Does Biotin Cause Acne? What You Should Know

(Last Updated On: July 11, 2018)

I’m one of those people that can say they’ve tried everything there is in an attempt to calm and cure acne. And I mean everything. I’ve visited probably every single dermatologist in town and tried it all – from expensive french treatments I couldn’t afford to home remedies my mom suggested.

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Everything I did as an adolescent and what I do as an adult now, has to be chosen carefully. I became a slave to acne, they controlled everything.

I love sugar but had to learn how to live with minimum amounts of it. I can’t even think of putting anything on my face that hasn’t ‘sensitive skin’ written all over it. The first fear and question I always ask before making even the slightest change in my life is – does it cause acne?

It was the same when I decided I might need to take biotin supplements. The first thing I Googled and asked doctors was – how, and if, it will affect my acne prone skin.

Why People Take Biotin Acne?

Let’s start by actually defining what biotin acne is.

If you want to get scientific about it – it is a co-enzyme and a vitamin B, that is sometimes being consumed by people with diabetes. But some people also take it for maintaining skin and nail health or to support the health of the metabolism and the digestive tract.

Actually biotin supplements have been prescribed as a treatment for numerous conditions. People with type 2 diabetes combine it with chromium to improve their blood sugar, or have it on its own. This is because it can decrease insulin resistance. Other reasons people take it, which are not scientifically proven, is to treat conditions like hepatitis, hair loss / hair thinning, and depression.

Since we already consume biotin with our regular food, some people might not actually need to get biotin supplements. Note that pregnant women might show low levels of biotin.

Does Biotin Actually Cause Acne?

Even though it hasn’t been proven scientifically, some people notice that taking supplements made them breakout. It’s probably not biotin itself that causes the breakouts. Rather, it’s the interaction with some other vitamins (B5 or pantothenic acid).

In most cases, it happens to people with acne-prone skin. But also there are those who actually reported that it helped them in calming down their acne.

When you take antibiotics, together with the bad bacteria, some of the good bacteria is also being destroyed in your gut. It’s this good bacteria that produces the largest part of the biotin in the body. This means that a lack of this good bacteria can be the reason some people experience biotin deficiency.

The way it causes acne (when taken as a supplement) is that it competes with vitamin B5 in the body. Those two types of vitamins are inverse – the rise in biotin means decrease in B5, and low levels of vitamin B5 cause acne.

Should I take Pure Biotin or a Multivitamin?

If you decide to take biotin as a supplement, the next decision you have to make is to choose from two types – pure biotin or a multivitamin (which is biotin plus some other vitamins).

The question you probably want to ask is – which one of those is better for you.

There is no one right answer, since it highly depends on you and your skin type. According to my research, the multivitamin type is the better one. Especially if you’re afraid of getting acne (like me). This way, you get also vitamin B5 along with biotin, which is one way of balancing the unwanted effect biotin can have on acne.

Another reason is with the multivitamin type, you’ll get some extra vitamins A and E, which will also help with calming your acne.

But keep in mind that according to some studies, vitamins B6, B12 and iodine found in multivitamins can actually cause acne.

How To Avoid Acne Breakouts While Taking Biotin?

Whichever type of biotin acne supplements you decide on, there are a few steps to avoid getting acne breakouts:

  1. The first and basic rule is to simultaneously take vitamin B5 while taking biotin. You will balance out the competition between biotin and B5.
  2. Start with a low dose, a maximum of 2500 mg.
  3. Follow a healthy diet full of fatty acids, proteins and vitamins A and C.
  4. Take good care of your skin. A careful skin care routine is essential when taking these supplements.

Conclusion

Does biotin cause acne? I decided that if I’m extra cautious and careful, I can take biotin supplements. I didn’t have any problems, I didn’t really noticed any more breakouts than the usual.

The most important thing to note is that by itself, it is not proven to cause acne breakouts. It is only its reaction and interaction with vitamin B5. This means that there’s a simple way to avoid acne breakouts by simultaneously taking vitamin B5 supplements, which I did.

If you’re really afraid of getting acne, and this discourages you and changes your mind on getting supplements, there are other ways to bring your biotin levels to normal. For example, eating biotin-rich foods. Some of those foods are eggs, chicken, lean meats, legumes, grains, soybeans, nuts, fish and seafood, cauliflower and avocado.

Just remember: consult your doctor for professional medical advice before you decide to take any biotin acne supplements. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications.

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