What Is the Connection between Biotin and Acne?

Biotin is rich in a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables.
A close up of acne.
Biotin supplements are available for those who do not get their daily requirements.
Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in biotin, lysine, calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Lack of biotin in a person's system can lead to an itchy scalp.
Article Details
  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Biotin is a water soluble B-complex vitamin, naturally occurring in foods such as egg yolks and sardines, that plays a variety of complex roles in metabolism and functioning of the body. The connection between biotin and acne stems purely from the side effects experienced from taking a biotin supplement. No conclusive studies have shown or proven that biotin is connected to acne or that biotin can help cure acne when taken as a supplement. Reports of developing acne due to supplementing with biotin are common, likely due to the fact that the body already receives enough of this vitamin through the diet.

This B-complex vitamin plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and the production of fatty acids and glucose, all of which are important for providing energy to the body. Biotin is also important for strengthening hair and fingernails, and a deficiency can lead to an itchy scalp and brittle nails. Unless there is an inadequate intake of food, or unless the body prevents biotin from being absorbed properly, biotin deficiencies are rare. The body receives enough of this vitamin through the diet, as it is rich in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables and legumes.

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Reports of biotin and acne are quite common in individuals who supplement with biotin to improve hair growth or strengthening of the fingernails. A proposed hypothesis between supplemental biotin and acne production has to do with the fact that biotin supplementation gives the body far too much of this vitamin. Unless an individual is truly suffering from a biotin deficiency, supplementing with biotin will not likely provide benefit and may even promote adverse effects, like acne. Biotin and acne are not normally associated with each other when biotin is received naturally through foods.

More often than not, a biotin deficiency can cause a rash on the skin rather than acne. Supplemental biotin should only be taken under the supervision of a physician who can carefully monitor the amounts of biotin in the body, which will help determine the amount needed to supplement with every day without adverse effects. If the body can absorb biotin efficiently through foods, then a more natural approach to improving biotin levels can be transitioning to including a variety of foods in the diet. Avoiding raw egg whites, which contain a substance called avidin, can help biotin work efficiently in the body.

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turquoise
Post 3

I think everyone reacts to biotin differently. Some people don't get any acne while on biotin. Some people get acne initially but it goes away after a few weeks. And for others, the acne never goes away.

SarahGen
Post 2

@ZipLine-- You probably did have a deficiency. I don't think that most of us get enough biotin through our diet. But I still think that it's better to get biotin naturally than through supplements.

If you don't get acne on biotin, you're lucky. I do and my mom does as well. I think it's an issue for many people who want to take biotin. Biotin is great for hair growth and brittle nails, but it cause terribly large and painful pimples for me. And I don't get any normally. I took biotin for a few weeks and had to quit for this reason.

ZipLine
Post 1

I've used biotin supplements in the past, for several months at a time. I was taking them for healthier hair and to reduce hair loss. The first time I took them, my hair improved a lot. The second time, the supplements didn't make much of a difference. But I didn't experience any biotin side effects at either time. I definitely didn't get acne.

Does this mean that I really had a biotin deficiency?

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