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Nowadays, the skincare market is more crowded than ever, and companies are looking for new ways to stand out. Considering that studies have shown ingredients that are ingested may have more effects for your skin than when the same ingredients are topically applied ( ), more companies are looking to develop vitamins for your skin.
Biotin pills have been proven to help your hair and nails grow, particularly when you have a deficiency. However, when it comes to the effects of biotin for the skin, the results seem to be proven for only those people with certain skin conditions (i.e., dermatitis, severely dry skin, or in those with Candida infections or biotin deficiencies). There does not seem to be adequate information to support biotin supplementation for fine lines, wrinkles, or collagen loss, in my opinion.
How Biotin Works
In plain English, biotin is necessary for cellular metabolism and fatty acid creation. If you have a severe biotin deficiency, you’re not producing or metabolizing fatty acids properly (Seminars in Dermatology, 1991).
In more scientific terms, biotin is acts as an essential cofactor for four carboxylases, each of which catalyzes an essential step in intermediary metabolism. For example, acetyl-CoA carboxylase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in fatty acid elongation (Seminars in Dermatology, 1991).
Considering that fatty acids are necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails, you’re likely to experience hair loss and a scaly, dry skin condition known as “erythematous dermatitis” with a biotin deficiency.
Biotin for Dermatitis and/or Severely Dry Skin
Seborrheic dermatitis is often seen in persons with a biotin deficiency (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1985). It is characterized by a red, scaly rash, most often around the nose, behind the ears, or around the mouth.
Biotin has been shown to help infants with seborrheic dermatitis (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1985) and adults with doses up to 200 mg per day. While a few studies refute the idea biotin supplementation is helpful for dermatitis or severely dry skin (Archives of Disease in Childhood), several other studies support the claim (The Journal of Pediatrics, 1972; American Family Physician).
Because biotin is water soluble and thus passes through the system quickly, with minimum side effects, I have no issue recommending biotin for dry skin or seborrheic dermatitis.
Biotin for those with Candida Infections
Candida cleanses are all the rage, and for a reason: There are over 20 species of Candida, and it has become a threat in hospitalized patients in several countries (CDC). Candida infection is, however, often overlooked by medical professionals because its symptoms are often more uncomfortable than life-threatening. Issues like fatigue, cravings for sweets, low sex drive, digestive issues and a weakened immune system are often seen (Dr. Axe), but seldom treated by a physician of traditional western medicine.
When it comes to Candida and the skin, the rash often is reddened, itchy, or sore. It is commonly found in areas in the armpits, in the groin, between the fingers, and under the breasts. Candida can also cause infections in the nails, edges of the nails, and corners of the mouth (Healthline).
Biotin for those with Biotin Deficiencies
If you don’t eat a lot of eggs, nuts, whole grains, meat, and fruits and veggies, but also have severely dry skin and/or a rash, you may very well have a biotin deficiency. Up to 200 mg per day is recommended.
I’ll give it to you straight: FutureDerm is mostly a skincare blog from a cosmetic perspective. If you’re primarily concerned about fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sagging skin, or cosmetic changes in your features as you age, I don’t believe supplementing with biotin daily is going to help you. (For the record, I do believe in supplementing with collagen-supporting vitamin C, fatty acids like fish oil, and antioxidants like glutathione and selenium).
On the other hand, if you have a medical concern like a red rash or dry skin that is unaided by any moisturizer you’ve tried, and you don’t eat a particularly healthy diet, I would recommend supplementing with biotin and seeing a dermatologist, stat.
Hope this helps! Feel free to reach out to me anytime with your questions on Instagram, or hit me up via email at nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and read questions from our readers I answer every week!