Does biotin cause breakouts?

Why your acne might not benefit from this B vitamin.

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Curology Team
Jan 07, 2021 · 3 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

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 (in theory) lead to acne.

So, is biotin good for skin?

Should you take biotin to treat acne? We say 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!

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What are the other B vitamins?

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.

  • B1: Thiamin.

  • B2: Riboflavin.

  • B3: Niacin (aka niacinamide).

  • B5: Pantothenic acid.

  • B6: Pyridoxine.

  • B7: Biotin.

  • B9: Folic acid.

  • B12: Cobalamin.

Vitamins B3,⁵ B5,⁶ and B⁷ may have skin benefits including improving skin tone, texture, and inflammation (including acne).

Do you need a biotin supplement?

Many people get enough biotin through diet — you can ingest it easily 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:

  1. Foods that can trigger breakouts

  2. The truth about anti-aging food

  3. The elimination diet for acne

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.

• • •

P.S.

We did our research so you don’t have to.

  1. Hamid M. Said. Cell and Molecular Aspects of Human Intestinal Biotin Absorption. The Journal of Nutrition. (January 2009).

  2. 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).

  3. Frank Fischer, et. al. Folic acid and creatine improve the firmness of human skin in vivo. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. (March 2011).

  4. Medline Plus. B Vitamins. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015, April 2).

  5. 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).

  6. 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. Ibid.

  7. Frank Fischer, et. al. Folic acid and creatine improve the firmness of human skin in vivo. Ibid.

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Curology Team

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