Your dermatologist is likely to advise you that they will go away on their own. In babies, milia spots are quite common, but will clear in a few weeks. If, for esthetic reasons treatment is required, the options available are cryotherapy, laser removal of milia, chemical peels and dermabrasion.
4. Eyelid cyst or bump
Cysts are quite too common. They come from bacterial infections. When a pore on the eyelid waterline or rim is blocked, the buildup within the pore attracts bacteria. An eyelid cyst appears as a pimple because it is a fluid-filled sac.
Symptoms of a pimple on eyelid caused by a cyst include redness (when fresh), swelling and pain or hurting. Cysts are most likely described by patients as a white bump on eyelid or a yellow bump. This is because the bacterial activity in the growth produces pus.
- Cysts go away without treatment.
- A warm compress can help get rid of eyelid cysts fast.
- If the cyst grows into a big pimple on the eyelid rim and obstruct vision, or cause blurry vision, your doctor may pop it to drain the excess pus or fluid.
5. Ocular rosacea eyelid bump and blurred vision
People who suffer from rosacea have a higher chance of getting an eyelid pimple. Ocular rosacea is the “inflammation that causes redness, burning and itching of the eyes.” [Mayo Clinic]. The condition has a high prevalence in people who flush and blush easily. The symptoms of this include:
- Red and swollen eyelids, likely with a bump.
- Blurred vision
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes with a stinging sensation
- Tearing and feeling like there’s something in the eye
Medications and home care tips can help get rid of ocular rosacea bumps. Temporary antibiotic prescriptions such as erythromycin, doxycycline and tetracycline can help heal the bump.
6. Acne whitehead on eyelid waterline
Acne can develop almost anywhere on the skin. The eyelid too can get acne whiteheads. The cause of such eyelid pimples is when the skin pores on the eyelid rim or waterline gets clogged.
Dead skin, bacteria and oil get trapped in the pore. This accumulation and blockage causes bacterial action that leads to an infected pimple or whitehead on eyelid that erupts into a bump.
7. Makeup causes a pimple on eyelid rim
Eye makeup such as mascara, eyeshadow and eyeliners can clog pores on the eyelid rim and cause an eruption of a zit or bump. Health Line Networks lists makeup as one of the causes of external eyelid styes.
Other than clogging the pores above and under eyelids, makeup can carry bacteria that can cause infections on the eyelid. It is important to practice proper eyelid hygiene in order to prevent styes. Wash off makeup before going to bed. Also, try to wear makeup for short periods only.
8. Pimple inside eyelid from contacts or giant papillary conjunctivitis
A bump inside eyelids due to contact lenses is called giant papillary conjunctivitis. They occur as small bumps on the inner lining of the eyelid, also called the eyelid waterline. Wearing contact lenses can cause chronic irritation that leads to bumps that grow big.
- Allergic reactions to chemicals that are found in contact lens solutions can cause the bumps or papillae to form.
- Ill-fitting contact lenses can cause friction and irritation as well.
Usually, additional symptoms may occur, including itchy and swollen eyes, large bumps, runny eyes or eyes that won’t stop watering etc.
9. STDs, Herpes and chlamydia
Though rare, some STDs can cause “Red, brown, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids.” [About.com – Pedriatics]. These include chlamydia and HIV. Chlamydia of the eye may manifest after about a week, with symptoms including a pimple on eyelid or a bump inside your eyelid that grows over time.
Another STD that causes eyelid bumps is eye herpes or HSV keratitis. Sore-like bumps can form on the eyelid skin and cause pain, blurred vision and redness. Eye herpes should be treated by a doctor and not at home as it usually causes complications.
10. Xanthoma or fatty lump
Xanthoma, also called xanthelasma is a lipid disorder that causes a yellowish, firm nodule, papule, bump or plaque on the skin. According to Skin Site, xanthomas form on both eye lids and feel soft. They are yellow bumps on eyelids because of the accumulation of cholesterol or lipid.
People with xanthoma bumps are highly likely to suffer from common lipid metabolism disorders such as pancreatic and coronary artery heard disease.
A papilloma is a benign tumor or growth on the skin. It appears as a pimple on eyelid and is prevalent in the elderly. Papilloma bumps on eyelid are painless and may look like warts or skin tags. Unless it starts to obstruct your vision, your doctor is likely to recommend that the eyelid tumor be left undisturbed. Surgical removal may be recommended in case it is an esthetic problem, or causes poor vision.
