Recently, some of my clients have had severe acne breakouts because they’d started taking biotin. If you’ve never heard of biotin, it’s a vitamin supplement to benefit the growth of skin, hair and nail. If you’re trying to grow your hair or nails or both, you’ve probably considered using a product with biotin in it, whether it’s a shampoo, liquid or a vitamin.

Can Biotin Supplements Cause Acne?

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a part of the B vitamins group. The “H” in vitamin H comes from Haar und Haut, which means hair and skin in German. It’s common in foods like egg yolks, salmon and leafy greens. Our bodies also produce biotin from our intestinal bacteria.

If you have a vitamin B5 deficiency and take biotin it can actually cause acne. This happens because there’s an imbalance of vitamins in your body. There isn’t much information online to help those who are curious about biotin, so I wanted to answer some questions about biotin for the skin.

What Does Biotin Do for the Body?

Referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, Biotin is a complex B vitamin that converts food into energy and promotes cell growth in our bodies. Without enough vitamin B5, you might experience Biotin deficiency symptoms such as hair loss or thinning hair, brittle nails and itchy or flakey skin.

Biotin is crucial in helping your body metabolize carbohydrates, fats and amino acids and is great for pregnant women to take. Biotin can even regulate blood sugar of those who have diabetes. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough biotin from your diet, eat more eggs, seafood, chicken and legumes.

Can Biotin Supplements Cause Acne?

A vitamin of the B5 complex, pantothenic acid is absorbed through the receptors of your intestines. When you take a biotin supplement, the biotin in your gut will outweigh the amount of vitamin B5 leading to a vitamin B5 deficiency. Pantothenic acid is said to regulate the barrier function of your skin’s surface layer to reduce acne. When you have a deficiency of pantothenic acid or too much biotin in your system, it can cause a mild to severe acne breakout. 

Vitamin B5 regulates the surface area of your skin, while B7 or biotin aids in the distribution of fatty acids and improves the keratin infrastructure of your skin. Working together, vitamin B5 and biotin keep your skin glowing and looking its best.

How Can I Avoid Acne and Improve my Hair or Skin?

If you’re noticing thinning hair, brittle nails or dull skin, don’t rush out and buy biotin pills. Instead, a multivitamin with biotin  can give you a boost of vitamin B5 without creating an imbalance in your system. A good rule of thumb would be to not take over 2.5mg per day, which could lead to a deficiency in vitamin B5.

Increase a Biotin-Rich Diet

You can also get more biotin naturally by changing your diet. Here is a list of biotin-rich foods:

  • Organ meats (such as liver or kidney)
  • Yeast
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Soybeans
  • Peanuts
  • Leafy greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Sweet potato

Like all supplements, biotin should be taken in moderation. If you overdo it and notice you have a mild to severe acne breakout, you may want to slow down on any biotin supplements you’re taking.

Need an acne treatment in Pittsburgh? Need help resetting your skin after a severe acne breakout?

Book your facial with me, Christina Skinner at my Eclectic Remedies Massage Studio in Pittsburgh’s Regent Square. I can easily suggest products or customized facial treatments such as an acne scar treatment or some of my Yonka products to get rid of acne and help your skin look its best.

If you have any questions about biotin for skin, message me through my Eclectic Remedies Pittsburgh Massage Studio Instagram channel and I’ll respond to you.


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