Biotin and Acne, Are They Related?
This week, we’re going to talk about biotin! Never heard of it? You’ll have a pretty solid overview of what biotin is. In this article, I will be discussing where biotin comes from, its benefits, the relationship between biotin and acne, and so on.
What is Biotin
Biotin a.k.a vitamin H a.k.a vitamin B7 is a water-soluble nutrient that is essential for healthy living. The vitamin, which isn’t naturally produced within your body, helps convert food into energy. The name biotin is derived from the Greek word “biotos,” meaning life or sustenance (2). Vitamin H came from the German words “haar”, meaning hair, and “haut,” meaning skin (1). As you can infer, biotin keeps many parts of your body functioning from inside and out.
Like most nutrients, we get most of our biotin from eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.
According to Healthline (2,4), common sources of biotin include:
- Egg yolks
- Nuts and nut butters
- Legumes including soybeans
- Organ Meats
- Whole grains
Biotin is essential in supporting human growth and development. Can it really get any more beneficial than that? You get energy and good digestion. You get healthy hair, skin, and nails. Your nervous system, liver, and eyes get support from your biotin intake (4). Without an adequate amount of biotin, you actually may experience hair loss, weak nails, a lack of energy, rashes, and even seizures (1).
The Truth About Biotin and Acne
So there’s this rumor going around that biotin and acne are related, or more specifically, biotin supplements and acne. Not that I want to invalidate anyone’s experience, but there’s not a lot of scientific evidence backing up that claim. The claim that biotin and acne go hand-in-hand really depends on biotin’s connection to vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid (1).
So, it is believed that pantothenic acid, which does its duties in the outermost layer of your skin, can help treat acne. Some have theorized that d*amn biotin is blocking the absorption of pantothenic acid because there’s not enough room in the nutrient pathway (1).
Well, if we’re going to look at the facts here, biotin and acne do not have a cause-and-effect relationship. In fact, there have been no significant studies that have drawn a link between biotin supplements nor having a pantothenic acid deficiency with acne (1). There’s actually tentative research that biotin supplements (and pantothenic supplements) can help treat acne. So, maybe biotin and acne have a friendly relationship rather than an adversary one?
Do I need to take biotin supplements?
I want to be clear, I DO NOT believe that everyone should or even needs to take supplements. If you have a deficiency, go ahead! However, I do take problem with how the beauty industry is quick to diagnose “universal” deficiencies.
It’s only recommended that people consume 30 to 100 micrograms of biotin each day (2). In truth, biotin deficiencies are rare. Deficiencies are usually caused by an unbalanced diet or maybe genetics (1). If you take extra, the biotin will pass through your body when you pee. It won’t necessarily give your hair, nails, and skin the boost it needs (2). Some people do experience nausea, cramping, and diarrhea with excess biotin (3). It’s important to note, however, that too much biotin can be dangerous for pregnant mothers and their fetuses (2).
On the other hand, biotin supplements may be effective in treating certain medical conditions. From a study on animals, researchers have predicted that biotin supplements may help regulate glucose levels and prevent kidney damage (2). This suggests that people with diabetes, type one and type two, could potentially benefit from biotin supplements.
Are Biotin Supplements Safe?
Aside from expecting mothers needing to be cautious from excess biotin, biotin itself isn’t dangerous. Again, it’s a critical nutrient needed within our bodies. Furthermore, since it’s water-soluble, biotin will flush out of our system.
But with supplements, we always need to consider where you get these supplements. Largely discounted vitamins from a brand you’ve never heard of? Red flag. Like any other supplements, make sure you buy it from a place and brand you trust.
Biotin is the sh*t, but do you need to take supplements? Probably Not. Just make sure you eat well to get the nutrients you need. If you do take supplements: rest assured, there’s no negative relationship between biotin and acne.
Written by Jessica Lu