White pimple on eyelid
A white pimple on eyelid is a sign that the pimple is getting infected. It is likely to appear as yellow, grayish or white spot on eyelid due to the accumulation of pus cells inside the cyst pocket. Any of the 11 causes above can produce white dots, pimples and bumps on the lower or upper eyelid.
When infected, white eyelid pimples or bumps can be painful. They can also grow into larger cysts, causing all sorts of discomfort. The surrounding tissues of the eye can also get infected with the bacteria if proper care and treatment is not given.
When on the eyelid crease, a pimple can make it painful to blink. Dermatologists often attempt to get rid of a white eyelid pimple or bump by draining it first. Antibiotic treatments may also be given to treat and prevent the spread of the bacteria. See more on yellow and white bumps on eyelids.
Lump or pimple under eyelid
Sties or any other forms of lumps can form under the eyelid. The lower eyelid is usually slightly smaller than the upper eyelid. Depending on the size, a pimple under the eyelid can appear as a red swelling or a big bump.
Blepharitis, stye pimple on lower eyelid and sometimes milia spots can cause either a tender or hard painful lump under the eyelid. Chronic acne and eye lid boils can also be the reason for the lump below the eyelid. Here’s a picture showing a red bump under the eyelid.
Painful pimple inside eyelid
The most painful type of stye or spot is a pimple inside the eyelid. It can cause your eyes to tear without stopping. With this kind of symptom, you are likely to feel like there’s an object in your eye. The pain usually comes from swelling and irritation. If you have a bump inside the eyelid:
- Avoid squeezing it as if you want to pop it and drain the pus of fluid in it. This will cause further irritation, and can spread the infection in your eye.
- Avoid scratching your eyes. This can cause the pimple to burst. It will also cause red, painful eyes.
- If the pain is unbearable, you can soothe the painful pimple inside the eyelid with a cold compress applied to a closed eye. Keep the pressure light.
Pimple on upper eyelid or top lid
The upper eyelid is prone to makeup. Most women who use eye makeup apply eyeliner, mascara and eyeshadow. Eyeshadows are applied on the top eyelid. When makeup stays on the upper lid for a long time, it clogs your pores and cause buildup of debris, sebum and sweat.
Clogged pores due to excess makeup soon erupt into a pimple on upper eyelids. If you suspect that this is the actual cause, try to remove makeup before going to bed. Cleanse the skin under and above the eye to help the skin breathe and heal on its own.
How to Get Rid of a Pimple on Eyelid
Eyelid bumps and pimples usually go away without any kind of treatment. In some cases, treatment may be required, especially if the abscess is caused by bacterial invasion. You can get rid of eyelid pimples and bumps fast with treatments and some home remedies discussed below.
Treatments and medications
Treatments range from antibiotic medications to anti-allergens. The kind of treatment your doctor will prescribe to get rid of a stye on eyelid will depend on the cause. Antibiotics, for example, are used to treat pimples, zits or boils caused by bacterial infections in the eye.
If there is need to remove the bump, surgical excision is the most appropriate form of treatment. Puncturing and draining are also possible ways to treat the bumps, especially if they are swollen and filled with pus, fluid or blood. If there is swelling, anti-inflammatory steroid injections may be given to reduce the swelling.
Antibiotic ointment for eyelid pimples from styes
Normally, a sty goes away on its own. In case the stye persists, your doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotic eye drops are the most likely treatment you doctor will advise. Another antibiotic option is a topical cream or ointment that you will apply on your eyelid to get rid of the bumps.
Stye infections can sometimes persist and spread around the eyelid. Antibiotic tablets or pills may be preferred to topical creams and ointments.
Surgery to remove eyelid bump
Another way to remove a lump on eyelid is through surgery. Surgical treatment is a viable option to consider.
A small cut or incision is made on the bump to drain the pus. This will speed up the healing process and help relieve pain as well as swelling on the cyst. Pain relieving medications are advised to help relieve a painful pimple on the eyelid.
