If you’re embarrassed by acne, you’re not alone. About 80 to 95 percent of all teens have acne at some point in their lives, according to the University of Illinois. Adults experience acne breakouts too. Acne occurs when dead skin cells and bacteria block the normal flow of oil from glands in the skin. Biotin is not likely to cause acne, but there are other nutrients you can take to help prevent a breakout. Consult with a physician before taking supplements to treat treat any condition.
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Biotin, also called vitamin B-7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s essential for many biochemical processes. It’s especially important for healthy skin because it creates the fatty acids that nourish skin and hair, form a protective skin barrier and provide insulation. Adults should get about 30 micrograms daily in their diet. Food sources include egg yolks, liver, yeast, salmon, avocado, nuts, legumes, cauliflower, and whole grain breads and cereals.
Biotin and Acne
You may have heard stories about acne breakouts after someone began taking biotin supplements, or you may have experienced an acne eruption. However, scientific studies don’t support an association between the two. Everyone has a unique response; some have reactions to medications or supplements while others don't. Without medical evidence linking biotin to acne, it's impossible to predict how it might affect you.
If you need extra biotin, try to get it through the foods you eat because skin reactions are typically caused by supplements. If you need to take a supplement, take one that's just biotin rather than a multivitamin so that you don't get too much iodine, vitamin B-6 or vitamin B-12. Iodine can cause acne, or make existing acne worse, and large doses of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are associated with acne-like skin eruptions. If you take the biotin supplements alone at first, it's easier to determine whether a subsequent breakout was caused by biotin and not something else. If your acne flares up, and you don’t need to take biotin for medical reasons, stop taking the supplement temporarily and see if the acne goes away.
Low levels of vitamins A and E are associated with acne, so getting enough in your diet may lower your risk of a breakout. Vitamin A is needed for the repair of skin tissue and vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects vitamin A. The January 2001 issue of "Dermatology" published a study showing that 30 milligrams of zinc taken for three months successfully treated inflammatory acne. You should get 3,000 IU a day of vitamin A from food sources such as, fortified cereal, eggs, dairy products, and dark green, red and yellow vegetables. Adults need 15 milligrams of vitamin E every day; sunflower, safflower and canola oils are significant sources. Consume 8 to 11 milligrams daily of zinc. Good sources include oysters, meat, poultry and milk, while almonds and peanuts provide both vitamin E and zinc.
- Oregon State University: Biotin
- MayoClinic.com: Acne -- Alternative Medicine
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Acne
- University of Illinois: Acne
- Dermatology: Multicenter Randomized Comparative Double-Blind Controlled Clinical Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of Zinc Gluconate in the Treatment of Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris
- Clinical and Experimental Dermatology: Does the Plasma Level of Vitamins A and E Affect Acne Condition?