I had the worst acne breakout of my entire life– and it was due to Biotin.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that the health of my hair has rapidly declined. Between the daily use of hot tools and having naturally fine hair to begin with, I knew I had to do something to stop the problem before it got worse.
The Hair, Skin and Nails industry is over saturated right now. The main ingredient in these supplements is biotin, which claims to improve keratin infrastructure, a protein that makes up hair, skin and nails. There are so many different options, and my biggest regret is that I didn’t do more research before I chose a brand.
I picked these up at Target for two reasons:
1) it was the most affordable option and
2) I prefer vitamins in gummy form because I am a five year old stuck in a 26 year old body.
I took two gummies that night and crossed my fingers that I would wake up with Rapunzel-like locks.
Obviously, nothing happened overnight and I religiously took my two gummy vitamins every day. It only took a week for my skin to turn into an oily, acne ridden war zone. To give a quick background on my skin: I have acne prone, combination skin, but for the most part my breakouts are finally under control.
My first symptom was excessively oily skin. I cannot live without Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, however, I noticed I went through 3 to 4 of these a day instead of my usual 1 to 2. Overall, my skin felt gross and I couldn’t wait to get home to wash my face every day.
In addition to my face becoming an oil slick, I started getting really painful, deep pimples on my chin. I brushed this off as a PMS symptom and continued taking the supplement.
Three weeks in, my period had come and gone, but the painful breakout was still there and getting worse. In addition, I developed a rash and felt like my heart was constantly racing.
I booked an appointment with my doctor and she asked me if I had recently started using any new skincare products, which I hadn’t. I mentioned the only thing that changed in my beauty routine was that I started taking Biotin– and she instantly knew what the problem was.
In scientific terms, both biotin and vitamin B5 are absorbed in the intestines via the same mechanism. When you take biotin supplements, the abundance of biotin overpowers the B5 and causes a deficiency. Vitamin B5 is thought to directly effect the surface layer of skin which in turn, impacts acne. Therefore, a deficiency in vitamin B5 may cause you to break out.
She recommended I either stop taking it or add a vitamin B5 supplement into my routine. However, she did point out that hair growth and texture has a lot to do with genetics, i.e. if you have naturally thin hair and your parents have naturally thin hair, a vitamin supplement isn’t going to magically transform your hair into a thick, luscious mane.
Basically, I was SOL but at least I figured out what caused my horrible breakouts. It took a couple of weeks for my skin to return to normal, but it did correct itself once I stopped taking the vitamins.
Moral of the story: follow these four tips before you purchase a Hair, Skin and Nails supplement (or any supplement, really.)
1) DO YOUR RESEARCH The supplement I took provided me with 833% of my daily value of biotin. It is a water soluble vitamin, which means anything that isn’t absorbed is peed out. That isn’t taking into account that I was most likely ingesting biotin through other foods in my diet, such as eggs and leafy greens. Essentially, I as overloading my body with biotin that I didn’t need.
2) SUPPLEMENTS WON’T CREATE A MIRACLE I already touched on this, but there isn’t a single supplement on the market that can change your genetics. Instead of foolishly hoping that my hair will miraculously grow thicker at the ripe age of 25, I’m trying to preserve the hair I already have.
3) GET TESTED FOR DEFICIENCIES The purpose of a supplement is to, well, supplement any deficiencies in your diet. If you are not deficient in biotin, don’t waste your money putting something into your body that you don’t need.
4) STOP GOOGLING YOUR HEALTH CONCERNS Trust me, I’m the first one to admit that every time I get a headache I rush to WebMD to look up brain tumor symptoms. If I had just visited my doctor in the first place she would have told me that biotin wouldn’t work for me, and I could have saved time, money and my skin.
Hopefully this helped some of you who are either contemplating starting a Hair, Skin, and Nail Supplement, or who have already started and have similar symptoms. I was surprised to see there aren’t many articles about the correlation between biotin and acne. Please leave your experience with biotin in the comments!
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. This story was based on my personal experience. Please always consult with your doctor before starting any type of supplement or vitamin*