Home remedies for pimples on eyelid
Another way to get rid of an eyelid lump is using natural home remedies and care. It is important not to try and pop the pimple. Swollen eyelids and swollen bumps can be painful if pressure is applied on them. Here’s how to get rid of an eyelid pimple with home remedies.
a) Warm compress
A warm compress can treat a stye or tender pimple on the rim of your eyelid. It will increase the circulation of blood on the area around the eye, above the eyebrow and on the lower eyelid. This will make it heal faster.
- Make a warm compress using a flannel or a cloth with warm water.
- Apply the warm compress to the eyelid for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat this application 4 times a day for a few days to facilitate healing.
Warm compress remedy helps the stye to drain the pus quickly and heal faster. If you are treating an eyelid pimple from chalazions using the warm compress remedy, the warmth will help soften the oil that has hardened in the ducts. Once the oil drains, the pimple inside eyelid will go away faster.
b) Baby shampoo cure
If you have a stye, a tear-free baby shampoo can help get rid of the stye bump fast. It will also help prevent other eruptions.
- Mix your tear-free baby shampoo with warm water.
- Dip a cotton swab in the mixture.
- Wipe your eyelids off using the cotton swab.
- Repeat this daily to prevent pimples on the eyelid rim, under and inside the eyelid.
c) Green tea bag remedy
Another home remedy for styes is using a green tea bag as a warm compress. It works as a good natural antibiotic. It can prevent and cure many bacterial as well as fungal infections on the skin around eyes. It can also relieve swelling and make the eye heal faster.
- Dip a teabag into a mug of boiled water.
- Allow the tea to seep for a few minutes.
- Allow the tea bag time to cool to a temperature that is comfortable to place on your eye.
- Close your eye and place the soaked tea bag over it for about 10 minutes.
- Do this once a day.
If you are treating both eyes using this remedy, use a fresh tea bag for each eye. You can also try over-the-counter pain killers if your eye lid pimple is painful. Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen are some of the pain relievers you can use.
When to see a doctor
While most eyelid pimples go away on their own, it is important not to ignore any signs and symptoms. Emergency eye situations need immediate attention of the doctor or ophthalmologist. Here’s when to see a doctor.
1. Eyelid pimple won’t go away for months or weeks
Bumps that keeps coming back on the eye can mean a recurring infection. If you notice an eyelash line pimple that won’t go away for 2 weeks or more, or for several months, have a doctor look at it and provide treatment.
Bumps that recur all the time can be a result of acne bouts, frequent eye infections and warts. Skin tags too can cause dark bumps on eyelids and may need to be surgically removed.
2. Eyelid growth getting bigger
Bumps around eyelids appearing as big cysts may be simple swollen pimples, zits and boils. However, some of them can keep growing bigger. When they become large, not only will they be painful but they’ll also cause blurry vision or obstruct you from seeing properly.
Visit your doctor if you are unable to see well due to a big pimple in the eye. Cysts can be drained by your dermatologist to relieve pressure on the eye and allow proper or clear vision.
3. Severe itchy spot on eyelid
The appearance of a pimple on eyelids is likely to be a sign of an infection. Eye infections, such as pink eye, can cause the eyes to be itchy and painful.
Itching can worsen the pain in your eye. It can even be worse in babies or infants. In most cases, itchy pimples on the eyelids are caused by allergic reactions. The irritation may be pollen, contact lenses or even a food allergy. See a doctor immediately if you have itchy eyelids with bumps.
4. Eye discharge, pus or bleeding
Any kind of discharge from the eye can be an alarming sign, except for when your eyes are just tearing. Thick and opaque discharge from the eye is a sure sign of an infection.
A bleeding pimple on eyelid is likely to occur when you pop it. It may come with unbearable pain. Other than the bleeding, pus discharge can also mean a broken cyst or a more severe infection. See a doctor immediately.
Sources and references
- S. National Library of Medicine: Eyelid Bump Causes and Treatment
- American Academy of Ophthalmology: Are styes in the eye contagious?
- Mayo Clinic: Sty Treatments and Drugs
- American Optometric Association: Chalazion causes and treatment
- Patient: What are milia and what do they look like?
- ZocDoc: How do whiteheads and stys differ?
- Mayo Clinic: Ocular rosacea symptoms
- MedicineNet: Herpes of the Eye
- Summit Medical Group: EYE IRRITATION: GIANT PAPILLARY CONJUNCTIVITIS
- Eye Health Web: Eye Discharge — Causes, Symptoms, and Relief