Whether you’re shopping for a new vitamin to address a deficiency, grow out your hair, or improve your skin health, review the facts behind widespread biotin-and-acne gossip. You may have heard many beauty influencers insist on a link between biotin and breakouts, but new research suggests that there is minimal evidence that supports the claim that taking biotin supplements will worsen acne. Learn more about this B vitamin and how to safely reap its benefits, which can include treating acne.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin, or vitamin B7, belongs to the B group of vitamins, which are water-soluble and essential for health. While our bodies do not produce biotin on their own, we can get biotin from our food or in the form of supplements. Doctors recommend that adults consume 30 mcg of biotin daily. If a woman is breastfeeding, they should intake 35 mcg per day. Low levels of biotin can cause hair to thin and sometimes cause a mild rash on one’s face. Biotin is an essential part of enzymes in the body that break down things like carbohydrates and fats. At this time, there aren’t sufficient tests that detect low biotin levels. Symptoms of low biotin levels include red scaly rashes around the eyes, nose, and mouth and thinning hair. Biotin is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes and has been long known for its benefits to hair, skin, and nail growth and health.
Potential Side Effects of Biotin
Biotin plays an important role in gene expression, digestion, and metabolism—and while research shows that it can be used to treat comedonal acne, it’s best to take the supplement under the direction of a healthcare provider for safe dosage recommendations and understand how your body will absorb other nutrients and the potential side effects involved. Like any other medication or supplement you ingest, there are always possible side effects to consider.
Here are a few considerations to note before purchasing biotin:
– Biotin can interact with certain medications and impact your liver’s ability to process them
– The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that biotin might interfere with various lab tests and lead to false results. High levels of biotin can cause falsely low results in blood tests that measure for troponin. Troponin is used to help diagnose heart attacks, making it very dangerous for patients if test results are inaccurate.
– Biotin can reduce the body’s absorption of other nutrients
Recommended Biotin Intakes
There are a lot of products out there that boast thicker hair, clearer skin, and a host of other beauty benefits, but it’s vital to prioritize your health first before purchasing a product that you don’t really know that much about. In any given bottle of OTC biotin or beauty supplements, there are varying concentrations of ingredients.
The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) develops intake recommendations for biotin and other nutrients and provides them via the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). The DRI is a set of reference values used for recommending nutrient intakes for healthy individuals. The values are complex and vary depending on age and sex.
Due to the insufficient data on biotin, the FNB only established Adequate Intakes (AIs) for biotin instead of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). Therefore, when shopping for supplements to treat acne, it’s important that you speak with a licensed dermatologist first to get a professional dosage recommendation.
Natural Sources of Biotin
Many foods naturally contain some biotin. Some foods that contain the most biotin include:
– Meat (more specifically organ meats such as liver)
– Certain vegetables (like sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower)
The plant variety, food processing method, as well as harvesting season can all affect the concentration of biotin within the food. So while it’s best to get your nutrients from natural sources, it can also be difficult to ensure you get enough biotin naturally. If you are unable to get enough biotin naturally from your diet, your doctor may recommend a supplement.
Treating Acne With B Vitamins
The results of a 12-week study in 2018 reported that adults with mild to moderate acne who used both a topical cream and an oral supplement that contained biotin noticed improvements in skin texture and health (per the global acne grading system).
While there isn’t a proven link between biotin and acne breakouts, as mentioned above, this micronutrient can reduce your body’s absorption of other nutrients—including ones that naturally help your body combat acne. It’s also worth noting that the oral supplement used in the 2018 study included other vitamins besides biotin, which could have very well been responsible for treating the patients’ acne.
In short, biotin is safe to take as prescribed and can be used to help treat breakouts and support hair and nail health. If you’re worried about whether an oral supplement may worsen your skin conditions, speak to the doctors at The Dermatology Clinic for a qualified recommendation on the most appropriate way to address your skin concerns and other topical acne treatment products. Schedule an appointment today at either of our offices in Baton Rouge or Walker, LA, and speak with our friendly, knowledgeable team about healthy, approachable skin solutions.