Home Eye Whiteheads on Eyelid, Lower, Upper Rims

Whiteheads on Eyelid, Lower, Upper Rims

by Dr. Joe Morales

Whiteheads on eyelids can form on the lower rim or the upper rim. The bumps can be painful, itchy and irritating depending on what the underlying cause is. Most dermatologists believe the bumps to be harmless thus posing no risk to the general health of an individual. Here are some causes and treatment options on how to get rid of the bumps on eyelids.

By definition, a whitehead is a small, oil-filled bump that can occur on any part of your body. These bumps are also known as closed comedones. In most cases, the bumps are either painful nor do their pose any health risk.

Milia can appear as whiteheads on eyelids

Milia can appear as whiteheads on eyelids

Whiteheads on the skin will form when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria in the skin become trapped in the hair follicles. A good number of the cases of whiteheads are as a result of acne. Acne is a common skin condition characterized by the appearance of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands. Acne will in most cases be accompanied with a red pimple like bumps, especially in the face. The condition is more common in teenagers and young adults.

What causes whiteheads on eyelids

Whiteheads on eyelids can be caused by an array of causes. Though the bumps are harmless, they can be annoying. Some may cause irritation of the eyelid giving the constant sensation of wanting to scratch the eyelids. Other symptoms would include swelling and inflammation of the eyelids.

As mentioned, closed comedones will appear when the hair follicles get blocked with dead skin cells, sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands) as well as with bacteria that occur naturally on the skin. In most cases, whiteheads on the skin will appear as raised, skin colored bumps. The formation of the whiteheads is triggered by the following factors:

  • Hormonal imbalance in both men and women
  • Failure to maintain proper hygiene
  • A prolonged history of sun damage
  • Overuse of certain medication
  • Overconsumption of foods rich in carbohydrates
  • Heavy skin care products
  • Genetics where offspring will often inherit different undesired skin conditions

Here are some of the possible causes of these bumps on eyelid:

1)   Milia

Also known as milk spot. Milia is the plural of milium which refers to tiny bumps that appear across a baby’s nose or cheeks. These bumps are common in newborns but can occur to anyone regardless of their age. It is believed that you cannot prevent against milia and that no treatment is required since most cases of milia clear on their own without treatment.

If the whitehead on your eyelids is caused by milia, then you need not worry. As said, milia are harmless and pose no health risk. Milia bumps can be managed and controlled at home. If however, the bumps are becoming more annoying or causing a lot of distraction, you could choose to have them removed by a dermatologist.

Removal of these bumps is fast, painless and will heal quickly for most people. Maintaining proper hygiene and using skin exfoliant might help minimize the chances of having the bumps. See you, doctor, if the whiteheads are growing large, they are becoming painful or causing also of itching and irritation on the eyelid.

2)   Chalazion

A chalazion is a cyst that occurs mostly on the eyelid as a result of blocked oil glands. This kind of bumps occurs typically in the middle of the eyelid. These bumps can either be red or white, they are painless and will gradually come on over a few weeks.

A chalazion may occur following a sty or from hardened oils blocking the gland. A chalazion is so close to a sty that most people will often confuse one for the other. The difference between the two is that, unlike a sty, chalazion are typically painless. Most cases of chalazion will heal within some wee, without medicine or with simple natural home remedies.

In rare cases, a chalazion is said to be caused by skin cancer, if the whitehead on the eyelid is caused by chalazion, then you will need to seek the help of a dermatologist. You also need to seek help if the bumps grow too large to a point that it could be blocking your vision. Most cases of chalazion will be shown by:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased or over tearing
  • An unexplained white or red bump on eyelid
  • Blurry or blocked vision

3)   Drug and food allergy

Drug or food allergy is the other possible cause of eyelid whiteheads. Inflammation is a common symptom of eyelid pimples. It is inflammation that causes the stretching of the skin which in turns causes pain. There are a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs available in drugs stores. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be of two categories, either steroid or non-steroid.

A drug or food allergy is the abnormal reaction of your immune system to a medication of the food you eat. According to mayo clinic, any medication either over-the-counter, prescription or herbal is capable of inducing a drug allergy. The allergy is, however, more likely with some medication.

Common symptoms of drug allergy are hive, rash, fever or bumps on different parts of the body including whiteheads o eyelid. Drug allergy can also cause a serious reaction such as anaphylaxis and organ failure.

4)   White bump on eyelid caused by cholesterol

Those whiteheads appearing on your eyelid could also be cholesterol bumps. Also known as xanthomas, cholesterol bumps are fatty deposits that build up under the skin. Even though the bumps are common in elderly people and those with high blood cholesterol, these bumps can affect anybody. The bumps can also affect any part of the body including on lower or upper eyelid.

