Can MSM Cause Acne?

Can MSM Cause Acne?

MSMYes it can, but not in a bad way. MSM is a wonderful supplement that apparently a lot of us are deficient in. I recorded a video a few months ago about MSM which I highly recommend you watch if you’re not already familiar with what’s so great about MSM and why a lot of us are deficient – Why We Aren’t Getting Enough MSM & Why It’s So Good For Our Skin!

I’m particularly interested in MSM because it’s a great beauty supplement – it’s awesome for the hair, skin and nails. It even got its own little section in my most recent eGuide, How To Clear Acne Scars, because it’s been proven to help reduce acne pigmentation scars when used either internally or topically (or ideally both).

But can MSM cause acne? The reason why I asked this question in the first place was because in my own personal supplementation I had quite a bad acne breakout not long after taking MSM on a daily basis. This breakout then quite quickly stopped, dried up and now the pigmentation scars left behind are healing rapidly.

I hadn’t actually put MSM together with the breakout (it’s good for the skin, how could it cause acne!?) until I was listening to a David Wolfe podcast a couple of days ago where he was talking about how MSM enables cells and tissues to detox. So of course whenever I hear the word detox, I straight away think of “possible healing crisis”. Upon further research I discovered that yes MSM can in fact induce an acne breakout which can be thought of more as a mini healing crisis or a purging of toxins that the MSM is clearing out.

The key to avoiding this breakout is to start very slowly, which of course requires the patience that I obviously don’t have. Unless you don’t mind a bit of purging and a bit of a temporary breakout. Starting too quickly with MSM however can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort (ie diarrhea), headaches, and a range of other general and quite minor healing crisis symptoms. So watch out for that.

Interestingly, I found quite a bit of information on the web from people experiencing anxiety, sleeplessness or the jitters when they first take MSM. Apparently this can be due to resides of drugs (such as caffeine) stored in your cells and tissue detoxing out. So as you’re detoxing it out, you’re experiencing part of what the effects were when you consumed those drugs in the first place. It trips me out thinking how long “stuff” can sit in our bodies.

If you’re new to MSM

If you’re an MSM newbie, it’s recommended that you start super slow. Begin with 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon daily and drink plenty of water with it to help flush everything out. It’s also highly recommended that you couple MSM up with Vitamin C which is needed to help healthy new cells to grow. Without enough Vitamin C, it’s a lot more difficult for your body to create and grow these new healthy cells.

Over time it’s safe to build this dosage up to around 1 teaspoon. My MSM from Sunfood Nutrition recommends to build up to 1/2 teaspoon per 100 lbs of body weight 2 times a day. I weight around 60 kgs so ideally I could be taking around 3/4 teaspoon twice a day.

I’ve been in a great routine of taking MSM every morning with the juice of 2-3 lemons mixed with at least 1 liter of water. The lemons are a great natural source of Vitamin C so I don’t need to worry about taking an extra supplement. Every now and again, I’ll top the lemonade up with a teaspoon of camu-camu which is boosting the Vitamin C content by a considerable amount. I drink this after a morning run or walk so it’s also a great way to rehydrate myself after exercise.

In my opinion I honestly feel that it’s safe to take MSM at a gradual low dose without an acne breakout. But if you do experience some kind of purging, please know that it will only be short lived and in the long term the MSM is likely to improve your skin and your scarring.

Please also follow your intuition. If you feel that the MSM in not right for you, then don’t take it. And of course if you’re unsure, ask your natural therapist.

20 comments… add one

  • bibi

    I have been taking msm powder and capsule for 2months nown I had to stop cos it gave me too much acne. I never had acne in my life. Iam worried. Pls how should I start with the msm again?

  • Thanks to you Fran. I have been taking MSM for a year now, since I had a GI series and barium leaked into my body. I then went into a healing crisis while my body tried to rid itself of the heavy metal and I lost hair. I tried biotin but it really messed up my digestive tract (the train STOPPED) I saw your website and vids and learned about how MSM can benefit me. I have to say, it has given me consistant results in hair growth, nail strength and clear skin. I will take MSM for the rest of my life. It does take a long time to see the benefits though. one needs patience lol!

  • This happened to me the other day. I didn’t put the two together. I just thought that it was odd. I started taking MSM for joint problems.

  • Donna

    several days later i am ready to mix this up – how do i measure 15 grams of msm powder? how many teaspoons does this come out to?

