Does Biotin Cause Acne? And Can You Prevent it?


Biotin is widely known as the go-to supplement for expediting hair and nail growth, giving your hair strength, shine and bounce. If you’ve ever gone to your doctor with symptoms that include hair loss or thinning, almost certainly your doctor will make a recommendation to take a biotin supplement even before you receive test results since it’s not a drug and isn’t known to be dangerous. It makes sense then that biotin is the featured ingredient in most hair, skin, and nail formulas. While plenty of evidence supports that biotin helps with hair and nail growth, does it benefit your skin? Could it actually be harmful to one’s skin texture? Often, consumers report that it causes breakouts to their face, back or elsewhere on their body which forces them to choose between having great hair OR a great complexion. But do you really need to choose or can you have it all? Let’s take a look at some cold hard facts about nutrition, supplementation, and hair and skin health to see how to edge the odds to your favor.

What is Biotin?

Biotin (also known as Vitamin H, coenzyme R, or Vitamin B7) is classified under the “B group” of vitamins. It’s often found in eggs, certain types of fish and leafy greens. It is important for cell growth, the metabolism of fatty acids (the good ones) and has been shown to strengthen hair and nails. The recommended biotin dosage is often between 2,500 – 5,000 mcg per day. However, some products are serving up 10,000mcg (or more), apparently going with the “more is better” mantra. Could this be the reason that so many consumers run into problems with acne? 

Let’s take a deeper dive...

How Much is Too Much?

What happens when taking in “mega doses” of biotin? Does it all get absorbed through the digestive process and go where it should? Does the excess amount clog up your pores causing acne and skin inflammation as some sources say? Well, more than likely the answer to these questions is no. Absorption is not an issue since biotin is water-soluble. In the cause of your acne flare-ups when you increase your biotin, intake is much simpler. Increasing the dosage on some micronutrients can set off alarms in your body that mimic the deficiency signal of other micronutrients. In the case of biotin; the relative deficiency signaled here is pantothenic acid (or vitamin B5) and a deficiency in pantothenic acid WILL cause acne to breakout in men and women. Therefore, most dermatologists will recommend adding a pantothenic acid supplement to your daily intake to offset the imbalance. Ideally, you’ll take a high quality supplement like HairXT that blends the two at optimum levels so that they properly support each other. 

What Else Can Help Offset the Effects of Biotin?

As you learn about nutrition it becomes obvious that balance is the key. Having the correct ratios of your “micro” and “marco” nutrients will keep all systems of your body functioning optimally. Here are 3 ways you can offset the potentially negative effects of biotin:

  1. Maintaining appropriate levels of vitamins A and E will work wonders for a smooth glowing face. Vitamin A is fundamental in the repair and maintenance of skin tissue and vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the Vitamin A.
  2. Also, low levels of Zinc are often associated with acne. On average, people with acne have 24% lower zinc levels than their smoothly complexed peers.
  3. And last but not least, we’ve got hydration... Regardless of any supplement you may be taking and how healthy your core nutrition is, if you are not taking in enough water, the nutrients you do have will be less bioavailable and won’t be getting where they need to be. Make sure that you are drinking enough water for your specific needs. A general rule is to drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces a day. So, BOTTOMS UP!

Alright, we know that was a lot! Here are the key facts to take away. Hair and nail growth can slow when you are deficient in biotin and both will become weak and brittle. But chances are if you’re deficient here you have some other nutritional shortfalls that should be addressed simultaneously. Addressing only one issue will compound the problem.  Using a complete, high quality formula to address your hair loss will help you achieve optimal results!