Jan 07, 2021 · 3 min read
Biotin (aka vitamin B7) is essential for your overall health. Many swear by this nutritional supplement as a way to promote healthy hair, nails, and skin. So it might be surprising to hear that too much biotin can lead to acne.
Should you take biotin to treat acne? Our answer is NO.
Because everyone’s skin is unique, there’s no way to predict how your skin will react to biotin supplements. Plus, no scientific studies prove biotin supplements are an effective acne treatment.
And there’s another reason to avoid it for skincare purposes. Biotin may interfere with the absorption of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).¹ Vitamin B5 has been shown to help with acne,² so messing with its absorption might indirectly contribute to breakouts for some people.
While researchers have found some examples of biotin supplements leading to acne flares, this isn’t scientifically proven, either. Biotin’s effects are still somewhat mysterious, so more research is needed to understand its relationship to skin.
On the other hand, a biotin deficiency can impact your fingernails, hair, and skin — but this tends to be rare! Most of us get enough biotin from the foods we eat. More on this later!
There are 8 forms of B vitamins,³ including biotin. Generally speaking, B vitamins help your body make energy, and they also help with the formation of red blood cells.⁴ They play an essential role in metabolism and immune system function.
B3: Niacin (aka niacinamide).
B5: Pantothenic acid (dexpanethnol is the synthetic form of B5)
B9: Folic acid.
Vitamins B3⁵ and B5⁶ and B9⁷ may have skin benefits including improving skin tone, texture, and inflammation (including acne).
Vitamin B5: A randomized study of pantothenic acid-based (vitamin B5) dietary supplement in healthy adults with facial acne lesions showed a reduction in lesions after 12 weeks. While this looks promising, more trials are needed to confirm the results.
Vitamin B9 - Research suggests that topical application of a folic acid- and creatine-containing formulation may improve firmness of the skin.
Many people get enough biotin through diet. You can ingest the vitamin through foods like meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and certain vegetables. Certain diets (like veganism) might lead to nutritional deficiencies. Ask your medical provider about what supplements are right for you.
The relationship between diet and acne is complicated, but it never hurts to learn more about what your body needs to be its healthiest. Here are a few places to start:
Of course, practicing a daily routine can help your skin, too. Get a free month of custom skincare when you sign up for Curology. You’ll get a formula for your skin with a mix of up to 3 active ingredients to help you reach your skin goals. Complete your routine and add extra Curology products for no extra cost. Your first box is just $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping/handling.
We did our research so you don’t have to.
Hamid M. Said. Cell and Molecular Aspects of Human Intestinal Biotin Absorption. The Journal of Nutrition. (January 2009).
Michael Yang, et. al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of a Novel Pantothenic Acid-Based Dietary Supplement in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Acne. Dermatology and Therapy. (2014, May 16).
Frank Fischer, et. al. Folic acid and creatine improve the firmness of human skin in vivo. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. (March 2011).
Medline Plus. B Vitamins. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015, April 2).
Josefina Navarrete-Solís. A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma. Dermatology Research and Practice. (2011, July 21).
Frank Fischer, et. al. Folic acid and creatine improve the firmness of human skin in vivo. Ibid.