It all started back late in 2016 when I had noticed that my skin was breaking out a lot more than usual. I had been clear of acne for over 10 years, but suddenly it came back – and it was freaking me out! I had also been taking quite a high dose of biotin at the time, but later on discovered that this might’ve only been part of the reason I was breaking out so much.
I also had another issue where I was clearly deficient in zinc, which is known for causing acne and increasing skin oiliness. I never knew at the time I was low in zinc (more on that later), but when I found out the connection between biotin and acne after reading some popular hair forums, I immediately stopped taking it.
Biotin is safe even in large doses
Biotin acts as a coenzyme for bicarbonate-dependent carboxylation reactions. Okay, I’ll spare you the science! Let’s just say it’s important for the body and cell / mitochondrial function.
In studies, it has been shown that large doses of biotin, up to 200 mg given to humans is safe and causes no adverse effects.
The amount typically found in high dose biotin supplements ranges from 1000 to 10,000 mcg (1 to 10 mg). This is far below what has been tested.
There are known genetic conditions where babies are born who lack an enzyme which breaks down biotin, but this is very rare (1 in 60,000) and not a problem for most people.
The recommended or adequate intake for adults is approximately 30 micrograms per day.
Does biotin cause acne or any other problems?
Most people get more than enough biotin in their diet, and this doesn’t really cause an issue. You only need very small amounts each day.
So, I’ve taken biotin in the past, even at similar doses of 5000-10,000 mcg without any problem whatsoever. The only thing I noticed was improved hair growth and my hair looked much healthier!
People debate on whether biotin works or not, but for me, I’m sure I noticed some difference. I was kind of bummed that I wasn’t able to take it anymore, but there was a good reason for it that I only discovered some months after I stopped taking it.
My story: The zinc connection
After doing my research, and looking at my symptoms on the internet (frequent colds, combination dry/oily rough skin, some hair loss, and acne – it seemed obvious that zinc deficiency could be the reason. I had never been so frequently sick with colds in my life until that point.
I’ve also been a strict vegetarian for 11 years and more recently vegan (like 95% of the time). It seemed that it’d be a good idea to try zinc and see what happened. People who are vegetarians or vegans, and those eating a high plant-based diet can be more prone to developing secondary zinc deficiency.
After I started taking zinc picolinate, I noticed that my acne was almost completely going away and my skin was healing! I wasn’t in a constant battle anymore in trying to prevent the next spot from showing up in the morning. I combined that with vitamin D3 and my acne basically cleared up 100%.
And after reading long hair forum I came across a few people who had discovered that biotin never caused them any problems as long as they were taking zinc!
I started taking biotin (with zinc) again for my hair
I cautiously started taking a lower dose of biotin for my hair, and gradually increased it over time, and this time I’ve been fine. No breakouts at all. No morning surprises with big pimples. What a relief…
I believe that zinc helps balance the oils in the skin, it prevents overproduction of sebum. Biotin increases skin oiliness and can lead to cystic acne in those who are prone to acne in the first place. Or even, as I have discovered, people who are deficient in zinc.
Do you want to take biotin for your hair growth? Here is my advice
- Make sure that you drink plenty of water. Keep well hydrated!
- Make sure that you have plenty of zinc in your diet and/or supplement
- If you are prone to acne, start off at a low dose and work up
- Give your body some time to adjust. Usually, when we introduce new things into our body, it takes time for things to settle and adjust to the change
Those are just a few of my simple tips to help ensure that you have a good experience when taking biotin.
Taking biotin is safe and it’s 50/50 on whether you will notice a benefit. There have been surveys conducted over at the long hair community, where some girls and guys notice improvements, and others don’t. It’s probably dependent on many different factors.