The One Problem With Biotin Supplement: Does Biotin Cause Ance?

Maybe you started taking biotin to help your hair grow longer. Or maybe you wanted to improve the look of your skin or help strengthen brittle nails.

While taking a biotin supplement is relatively safe, it’s not the wonder vitamin that many people make it out to be.

Especially since biotin can sometimes lead to acne breakouts. Well, sometimes.

And if you’ve experienced it firsthand, know that you’re not alone.

While biotin itself is not to blame, it’s interaction with the other vitamins in the body and the actual supplement used that caused acne in some people, particularly those who already have acne-prone skin.

But how does biotin cause acne? Are there ways to prevent it from breaking out your skin?

Before we dive into the facts, let’s talk about Biotin first.

All About Biotin

Biotin belongs to the B vitamin family and it’s also known as Vitamin B7. It’s essential in the production of certain enzymes in your body as well as in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats.

But what can it do to your skin?

Research points out that biotin is helpful in addressing certain skin issues. It’s even effective in preventing hair loss and thinning.

This is one of the main reasons why a lot of people are taking interest in taking biotin supplements. A deficiency of this vitamin leads to hair loss, skin changes such as acne-like lesions and brittle nails.

Does Biotin Cause Acne?

Actually, there are no studies yet that can clearly determine the effect of biotin on acne. So most professionals take the sideline on whether biotin can make the skin better or actually cause acne breakouts.

Considering the effects, however, there’s a good chance that it can do both- well, depending on your skin’s chemistry.

While there are people who experience acne as a side effect of taking biotin, there are also people who find it helpful in clearing out their pimples.

In most cases, it’s the biotin deficiency in these people that made them react positively to biotin supplementation. Biotin deficiency, if you’re wondering, is actually rare.

It happens more to people who take broad-spectrum antibiotics and certain anti-convulsants for a long period of time. Antibiotics, by the way, are frequently prescribed to treat acne, too.

So, how does biotin cause acne?

When you take antibiotics, both good and bad bacteria are killed in your gut. While it’s necessary to eliminate the bad ones, it’s the good bacteria in your gut that produce most of the biotin in your body.

Without enough good bacteria, there also wouldn’t be enough biotin. Take note that biotin, as it’s water-soluble, can’t be stored in your body.

But, what about all those people who actually get acne while taking biotin supplements?

The answer to that is biotin’s relationship with vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid.

Primarily, biotin can cause acne flare-ups in some people because it competes with vitamin B-5.As these vitamins are inverse of each other, a rise in biotin can mean a decrease in the amount of vitamin B5 in your body.

When your vitamin B5 levels are low, acne happens.

So, if you’re taking biotin and you’re struggling with acne, it’s recommended that you also supplement with vitamin B5, unless contraindicated.

But, hold on.

It doesn’t actually mean that you can pop as much biotin as you want. The truth is, low levels of biotin can be as harmful to your skin as taking it in large doses.

So make sure you keep your dosage at 2500 mg or lower to help avoid acne breakout. It can also help if you can keep yourself hydrated while taking the supplement.

Multivitamin Or Pure Biotin: Does It Make A Difference?

There are two kinds of biotin supplements you can take: pure biotin or a multivitamin that contains biotin along with other vitamins.

Which one is better?

I’d have to say the multivitamin.

While it might seem like a better idea to take biotin alone to give your body exactly what it needs, taking a multivitamin can give you a supplementing dose of vitamin B5.

It can also provide your body with vitamins A and E which levels can affect your acne.Unfortunately, however, there are a few known culprits to acne that can also be lurking in multivitamin supplements. The list includes:

  • Iodine
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12

Iodine is well-known in not only making acne worse, but also causing acne. The high levels of iodine in cow feed are what often cause breakouts in people sensitive to dairy.

Additionally, a study concluded that vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 can also cause acne, with breakouts in women being far more common and severe.

With this, if you’re not exactly sure about which multivitamin to take, it’s best to start off with pure biotin to see how it will affect your skin. If you get acne from the biotin, simply quit taking the supplement and your breakout should clear up.

But, How Can I Improve My Skin And Hair Without Taking Biotin?

