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How Biotin Causes Acne & How to Avoid It

Biotin is a vitamin that can be found in a variety of foods such as eggs, salmon, avocados, and almonds. Biotin can also be taken as a supplement to aid in the growth of new hair, skin, and nails. 

Some people, however, believe that biotin may be a contributing factor to acne breakouts because it is associated with the production of sebum oil in the skin glands. 

Before reaching a conclusion on whether or not biotin causes acne, we will investigate both sides of the argument in this blog post.

The Connection Between Acne & Biotin

What Is Biotin & What Does It Do?

Biotin is a B vitamin that plays a vital role in skin health. It helps break down fats in your body which are then used to produce healthy skin cells. It also helps synthesize fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates. However, it can also have a significant adverse effect on acne. 

For years, biotin has been known to cause hair loss in those who take it. To add to this, it is also known to cause acne-like skin eruptions. The effect of biotin on the body system depends mainly on how much you take and for what purpose it will be used.

However, taking too little has no major side effects except that your hair growth may not occur as expected or desired.

Why Does Biotin Cause Acne?

Biotin can increase sebum production. Excess oil on the skin is one of the leading causes of acne breakouts, and if you are taking a supplement that increases this, it is likely to trigger more problems with your skin and other health issues such as hair loss or brittle nails. 

Biotin can also cause side effects such as liver damage or anemia, which need to be considered long-term. If you are taking medication while pregnant, this could lead to severe complications with your unborn baby too.

Does Biotin Have Any Benefits?

Biotin is used in combination with other dietary supplements to treat certain skin conditions. Some people take biotin pills because they are thought to help promote overall health. However, there is no scientific evidence that it has any benefits when taken by mouth. 

Therefore, biotin supplementation should not be started without consulting a doctor due to its potential risks and side effects. If you have diabetes or an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), or HIV/AIDS, talk to your doctor before taking biotin supplements. 

The same goes if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and taking too much biotin. Taking too much biotin can cause a lot of side effects. 

This includes skin rashes, acne, and hair loss. All of this can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. A few of the risks involved in taking too much biotin are:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, gas, or upset stomach
  • Tingling or numbness in hands, feet, and lips.

These symptoms usually only happen when a person takes too much biotin at once. So if they continue to take the same dosage of biotin daily, these side effects should not keep appearing. 

However, new ones may develop over time if you are taking way more than what your body needs for optimal health benefits. 

In general, people who have taken high doses of around 20mg every day have developed some kind of side effect that can be serious enough to require medical attention.

The Safe Dosage For Adults

If you feel that taking biotin supplements is right for you, consult your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage. For people who want to grow their hair or strengthen it, biotin is usually taken in doses of around 3000-5000 mcg per day (micrograms). 

This should be divided into three separate intakes throughout the whole day. For example, taking one dose every morning with breakfast would ensure that enough of this vitamin gets distributed throughout the body and can absorb properly before another intake 20 hours later. 

The same method should apply when looking at increasing nail strength as well. However, if you feel like your skin could benefit from some extra nutrients – take a 5000mcg supplement twice daily, once after breakfast and then again around dinner time.

Takeaway

Although biotin supplementation can cause acne it is important for many bodily functions. Biotin is essential for the production of collagen which many people take supplements in the first place.

Biotin supplements can cause acne, so to prevent this, it is recommended that one only take biotin under the supervision of a dermatologist. Discuss what to do if you have already been taking biotin and breakouts develop. 

If a breakout has recently begun, stop all use immediately and see a doctor as soon as possible. 

If acne started about two weeks after beginning supplementation with biotin, this could be due to the supplement itself or an underlying medical condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The latter may require treatment by other means than simply stopping the supplemental intake of B vitamins.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent breakouts from biotin?

Biotin has been known to cause acne in some people. The best way to prevent breakouts is by watching the number of biotin supplements you take per day and how often you are taking them. Make sure not to increase your intake too rapidly, as this can also result in an outbreak.

What causes hormonal imbalances?

The most common reason behind hormone imbalance growths is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This condition leads women with surplus levels of male hormones, which results in hair loss and oily skin, among other issues like weight gain.

What vitamins can cause acne?

Several vitamins such as vitamin A and C can cause dry skin, leading to acne. Excessive amounts of zinc can also lead to breakouts.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook! I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health. I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on. This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it. As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”. After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts. In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy. Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself. After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅 While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently. To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.


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