Lube 101 Definitions

Xanthoparmelia Scabrosa

A type of lichen. Lichens consist of fungi and algae growing together symbiotically; xanthoparmelia is a specific type of lichen commonly found on the United States’ mid-eastern coast.

Because it is a vasodilator (a substance that promotes blood flow by expanding blood vessels), xanthoparmelia is included in some sexual health supplements. Manufacturers often claim that this ingredient improves sensation or enhances arousal. It has also been promoted as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, there is limited clinical evidence supporting these uses.

Xanthoparmelia seems safe in small amounts, but it may be dangerous in large amounts. It is not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.


A polyalcohol found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. It is naturally sweet, but unlike sugar and some artificial sweeteners, it actively fights against infection. Some studies suggest that xylitol could help to prevent yeast infections when included in personal lubricants. However, more research is necessary to verify this claim.

Xylitol is safe for diabetics, and it is commonly used as a sweetener for medicines, chewing gums, and in various other applications. Extremely high doses of xylitol can cause some side effects, including bloating, gas, and other short-term intestinal issues.

Xanthan Gum

A common additive, created by fermenting glucose with Xanthomonas campestris, a species of bacteria. Manufacturers sometimes refer to xanthan gum as simply xanthan.

Xanthan gum is often used in personal lubricant formulas as a thickening agent. It can cause topical irritation and other minor symptoms for people with corn or wheat allergies. However, small amounts of xanthan gum are typically safe; there is no evidence to suggest that xanthan gum increases users’ risks of yeast infections or other common bacterial/fungal health issues.


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Lysine / L-Lysine

An amino acid that may reduce the likelihood of herpes simplex outbreaks. Some lubricants include l-lysine for this reason.

L-lysine is found naturally in soybeans, lentils, and other popular foods, and it is an important building block for proteins. It may also have beneficial effects on skin health, although there is limited research to support this use.

People with herpes are much more likely to transmit the virus during outbreaks, and l-lysine may help to control the spread of the disease. However, it is important to note that l-lysine does not provide complete protection against genital or oral herpes, particularly during an outbreak; condoms and dental dams are the best way to limit the spread of the herpes simplex virus, and products with l-lysine should only be used as a secondary form of protection.

Lube 101 Definitions