  • Donna

    i’m really excited about this, i just ordered a bottle of organic msm powder and look forward to trying the msm & aloe lotion!

  • question...

    fran, in the MSM & Aloe gel recipe‏ that you emailed, you said to use:
    – 100ml of pure aloe gel
    - 15g of MSM
    but do you think it would be okay if i used a little bit less of each product since i plan to use this as a facial mask like once a week?

  • Katie

    Can you just open a MSM caplet and mix the powder with your cleanser? Or does it need to be dissolved?

  • sally

    Hi, i took MSM 500mg for a few weeks now.. i notice this month i hardly got my period.. it just came for a day..n that was it! But my mood swings are soo bad..never happened before..

    and i did breakout n constantly new ones keep coming!! i feel like i am killing my body with just 500mg..

    i also have darker skin around my neck, will msm help?

  • So, I’m female, 15 yrs. old, 135 lbs, 5′10”…is it safe for someone as young as me to take MSM supplements? I am having acne problems, and also want to support my relatively weak joints, so I got some natural 1,000 mg MSM tablets…how many should I take a day if I’m new to MSM? And how should I build it up over time?

  • So, I’m female, 15 yrs. old, 135 lbs, 5’10”…is it safe for someone as young as me to take MSM supplements? I am having acne problems, and also want to support my relatively weak joints, so I got some natural 1,000 mg MSM tablets…how many should I take a day if I’m new to MSM? And how should I build it up over time?

  • Poly

    I’ve been taking 2 MSM supplements daily since that video you did. I haven’t noticed any effects at all neither psitive nor negative. No change to the acne nor to the healing.

  • I forgot to mention (since I’m sneaking time between patients to write these) that I was unfamiliar with using MSM for skin conditions… makes sense, though,since it’s essentially a sulfur-donating compound. I had tried it for anti-inflammatory properties in patients with joint pain. For that, I have had mixed results. But I’m intrigued by using it for skin and I’d like to send this article’s link to a few folks if you don’t mind.

  • I’m so glad you wrote this article, Fran, because it’s a great reminder to people that the skin isn’t just wrapping paper over our bodies… it’s a vibrant and vital organ that is constantly absorbing and expelling all kinds of substances. It’s also a reminder that sometimes things need to get (a little) worse before they get better.

  • Danielle

    Will a water detox/the addition of a daily MSM supplement cause my body to flush out the contraceptive pill? My mom doesn’t want me off it for my skin, but I’m just concerned for the side effects…is a detox a bad idea on medication if I don’t plan to get off of it any time soon? And if I drink heaps of water every single day (about 12 glasses for my 130 lbs of weight), or start adding MSM regularly, will that affect the pill in my system at all? I haven’t found any good information yet. ;( This is open to anybody who cares to answer.

    Also, I’m loving where you’re taking the layout of your blog, Fran. Can’t wait to see where it goes next. And I love your latest ebook! Thank you, thank you, thank you. (:

  • Hey Rosie, I’m not aware of skin issues being any different on African America skin. However, I do know that certain skin types can be more prone to scarring. Asian skin for example seems to be more prone to scarring than others. And yep, MSM is great for inflammation! Check out Jade’s comment below ;) I haven’t heard it causing any skin issues apart from a possible detoxing or cleansing reaction if you take too much too soon or your body has a lot to clean out :)

    tziporra_simcha- Yes that’s fair enough ..detoxing while breast feeding is not a good idea. Maybe hold off on the MSM for a bit or ask your natural therapist.

  • tziporra_simcha

    I am breastfeeding and get very nervous every time I hear the word “detox” since I’ve heard that the released toxins can be excreted in breastmilk. Have you heard this? Do you have any ideas where I might start researching this? Thanks so much!

  • I’ve been taking msm awhile and also write about my experience with the same product pictured above. I actually had NO IDEA it also enables cells and tissues to detox as well! I take it for acne scars and have seen improvement but I also take it to help deal with the pain from an inflamed ankle injury

  • Now, I am a black baby boomer that means many years of sometimes bad health practices. But as an African American I wonder if skin issues are different? Is MSM good for inflammation? Will it tend to cause any skin issues.
    Thanks, I also love they way you have laid out this site. Great idea to have the text comments in read.

  • MSM is great for your skin if you have acne.

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