Does Biotin Cause Acne? We Asked Dermatologists

The pursuit of clear, radiant skin is a common goal for many, and in this quest, various dietary supplements have garnered attention, including biotin. However, a frequently asked question in the realm of skincare is, “Does biotin cause acne?” As with many health-related queries, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no but rather a nuanced exploration of how biotin may interact with the skin and whether it can lead to acne breakouts. 

Read on as we share with you all about the relationship between biotin and acne, examining the factors at play and providing insights into what individuals seeking healthy, blemish-free skin should know about this often-debated topic.

What is Biotin and How Does It Work?

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, also known as vitamin H. It is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many important bodily functions, including:

  • Metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Production of fatty acids
  • Maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails
  • Regulating gene expression

Biotin works by converting food into energy that the body can use. It also helps support the growth and maintenance of healthy tissues, such as skin, hair, and nails. 

Biotin is found in many foods, including eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, some people may not be getting enough biotin from their diet alone. Biotin supplements are available over-the-counter and are generally safe for most people to take.

Does Biotin Cause Acne?

The link between biotin and acne is unclear. Some people believe that taking biotin supplements can cause acne breakouts, but there is minimal scientific evidence to support this claim.

One study found that biotin supplements may interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which has more well-established benefits for acne. However, more research is needed to confirm this finding.

To get a better understanding of the relationship between biotin and acne, we spoke with Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.

According to Dr. Nazarian, “Biotin does not necessarily cause acne, but it can exacerbate existing acne. Biotin increases skin cell turnover rates, which can lead to more frequent pore-clogging and increased tendency to develop acne and cysts.”

Dr. Nazarian recommends that if you’re experiencing acne breakouts and taking biotin supplements, try reducing the dosage or stopping the supplements altogether to see if your skin improves. She also suggests focusing on a healthy diet that includes natural sources of biotin, such as egg yolks, nuts, and salmon.

How to Use Biotin Safely

  • Start with a low dose and gradually increase it as tolerated. The recommended daily intake of biotin for adults is 30 micrograms (mcg). However, some people may need more or less biotin depending on their individual needs.
  • Take biotin with food. This will help to improve its absorption.
  • Avoid taking biotin supplements at the same time as vitamin B5 supplements. Biotin can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B5.
  • Make sure you are getting enough vitamin B5 from your diet. Good sources of vitamin B5 include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
  • Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This will help to keep your overall health in good condition and make your body more responsive to biotin.
  • Practice good skincare habits, such as washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and using a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores).

Benefits of Biotin for skin

Biotin helps the body to produce keratin, a protein that is found in hair, skin, and nails. Biotin also helps to metabolize fatty acids, which are important for maintaining healthy skin cells. Biotin offers several potential benefits for the skin, which may include:

Enhanced Hydration: Biotin helps maintain the skin’s moisture levels, reducing dryness and flakiness. Well-hydrated skin tends to appear more youthful and vibrant.

Enhanced Skin Tone and Texture: Biotin plays a role in promoting the synthesis of collagen and elastin, pivotal proteins for maintaining skin’s elasticity and smoothness. This can result in an improved overall tone and texture of the skin, offering a more youthful appearance.

Reduction of Inflammation: Biotin’s anti-inflammatory properties may assist in diminishing redness and inflammation on the skin’s surface.

Accelerated Wound Healing: Biotin can support the body’s natural healing processes by facilitating the production of new skin cells, potentially expediting the recovery of wounds and skin injuries.

Potential Risks of Taking Biotin Supplements

Biotin supplements are generally safe for most people to take, but there are some potential risks to be aware of:

Digestive Upset: Some individuals may experience digestive discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, when taking biotin supplements.

Skin Rash: In some cases, biotin supplements can lead to the development of a skin rash.

Interference with Blood Tests: Biotin supplements have the potential to interfere with specific blood tests, notably those assessing thyroid function. It is advisable to inform your healthcare provider about your biotin supplement use if you are scheduled for any blood tests.

Acne: While anecdotal reports suggest a link between biotin supplements and acne breakouts, scientific evidence supporting this connection is limited.

In addition to these potential side effects, biotin supplements can also interact with certain medications, such as anticonvulsants and blood thinners. If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor before taking biotin supplements. In fact, biotin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so there is no guarantee of their purity or potency. You should purchase biotin supplements from a reputable source.


  1. Can I still take biotin if I have acne-prone skin? Yes, you can still take biotin if you have acne-prone skin, but it’s important to follow the recommended dosage and talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
  2. What are some natural sources of biotin? Biotin can be found in many foods, including egg yolks, nuts, seeds, fish, and meat. Vegetarians can also get biotin from plant-based sources such as sweet potatoes, avocados, and leafy greens.
  3. Can biotin supplements help improve acne? Biotin supplements are not specifically designed to treat acne, but they may indirectly help improve acne by promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails. 
  4. How Much Biotin Should You Take? The recommended daily intake of biotin varies depending on age and sex. For adults, the general guideline is to consume around 30 – 100 micrograms (mcg) of biotin daily, which is typically attainable through a balanced diet. 

Final Takeaway

While biotin can provide numerous benefits for overall health and wellness, it’s important to use biotin supplements safely and be aware of the potential risks, including acne breakouts. If you’re experiencing acne breakouts and taking biotin supplements, try reducing the dosage or stopping the supplements altogether to see if your skin improves. And as always, talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Remember, a healthy diet that includes natural sources of biotin is always a good idea, and can help support healthy skin, hair, and nails without the potential risks associated with supplements.