Whiteheads on eyelids and around the eye

Whiteheads on eyelids and around the eye

Whitehead on the eyelid or other parts of the body can thus be a good sign of high cholesterol levels. This is however not a conclusive sign, you will need to have a physical diagnosis to confirm this, however. You will also need to see a doctor because cholesterol bumps could also be caused by a certain type of cancer, diabetes, primary biliary cirrhosis and metabolic disorders.

To treat cholesterol bumps on the eyelid, you need to identify and control the underlying condition causing the bumps. This would include such measures as lowering cholesterol levels or keeping metabolic disorders under control.

5)   Sty on eyelid causing whiteheads

The possible cause of a whitehead around the eye is a sty. A sty is an acute infection that affects the secretory glands of the eyelids. In most cases, this kind of infection will result in the formation of red bumps on the eyelid.

There are a lot of small oil glands in and on your eyelids, dirt, dead skin and oil will build up and clog these glands. This accumulation makes the glands more susceptible to bacterial growth and infection. With sty, they can occur both inside and outside of the eyelid.

When occurring inside the eyelids, they are more painful than when occurring outside.

6)   Makeup causing white bumps on the eyelid

Using expired or contaminated or shared tools to apply facial makeups could cause infection of the eyes. Makeups could also clog your pores leading to the accumulation of dirt, dead skin cells, and oil on the sebaceous glands. This is a common cause of painful and irritating skin bumps.

7)   Other courses

Other possible causes of whiteheads and other skin bumps on the skin will include the following:

  1. Seborrhea a condition characterized by excessive discharge from the small glands on the eyelids
  2. Harsh or expired facial make-ups
  • Poor duality skin care products
  1. Overuse of skin care products
  2. Hormonal imbalance and fluctuations
  3. Stress and anxiety and
  • Inflammatory disorders of the eyes

Whitehead under eyelid (lower eyelid)

Whiteheads on lower eyelid can or cannot be painful. Most will stay rather small and barely noticeable whereas others will grow, swell and become even more painful. Here are some of the common cause of this pimple like bumps:


Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid. It is a common eye condition characterized by clumping and stickiness around the eyelashes. The cause of this condition will vary depending on the type. The condition can either be acute or chronic.

Cyst on eyelid

Eyelid cyst is a common bacterial infection that occurs when a pore on the eyelid waterline or in rim become blocked and clogged. Since it is filled with pus and other content, an eyelid cyst will appear as an inflamed pimple.

Ocular rosacea

Ocular rosacea is a skin condition known to cause skin inflammation that causes redness, burning, and itching of the eyes. This skin condition is common in people with rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects the face.

The condition primarily affects adult between the ages of 30 and 50. It is also common in people who tend to blush and flush easily. Medication and good eye-care routine can help control the signs and symptoms of this condition.

Acne on eyelid

Acne is another common skin condition known to cause whiteheads, closed comedones or a pimple like bumps on the skin. Acne is a skin condition characterized by the occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin.

Whiteheads on upper eyelid rim

Just as on lower eyelids, whiteheads can also appear on upper eyelids. Below are some of the most common causes of the bumps on eyelids.

  • Use of expired makeups

Wearing hash and expired makeups could also lead to the formation of whitehead on the face and on eyelids.

  • Fatty lumps caused by xanthelasma

The whiteheads appearing on eyelids could also be caused by xanthelasma. Xanthelasma is a sharply demarcated yellowish deposit of fat underneath his skin. This accumulation is common around the eyelid.

Fatty lumps are neither harmful nor painful, they are however disfiguring, and the good news is that they can be removed.

  • a pimple on eyelid rim

A pimple like a bump appearing on the eyelid will most probably be a sty. A stye is a common eyelid bump. The most common cause of a stye is a bacterial infection of the oil glands in the eyelids. In most cases, it is round and appears close to your eyelashes.

Common symptoms of a sty are:

  1. Sensitivity to light
  2. Watery eyes
  • Scratchy feeling
  • Papillary conjunctivitis

Giant papillary conjunctivitis refers to the formation of small-sized nodules on the inside of either the lower or upper eyelid. The condition is known to lead to a foreign body sensation, persistent irritation, discharge of watery mucus and pimple like bumps.

GPC is a common complication of wearing contact lens. That explains where the condition has also be called contact lens-induced papillary conjunctivitis.

How to get rid of whiteheads on eyelids   

Whiteheads, as mentioned, are annoying but not harmful. Since most are caused by conditions that can be prevented, simple measures can thus be taken to get rid of the whiteheads on eyelids. Below are some of the measures you could take.

