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Taking Biotin for Your Skin: Good or Bad?

by Emily Linehan on January 21, 2020

Mainstream media today has led many of us to believe that taking biotin for your skin is the right move… but is it? 

Yesterday I ended up playing detective with a client. We were trying to find the root cause of her spontaneous breakouts. 

Through our investigation, we uncovered the possible culprit. She had recently started a new supplement. The ingredient causing the problem? Biotin. 

The Truth About Biotin

In recent years, biotin has been painted as the magical supplement for gorgeous, glowing hair, skin and nails. 

Unfortunately, there are no published studies to validate the concrete benefits of taking biotin for skin, hair and nails. It’s a placebo effect, at best. 

If you are acne-prone, taking biotin can trigger inflamed acne breakouts significantly for 2 reasons. 

  1. Biotin Increases Clogged Pores

Biotin increases our cell turnover rate. 

While this sounds lovely, the root cause of acne is hyper shedding of dead skin cells in our pores, resulting in microcomedones (little clogs). These initiate an acne breakout. 

In other words, taking biotin throws the genetic defect of shedding dead cells too quickly into hyperdrive, increasing the number of clogged pores. 

  1. Biotin Creates Deficiencies in Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is what helps our skin clear. 

Biotin (vitamin B7) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are both absorbed in our intestines by the same receptor. 

When you take high levels of biotin supplements, it blocks the absorption of pantothenic acid because our receptor can only absorb one or the other at a given time. 

We need pantothenic acid to help regulate our oil gland production. If you are acne-prone, this is vitally important because our natural oil (sebum) is the “glue” that binds the dead sticky cells together during the clogged pore formation AND it’s the food for the acne bacteria to proliferate. 

In short, you could be giving yourself a deficiency of pantothenic acid by taking an excess of biotin. The result? More acne. 

Remove Biotin From Your Diet

While biotin is easy to recognize in vitamins marketed for hair, skin and nails, it is also hidden in other vitamins and supplements. 

In fact, most multivitamins and prenatals vitamins contain biotin. 

If you are acne-prone, be sure to check all your vitamins and supplements (even protein powders) for biotin!

1 comment
by Kendall Remley on March 23, 2020

Wow this is great…. I too had experienced breaking out from high doses of biotin and then recently started a lower dose but this makes me cautious about using it!

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