Maybe you had a negative reaction to a biotin supplement. Maybe you were surprised when your skin erupted from the supplement you thought was supposed to make you look better, not worse.

There are many ways to improve the look of your hair, nails, and skin without taking biotin (and without experiencing acne!). We like to take a two-pronged approach through food and product.

What foods can you eat to improve your hair? What natural products can you use to improve your skin and nails?

Let’s start with what types of food you should eat for beautiful hair, skin and nails. Generally, they are divided into 3 main groups.

  • Protein
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vitamins

Your skin, hair, and nails are made of protein, so including good proteins in your diet can promote healthy cell production. You can swap the T-bone steak for these healthier alternatives:

  • Chicken
  • Lean meats
  • Legumes
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans

Essential fatty acids, on the other hand, can help maintain the normal functioning of all of your body tissues. All of them.

While your body can produce some of these fats, there are actually two types which your body can’t synthesize on its own. These are the linoleic and linolenic acid.

These two acids are very important in the synthesis of two other acids- the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both of them are essential if you want to tone down inflammation (including acne) in your body.

Because your body isn’t capable of producing them on its own: you have to eat them to get them. Here’s where you can get the essential fatty acids you need in your diet:

  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Flaxseed
  • Cabbage
  • Seafood
  • Spinach

Your hair, skin, and nails also need certain vitamins to promote growth and maintain their healthy cells. These vitamins are particularly important when it comes to the functioning of all three:

  • Vitamin A keeps your hair shiny and conditioned. It is also great for your skin because it actually strengthens the dermis.

It’s naturally found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, and oatmeal.

  • Vitamin C can promote the growth of collagen, which keeps skin elastic and youthful. You’ll find them in broccoli, peppers, kale, and strawberries.

How Can I Avoid Breakouts While Taking Biotin?

If you decide that you still want to give biotin supplements a shot, try following these steps to make sure you don’t breakout:

  • Take a vitamin B5 supplement so that biotin and B5 won’t compete. Before you take this advice, make sure you talk to your physician first to clear out any medical issues which these supplements can worsen.
  • Take a low dose of biotin, 2500mg at the most.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan that includes protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and C.
  • Adapt a healthy skincare routine. Relying your skin’s health solely on supplements won’t do your skin any good.

Our Take: Does Biotin Cause Acne?

Biotin, by itself, does not cause acne. Instead, it’s the interactions and reactions to this vitamin that can cause acne in some people- particularly those who are taking it as supplements.

Eating foods rich in biotin, for example, don’t normally make your skin breakout. Eggs are rich in biotin but they aren’t technically acne culprits.

You don’t eat eggs and expect to break out immediately, right?


So instead of trying out biotin supplements, it’s still best for your skin if you can take a natural approach. Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in biotin to improve the health of your skin, nails and hair.

Aside from eggs, there are actually several types of food that contain biotin. Your choices include grains, nuts and even fishes.

Cauliflower and avocado have it as well.

There are really no shortcuts to getting beautiful. Most of the time, taking it slowly but surely is still the best way to reach your goal.

Hannah Do

Hannah is the founder of ThankYourSkin. Having personally battled acne during her younger years, she aspires to provide an invaluable guide to anyone suffering from it.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this article. I have been suffering from a breakout for more than a month now because of biotin. I thought it was a new face wash I was using until a friend had the same experience with biotin. I came straight to google to research the effects of biotin on acne. My acne has never been worse and I am praying it gets better. Thank you again for informing me.

  2. I appreciate this article, but I have a question about the dosage. The article says to take a low dose of biotin, 2500mg. The women’s multivitamin I’m taking has biotin of 1200mcg which is 400% of the daily recommended value. Could the dosage in the article be a typo? 2500mg which translates to 2,500,000mcg seems a bit high. Please clarify. Thanks.

    • I think you are probably right. It is a typo. The author refers to milligrams (mg) when they should be referring to micrograms (mcg or ug).

  3. I began using a supplement to combat hair loss and began experiencing breakouts! I have eliminated everything BUT the new vitamin. I will now stop taking it!! Thank you for the information!

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