Everything You Need to Know About Using Biotin For Your Skin

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Are you looking for that one nutrient that can specifically promote your skin health? Then you may want to check biotin. It is fast gaining popularity for its purported skin benefits. Interestingly, it is also touted to promote the health of your hair and nails. But how does it function? Is the nutrient really worth the hype? We will explore more here.

What Is Biotin?

The word “biotin” originates from the Greek word “biotos,” which stands for “life” or “sustenance.” It is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, with H standing for “Haar und Haut,” which is German for “hair and skin.”

Biotin is one among the eight vitamins that constitute the B complex vitamins. These assist the body in converting food into energy. It is a key ingredient in the enzymes that break down carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids to form fatty acids and glucose. Biotin also supports a range of other bodily functions like supporting your nervous system health and maintaining embryonic growth during pregnancy.

Biotin is primarily known for its skin benefits. But before we get into the details, let us take a look at the natural sources of biotin.

Natural Sources Of Biotin

Biotin is readily available in naturally occurring foods. You can meet your daily requirement of the nutrient by consuming a varied diet. Some of the best sources of biotin include:

  •  Whole eggs, especially the yolk
  •  Legumes like beans, peas, soybeans, and lentils
  •  Organ meats, like liver and kidneys
  •  Nuts like almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts
  •  Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  •  Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
  •  Sweet potatoes
  •  Mushrooms
  •  Bananas
  •  Broccoli
  •  Nutritional and Brewer’s yeast
  •  Avocados
  •  Dairy and dairy products like cheese and yogurt
  •  Oatmeal
  •  Apples

Biotin for skin is also commercially available in different forms:

  •  Biotin oil
  •  Biotin supplements
  •  Biotin pills or tablets
  •  Dissolvable biotin powder
  •  Biotin serum

Understand more about biotin deficiency in the next section.

Causes And Effects Of Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiency, albeit rare, can be caused due to:

This deficiency in biotin could lead to symptoms like:

  •  Red, scaly rashes, especially around the eyes, nose, and mouth
  •  Parched and flaky skin
  •  Brittle nails
  •  Dry skin
  •  Depression symptoms
  •  Conjunctivitis
  •  Numbness and pins and needles in the arms and legs
  •  Constant fatigue
  •  Hallucinations

How Is Biotin Good For The Skin?

As discussed, biotin deficiency could lead to scaly red rashes and make skin dry and flaky. Several enzymes rely on biotin to function correctly. The energy produced by the vitamin plays a crucial role in nourishing the skin.
Biotin has multiple skin benefits. Let us explore them now.

1. May Smoothen Skin Texture

Those with a biotin deficiency may experience red and scaly rashes. But one may reverse such symptoms with adequate biotin intake. A study discovered that infants with dermatitis, rash, and alopecia showed remarkable improvements after taking 100 mcg to 10 mg of biotin daily. In another study, daily supplementation of 1 mg of biotin had improved the symptoms of dermatitis in infants. However, more studies in adult humans are warranted to further understand this benefit.

2. May Improve Skin Barrier Function

Carboxylase enzymes are responsible for metabolizing fatty and amino acids, which are dependent on biotin. Biotin triggers the release of carboxylase enzymes that then digest lipids to improve the skin permeability barrier and its antimicrobial barrier function. Biotin also is believed to support the mucous membrane and further strengthen the skin against environmental aggressors.

3. May Help Clear Acne

Biotin may be useful to treat comedonal acne. It also may help control skin flaking and irritation associated with acne. However, more information in this regard is warranted.

4. May Promote Younger Skin

While the correlation between biotin and collagen is yet to be well studied, some believe the nutrient helps boost skin cell turnover rate. This could result in youthful skin. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

How To Use Biotin For The Skin?

You can obtain your recommended dose of biotin by consuming a balanced diet. Hence, your first line of action should be to review your diet and incorporate biotin-rich foods. Also, consume foods in a raw or minimally-processed manner.

You can also consider biotin supplements available as over-the-counter tablets or capsules. It is highly recommended that you first consult a physician rather than self-administering any supplement. It also is vital that you read the information available on the package and only purchase from established and authentic suppliers. Typically, biotin supplements are taken with food.

Frequency Of Using Biotin For The Skin

The recommended daily intake of biotin is around 30 mcg per day. However, the dosage largely depends on the individual’s age, sex, and dietary patterns. For instance, the average diet of the Western population delivers 35 to 70 mcg of biotin per day.

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) suggests that the adequate intake of biotin be around:

  •  5 mcg between birth and 6 months
  •  6 mcg between 7 to 12 months
  •  8 mcg between 1 to 3 years
  •  12 mcg between 4 to 8 years
  •  20 mcg between 9 to 13 years
  •  25 mcg between 14 to 18 years
  •  30 mcg for those over 19 years of age

Pregnant women should take 30 mcg of biotin, which should increase to 35 mcg during lactation.
While biotin has important benefits for the skin, it may also cause some adverse effects.

Side Effects Of Biotin

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. Hence, higher concentrations of biotin are usually flushed out from the body. Biotin toxicity is extremely rare.

However, unmonitored biotin supplementation may cause acne breakouts, a drop in blood glucose levels, and an upset stomach. But these side effects are sporadic and are based on anecdotal evidence. It is nonetheless important to follow the right dosage while taking biotin supplements.

How Long Does Biotin Take To Show Results?

Even though research is quite limited, studies suggest that biotin may take anywhere between 90 to 180 days to show results (improved skin smoothness and moisture, and better hair shine).

However, this is only a rough estimate. Most individuals may not see any significant changes in their skin condition until a few good months since they have upped their biotin intake. The key to achieving more effective results is maintaining consistency.

The Takeaway

Biotin is an essential vitamin that has important skin benefits. It is readily available through food. It helps improve skin texture and clears skin. It also may promote hair health and make your nails stronger. While taking biotin supplements can help, it is important to consult your doctor prior.


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  1. Biotin: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
  2. A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair
  3. Biotin deficiency complicating parenteral alimentation: diagnosis metabolic repercussions and treatment
  4. Biotin deficiency in an infant fed with amino acid formula
  5. The outer frontier: the importance of lipid metabolism in the skin
  6. Biotin: overview of the treatment of diseases of cutaneous appendages and of hyperseborrhea
  7. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin
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  8. Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy
  9. Micronutrient Deficiency in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Cause or Effect?
  10. Biotin Deficiency
  11. Inhibition of intestinal biotin absorption by chronic alcohol feeding: cellular and molecular mechanisms
  12. Biotinidase Deficiency
  13. Nutritional therapy for selected inborn errors of metabolism
  15. Structure and function of biotin-dependent carboxylases
  16. A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).