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Although not every woman is obsessed with hair growth, many are, letting vitamins, supplements, and growth oils take over their cabinets.

One of the most popular supplements, found in many hair growth formulas, is biotin, also known as vitamin B7, or vitamin H. This nutrient is helpful in maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails. However, some have experienced that increased use of biotin can cause acne breakouts. Here’s why that happens.

First, what is biotin?

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Vitamin H, more commonly known as biotin, is part of the B-complex group of vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein.”

Additionally, B complex vitamins contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails. They are water-soluble which means that the body does not store them. The presence of biotin is found in many of our hair and skin products because of its strengthening properties.

The relationship between biotin & acne

Unfortunately there are not enough scientific studies to determine that there is a true link between taking biotin and it causing acne. However, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen altogether. These experiences can be a case by case situation but one of the main reasons has to do with the imbalance of vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, to vitamin B7.

  • Vitamin B5 helps regulates the skin’s surface layer and has moisturizing effects that can help prevent acne.
  • Vitamin B7 offers a protective barrier from the outside world and improves the keratin infrastructure.
The problem arises because when there is an excess in one vitamin, there is a deficiency in the other. An increase in biotin isn’t what causes acne, it’s actually the decrease in vitamin B5 that causes a breakout.

How to prevent acne from biotin usage

If taking a pure biotin supplement is what is causing the breakout, swapping that out for a multivitamin with biotin may help. A multivitamin containing B5 can help balance out the increase in biotin. Many recommend increasing your water intake to at least 8 glasses per day to help flush the biotin through your system.

You may also skip the supplements and focus on a biotin-rich diet. The majority of people do not have a biotin deficiency because it is found in many of our foods, plus our bodies produce it. Some of these biotin rich food sources include: 

  • Liver, cooked: 3 ounces, 27-35 milligrams

  • Egg, cooked: 1 Large, 13-25 milligrams

  • Salmon, cooked: 3 ounces, 4-5 milligrams

  • Pork, cooked: 3 ounces, 2-4 milligrams

  • Avocado: 1 whole, 2-6 milligrams

  • Yeast: 7 grams, 1.4-14 milligrams

  • Raspberries: 1 cup, 0.2-2 milligrams

  • Cauliflower, raw: 1 cup, 0.2-2 milligrams

  • Whole Wheat Bread: 1 slice, 0.2-6 milligrams

  • Cheese, cheddar: 1 ounce, 0.4-2 milligrams

Have you tried a hair supplement with biotin before?

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Read I Don't Have a Vitamin Deficiency--Should I Take A Hair Supplement?

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