Biotin Might Not Be Good For You

by Jessica Willingham

If you're into haircare and growing long, thick tresses and nails, then chances are you've heard of Biotin. Biotin is this mystical ingredient in scalp treatments, shampoos, and supplements. Most take it in hopes of outgrowing a bad haircut or growing longer locks, but as it turns out, Biotin might not be that good for you after all, and the negative side effects could outweigh the benefits.

According to Into the Gloss, biotin is a type of B vitamin that shows up naturally in your body and the things you eat. "It’s found in foods like egg yolks, salmon, and leafy greens, and it’s also produced in our bodies from intestinal bacteria. Our bodies don’t actually require much biotin to get by, but since it plays a role in cell growth, it’s billed as a way to lengthen hair and strengthen nails," according to the site.

Into the Gloss dove deeper into the science behind the biotin craze and, well, it turns out there isn't much science to look at. Small studies show it can strengthen nails, but there is no real evidence that proves biotin promotes hair growth in healthy people. Really, naturally biotin-deficient people are the only ones benefitting from the supplements. This disorder is marked by brittle hair and nails, and other super unpleasant symptoms.

If you don't have this disorder, taking biotin could result in a new deficiency in your body and cause acne. Eek.

"Both biotin and pantothenic acid–vitamin B5—are absorbed from the intestines via the same receptors," said Dr. Jessica Weiser, a board-certified dermatologist for the New York Dermatology Group. "When taking biotin supplements, the amount of biotin in the gut far outweighs the quantity of vitamin B5, thereby leading to a relative vitamin B5 deficiency. Pantothenic acid is thought to regulate the barrier function of the surface layer on skin and can reduce acne lesions. Therefore, a deficiency of pantothenic acid—or excess of biotin—could lead to acne flares.”

Basically, taking an excess of biotin could lead to a deficiency of B5 and could lead to big trouble in the skin department. I don't know about you, but i'd rather reach for some extra hair spray in lieu of battling a bad acne breakout.

There's only one solution: stop taking the damn stuff and rely on your food and body to provide the sufficient supply of biotin that you need.

“I personally have stopped directly suggesting that patients with nail or hair problems take biotin,” said one derm, according to Into the Gloss. “If someone asks about it, I explain that I am not against it, but that it only helps a few people in rare, specific cases.”

Head over to Into the Gloss for more information on biotin and its affects.

Image Credit: Khanh Hmoong/Flickr