Does Lysine for Acne Work? The Answer Might Surprise You

  • What Is Lysine?
  • Can Lysine Help Control Acne?
  • How Lysine May Benefit Your Skin?
  • How Much Lysine Do You Need?
  • 3 Effective Ways To Use Lysine For Skin
  • Does Lysine Have Any Side Effects?
  • How Often Can You Take Lysine?

What Is Lysine?

Lysine is one of the nine essential amino acids that the human body requires for growth and tissue repair. While the human body produces a few amino acids, it can’t produce lysine. Therefore, we have to consume lysine in the diet or as supplements.

It is available as L-lysine supplements, which is a biologically active compound of lysine (1). Foods like quinoa, lentils, tempeh, pumpkin seeds, soy, and pistachios are rich sources of lysine.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the medicinal use of lysine. However, it continues to be a popular remedy in alternative medicine.

If you have acne that doesn’t seem to go away no matter what you do, chances are you have come across lysine as a possible treatment for acne. Read on to know if lysine is good for acne.

Can Lysine Help Control Acne?

There is no scientific proof to support the efficacy of lysine for acne control and management. However, numerous beauty bloggers and YouTubers claim that using lysine may help with various skin problems, including acne issues.

Amino acids are crucial for maintaining cellular function. You need them for protein synthesis to support the muscles and cells. Lysine is one of the amino acids and is crucial for your overall health, and it may also benefit your skin in many ways.

How Lysine May Benefit Your Skin?

Lysine plays a vital role in boosting overall health and better skin in humans. Here are some advantages of using this essential amino acid:

1. Prevents Signs Of Aging

Lysine is the building block for collagen – a protein that provides structural support to our bones, connective tissues, skin, and muscles. Collagen plays a key role in preventing wrinkles, dry skin, and bone fractures (2). It acts as a binding agent for the skin and helps heal wounds faster.

Our bodies produce lesser amounts of collagen with age, and our skin starts to lose its firmness and elasticity. As a result, our skin becomes less capable of renewing and repairing itself, leading to the gradual appearance of wrinkles. Consumption of adequate amounts of lysine may help keep the signs of aging at bay.

2. May Promote Wound Healing

Collagen synthesis is crucial for wound healing as it provides strength to the healing tissue (3). Lysine stimulates collagen production, which may speed up the wound healing process.

3. Helps In Treating Cold Sores

Lysine is a popular alternative therapy for treating cold sores and fever blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1). The virus triggers the development of cold sores in people with a compromised immune system. It can reduce the occurrence, severity, and healing time for recurrent cold sores (4).

You may not find lysine as an ingredient in many supplements. However, it is available separately. It is not advisable to take any supplements without consulting a doctor as it may worsen your condition and lead to other health complications.

However, dietary lysine may not have a damaging impact on your health. The next section explains the amount of lysine your body may need for adequate functioning.

How Much Lysine Do You Need?

The estimated RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) for lysine is (5), (6):

  • Infants (age 3-4 months): 103 mg/kg per day
  • Children ( age 2 years): 64 mg/kg per day
  • Children (age 10-12 years): 44 mg/kg per day
  • Adults: 12 mg/kg per day

However, there is no information on the amino acid requirement for pregnant and lactating women.

Before you start taking lysine supplements, do some research to understand its implications. Consult a doctor first. Here are a few ways you can use lysine for your skin health.

3 Effective Ways To Use Lysine For Skin

1. As Part Of A Balanced Diet

What we eat has a major impact on our skin health. One of the best ways to include lysine in your diet is through food rich in this essential amino acid. Red meat, fish, and dairy are rich sources of lysine (1).

However, there is no need to worry if you avoid animal products due to health or ethical reasons. There are plenty of plant-based foods that can provide you adequate amounts of lysine. Here are a few:

Fruits And Vegetables

  • Apricots
  • Mangoes
  • Beets
  • Avocados
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • All kinds of bell peppers


  • All kinds of soy-based products like soy milk, tempeh, and tofu
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Fava beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Lima beans
  • All kinds of lentils

Nuts And Seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Pine nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hemp seeds


  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
3. Lysine Supplements

Lysine is readily available as pills and powders and as a part of herbal formulations. However, avoid self-supplementing. If you want to take a lysine supplement, please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Remember, lysine supplements aren’t subject to FDA monitoring, so consider NSF- certified suppliers if you choose to buy any.

4. Topical Lysine Ointments

Lysine creams and ointments can be used for topical application on the skin. These creams are mainly formulated to heal the symptoms of cold sores caused by the HSV-1 virus.

Applying lysine creams can speed up healing and eliminate burning, itching, tenderness, and blistering caused by cold sores.

While dietary lysine may not affect your health, an unregulated intake of lysine supplements may cause serious side effects.

Does Lysine Have Any Side Effects?

1. Allergic Reactions

Excess intake of lysine supplements can cause allergic reactions like swelling around the lips and tongue and difficulty in breathing.

2. Interactions With Medicines

Unless recommended by a doctor, you should not take lysine supplements with prescription medicines, especially antibiotics.

3. Usage During Pregnancy

Expectant mothers are advised not to take lysine as there is insufficient evidence regarding how lysine may affect pregnant women and their fetuses. Nursing mothers should also avoid taking lysine without asking their doctor.

4. Risk Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

The FDA doesn’t monitor lysine supplements. As a result, supplements formulated by unregulated manufacturers come with the risk of heavy metal contamination. Taking these contaminated supplements will adversely affect your health.

Given that the regular ingestion of lysine supplements carries the risk of negative side effects, is it safe to take lysine often? Read on to find out.

How Often Can You Take Lysine?

Do not take lysine supplements without medical supervision. If you are taking lysine under your doctor’s advice, follow their dosage and frequency guidelines religiously.

Closing Thoughts

Lysine is not prescribed medication for acne and does not have any evidence to back its efficacy. The popularity of lysine for acne can be attributed to the “it worked for me” videos and information circulating all over the social media channels. While this amino acid is essential for many vital functions in your body and skin health, acne management is definitely not one of them. Avoid taking lysine supplements or using topical lysine creams without consulting a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does lysine give you clear skin?

There is no scientific proof stating that lysine can give you clear and acne- free skin.

What is the best supplement for acne?

Never take supplements without a doctor’s supervision as an excess of specific vitamins and nutrients can affect your health.

Which vitamin is best for hormonal acne?

B vitamins and vitamin D may help manage hormonal acne only if you have a deficiency of these vitamins.

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