First things first: Remember, I’m not a doctor or a medical professional. I’m not qualified to dispense medical advice. My experiences are not gospel, and you should always do your homework and consult a doctor about supplements and whatnot.
After three weeks of use, I started to see desirable results. My shedding slowed back to a normal rate. and over the next month my hair seemed to be in overall better shape. Beyond the hair on my head, my eyebrows have actually fleshed out pretty well – that wasn’t my original goal with the supplement, but a welcomed effect nonetheless, as it means I can spend less time and product on my brows.
It has been nearly eight months, and my hair is happy!
Biotin and Your Skin
My skin, however, is not. In that favorites post, I mentioned that I had read that acne-prone individuals experienced an increase in breakouts. I wouldn’t describe myself as acne-prone, but I didn’t get away scot-free. Just as I thought my skin had stabilized, I started to experience blemishes unlike my usual ones about eight weeks in.
Previously, when I would have breakouts, I typically had them along my hairline or in my T-Zone. These ones, though, were lower – along my jaw line and lower cheek. To top that off, they were painful cystic blemishes that I had no idea how to treat…and that took way longer to heal on their own.
Connecting the Dots
I was panicking. I’ve been very cautious about keeping my skincare routine locked down. For a while, I couldn’t figure out what happened. No dietary changes, no hormonal changes. Eventually, I finally remembered that bit about the connection between biotin and your skin. I dug in further and learned quite a bit.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, and Pantothenic Acid, vitamin B5 are absorbed by the same internal systems in the body. Apparently, in an ideal situation these two vitamins coexist in a relative balance in the body. If you flood your body with B7, though, a disproportionate amount of it is absorbed in comparison to B5, which results in an imbalance and relative deficiency of B5. Into the Gloss has a little more about that.
B5 and the Acid Mantle
Vitamin B5 does a lot of things, but topically, it helps out your acid mantle and improves your skin’s ability to retain moisture. I’ve referenced the importance of maintaining your skin’s acid mantle when I shared my cleanser switch, and a long time ago in a post about not using baking soda.
If you’re interested in more in-depth reading about the acid mantle, you can check that out here.
The supplement I took was a 2,500 mcg (or 2.5 mg) daily dose of Biotin – that’s two gummies. According to the packaging, that’s 833% of your daily value. The catch is that there’s no scientific or medical consensus on what the average person’s biotin intake should be.
On February 4, I stopped taking it for ten days. After that week, I resumed consumption, but modified my dosage to one-third of one gummy per day. So that’s about 138% percent DV, which seems to be a safer gamble as far as balance goes. Fourteen days after my discontinuation (so that’s 10 days of avoidance plus four days of reduced dosage), some of my problem spots started to clear up without aggressive or adjusted treatment measures. I’m 23 days from the onset of discontinuation and haven’t had any new cystic or aggressive blemishes.
The Bottom Line
Little time has passed since I made adjustments, so I will need to continue to monitor progress and report back. Based on my experiences and the experiences of many others (just look at the comments on that Into the Gloss article I linked to earlier).
This Thank Your Skin article on the topic was also interesting. Given the anecdotal reports of the experiences of others and my results so far, my suspicion is that my recent issues were caused due to too much biotin. As always, do your research.