l-theanine, the most abundant free amino acid in tea, has been documented to possess many different bioactive properties through oral or intragastrical delivery. However, little is known about the effect of topical delivery of l-theanine on acute inflammation. In the present study, by using 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA, 2.5 μg/ear)-induced ear edema model in mice, we first found that single-dose local pretreatment of l-theanine 30 min before TPA time- and dose-dependently suppressed the increases in both skin thickness and weight. Subsequently l-theanine ameliorated TPA-induced erythema, vascular permeability increase, epidermal and dermal hyperplasia, neutrophil infiltration and activation via downregulating the expression of PECAM-1 (a platelet endothelial adhesion molecule-1) in blood vessels and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNF-α, and mediator cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is mainly expressed in neutrophils. It highlighted the potential of l-theanine as a locally administrable therapeutic agent for acute cutaneous inflammation.