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The Right Kind of Biotin for Healthier Hair and Skin


There are a whole lot of rumors, hype, and questions swirling around in the health and beauty scene about biotin right now.  Does biotin cause acne?  What are the health consequences for not getting enough biotin?  What is biotin, anyway?

Here’s the skinny on what you actually need to do and not do to make sure you are getting the right amount and kind of biotin.  Spoiler alert: the best thing you can do for your skin is actually to eat some really delicious foods.

What is Biotin?

Biotin is another name for Vitamin B7.  It’s a vitamin found naturally in a variety of healthy foods. Our bodies use all the B vitamins, including biotin, to make energy.  The role of biotin is to take the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats we eat and turn them into energy to help our bodies go. 

What Happens When You Get Too Little Biotin?

It’s pretty hard to not get enough biotin if you eat a normal, healthy diet.  There are some people who have a hard time getting enough biotin usually have one of three issues:  they have a very rare genetic disorder that creates a biotin deficiency, they are dependent on alcohol which hinders ingesting and absorbing nutrients, or they are pregnant or breastfeeding.   

People who don't get enough biotin specifically are more prone to having brittle hair and nails, rashes, pink eye, and other health issues. 

Does Biotin Cause Acne?

You need some biotin in your diet to be healthy.  Everyone who eats a healthy diet gets biotin every day and not everyone who eats a healthy diet has acne.  There is some tentative evidence that ingesting way too much biotin may be related to acne breakouts, but there is no good science to support the idea that getting biotin from healthy foods causes acne.

What is the Right Amount of Biotin?

Babies should consume 5 or 6 micrograms of biotin per day.  Children need between 8 and 25 micrograms per day, depending on age.  Teens and adults are typically recommended to consume at least 19 to 30 micrograms of biotin each day.  Breastfeeding women are encouraged to consume at least 35 micrograms daily. 

How Do You Get the Right Amount of Biotin?

The best way to get the right amount of biotin is to eat a healthy diet.  Biotin is found in meat, eggs, and fish as well as seeds and nuts.  Also, some vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes are good sources of biotin. If you are eating healthy proteins and vegetables regularly, you are probably getting the right amount of biotin.

Should You Worry About Getting Too Much Biotin?

Dietary supplements, like over-the-counter vitamins, can contain way too little or way too much of the vitamins listed in the ingredients.  Some biotin supplements have been found to contain 10,000 micrograms of biotin.  Since the average adult only needs about 30 micrograms, 10,000 is a really huge amount.  More is not always better.   

The best way to make sure that you don’t get too much or too little is to focus on your diet.  Avoiding foods with empty calories is an obvious way to make sure you are getting enough nutrients.  Also, eating foods rich in nutrients is a great way to ensure you don’t get too much of any one nutrient. Here’s how that works. 

If you take a supplement that has 10,000 micrograms of biotin, you just overwhelm your body with about a year’s worth of biotin in one day.  One egg has about 12 micrograms of biotin.  If you wanted to try to eat your way to 10,000 micrograms of biotin in one day, you’d have to consume over 850 eggs within 24 hours!  Because food contains small to moderate amounts of biotin, it is very hard to eat the huge quantities like are contained in the riskier supplements. 

Other Ways to Get Healthier Hair and Skin

Focus on your diet and hygiene.  Eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and keeping your skin clean, exfoliated, and moisturized are the foundation to any good skin and hair care regimen.  Talk to your dermatologist and read up about the type of skin issues you have and what the best products are to help.  

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