  1. Maintain proper hygiene, this will involve gently washing your eyes with a mild soap and lukewarm water. A facial scrub once in a while will also keep the hair follicles open. You could also choose to exfoliate your face o remove dead skin cells and other unwanted dirt and bacteria.
  2. Avoid using expired or harsh cosmetics on the eyelid, this s because eyelids skin is soft making it easier to irritate. Using harsh or expired cosmetics such as mascara could cause irritation and could result in such bumps on your eyelids.
  • Avoiding sharing cosmetic products, most people have the tendency of sharing personal effects. This is not only unhygienic but also opens your skin for possible contentious infections.
  1. Use pre-moisten eyelid cleaning pads can also be used to effectively remove oil, debris and desquamated skin from the eyelids. This is good for reducing the chances of developing the whiteheads.
  2. You should also not use cosmetic products on an infected eyelid until an infected or injured eyelid is fully healed, you should not apply any cosmetic or other kinds of make-up.

How to remove whiteheads on eyelids

To treat or remove whiteheads from eyelids, you will fast need to establish what the underlying cause of the bumps is.  When this is done, treating the underlying cause becomes the easiest thing to do. Mild cases of whiteheads can be managed and controlled at home using simple natural remedies. They are, however, some types of these pimples or bumps that will call for medical and surgical intervention.

In such case, medical and surgical methods become the quickest and the most surefire way to get rid of or remove the whiteheads. Some of the common medical intervention will include the following:

Antibiotic ointment

Oral, topical and eye drop antibiotic medication are more likely to be prescribed in cases of bacterial infection cause the bumps or resulting from the bumps. The form of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the extent of bacterial infection. Oral antibiotics are in most cases prescribed when you have had the bacterial infection for more than a week.

The most common form of antibiotic used for whiteheads is topical creams and ointment.

Surgery for large painful whiteheads on the eyelid

For large and pus-filled whitehead, surgical intervention is the easiest way to remove them. The incision needed to drain the bump will depend on the site of the bump. If the bump is inside the eyelid, then the incision s made internally, the opposite will be done when the bump occurs outside the eyelid.

Chemical Peeling

Chemical peeling is mostly used for cases of milia. The procedure can either be categorized as light, deep or medium. A light chemical peeling is used to remove the whiteheads appearing on the eyelid. This process should only be performed by a professional to reduce the chances of damaging the eye.

You need to see your doctor if:

  1. The whiteheads fail to clear within some weeks
  2. The bumps on eyelids are getting painful and larger
  • Your eye becomes sensitive and irritated
  1. Your eye starts to discharge pus or starts to bleed


For a mild case, you could try the following simple natural home remedies to remove the whiteheads and relieve the eyelid of other symptoms such as itching, pain, swelling, inflammation and the irritation caused by the bumps.

  1. A cold compress

A cold compress is a simple and natural way to get rid of whiteheads on eyelids.  When applied, a cold compress will help reduce inflammation, swelling of the eyelid and help relieve the pain that could be caused by the whiteheads.

  1. Wrap some ice cube in a  clean towel
  2. Gently hold them over the affected area for  some minutes
  • Do not hold the ice on your skin for more than 30 minutes
  1. Do this repeatedly in intervals of 1 hour
  2. Wash your face with mild soap and warm water

Gently washing your face with a mild soap and warm water will help keep your skin free from germs. Proper hygiene helps keep your hair follicles open which prevents them from clogging with dead skin cells and sebum.

Avoid harsh soap as they could lead to more irritation and itching.

  1. Apply a paste of honey

Raw organic honey is rich is medicine qualities. Honey contains anti-itching anti-inflammatory agents and antibiotic properties among others. Honey is also rich in antioxidant and humectant properties which make it a great remedy for milia on the face and on eyelids.

  1. Wash your face with a mild soap then dry it by parting with a clean face towel
  2. Using your finger gently apply the paste of honey on the infected area
  • You can also mix honey with other ingredients to make a facial scrub to exfoliate your skin
  1. Do this twice daily
  2. Sugar Scrub

You can also make a simple facial scrub by using sugar. To do so:

  1. Brew a mug of extra strength green tea
  2. Pour a considerable amount of the brewed tea in a bowl
  • Into it, add 3 tablespoons of kitchen sugar
  1. Add 2 tablespoon of honey then gently stir to mix
  2. Gently apply the resulting paste on a freshly washed face
  3. Leave the paste on for some minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water with a mild soap

Other natural remedies you could use include the following

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Soothe your eyelids with Aloe Vera
  • A baking soda paste
  • Steaming

Reference and sources

  1. How to get rid of milia: http://cosmeticscop.com/2016/08/19/how-to-get-rid-of-milia/
  2. Eyelid pimple cyst on rim: http://www.treatnheal.com/pimples/eyelid-pimple/pimple-on-eyelid-under-inside-rim-small-white-treat-eyelid-lump-cyst/
  3. Whiteheads milia: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milia/basics/definition/con-20033921
  4. How to cure a pimple on eyelid: http://medlicker.com/1140-pimples-on-eyelids#anti-inflammatory-drugs
  5. Home remedy for whiteheads: http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/askquestion/4764/cures-for-blackhead-on-eyelid-i-have-like-a-white-.html
  6. Whiteheads on eyelids: http://healthylifemed.com/whitehead-on-eyelid/

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