Biotin Can Contribute to Huge Acne Breakouts in Those Who Are Acne Prone
Hey hey! Want to help your skin? Seems only natural to snag those “Hair, Skin, and Nails” vitamins you’ve seen at CVS. Please don’t- if you have acne-prone skin this will make things go south very quickly for you. How? WHY? Glad you asked, here’s the deal. Acne is inherently linked (if not directly caused by) a genetic predisposition called “Hyper-Keratosis.” Keratin is the outermost layer of your skin (it’s those white flakes that come off when you scratch). “Hyper” means “excessive amount.” “Keratosis” is the term used to denote the keratin-production cycle. Put it together, acneic skin is fundamentally linked to a excessive amount of keratin already present in our skin. Those of us who are prone to acne have a genetically high abundance of this surface protein which makes it naturally more difficult for our sweet pores to remain free of clogs. We produce up to 5X more than those lucky bastards who never break out. People who have acne generally also possess a higher level of oil, but the hyper-keratosis is the driver when we speak on aggressive, cystic, or inflamed acne. Biotin makes this abundance shoot into massive overdrive even more, which will make any clogs become buried further into your skin, likely leading to cystic acne very quickly. Biotin is like adding gasoline to a fire, except it’s so counterintuitive that we don’t make that connection (until a few weeks later after we start to see keratosis-pilaris bumps pop up on our arms.) Same thing can happen when taking collagen supplements, just be aware!
Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin, it’s B7 to be specific. Thankfully it’s water-soluble so we can flush out the abundance fairly quickly, unlike excessive Vitamin D which gets stored in our fat cells and takes a bit longer to excrete. The devil is in the dosage, as with everything, but standard Biotin supplements can have as much as 10,000 mcg. The RDI (normal daily amount a human should consume) is only 30 mcg. See what we mean by “the devil is in the dosage”? 10,000 vs. 30. That’s insane, and it will accelerate your acne VERY quickly, often leading to cystic lesions that leave aggressive scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (“PIH” / dark marks). It’s critical to note that supplements have side effects too; the additional side effect of taking a supplement like this is that it competes with and distorts the receptor activity for other B-vitamins, like B5 (Pantothenic acid) which is crucial for skin and adrenal health. There is ALWAYS a side effect with supplements, please remember this and instead focus on getting your nutrients from your food. Eggs are a natural source of Biotin, and the amount with not backfire on you the same way a supplement will.
What to do if you’ve been taking Biotin and are seeing more acne? Stop taking immediately and begin a daily exfoliation regimen to account for the excessive skin; we recommend the Antioxidant Scrub and a Mandelic or Polyhydroxy Acid serum to physically uncover the pores and clear out the material clogging the follicle. The Scrub helps with the excess skin, the acid serum helps dissolve oils and sebum. It’s a one-two punch that is extremely therapeutic for skin that has been bombarded with more material that it can reasonably shed! Hydration is also key; an aloe based moisturizer can help restore tranquility as it’s rebounding while the CLEARstem signature serum will restore proper barrier health, halt inflammation, and reverse scar tissue. Aim for a gallon (4 liters) a day of water to speed up healing exponentially. You got this, and we got you. Cheers from CLEARstem and San Diego Acne Clinic.