Why Dermatologists Don’t Recommend Biotin Supplements for Hair

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Biotin supplements for hair are everywhere. Consumers have been promised that biotin is the key to strong nails and healthy locks. But that’s only really the case if you’re biotin deficient, which is very rare. Additionally, ingesting too much biotin can cause acne, breakouts, and even disrupt important lab test results.

“Cases of biotin deficiency as a contributing factor to hair loss and nail problems are actually very low,” says Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Boca-Raton, Florida. Caren Campbell, MD, a Northern California board-certified dermatologist, adds, “Most Westerners get a lot of biotin in their diets. Foods rich in biotin include organ meats, eggs, fish, sweet potatoes and almonds.

Biotin supplements can cause lab abnormalities that interfere with results, so taking them when you don’t need them is not a good idea. For example, they can cause the test for troponin, a high blood protein after a heart attack, to appear low, leading to a misdiagnosis. “Additionally, it can cause lab abnormalities with thyroid tests, pregnancy tests, hormone levels, and blood tests for cancer, HIV, and liver disease,” says Dr. Campbell. “If you’re taking biotin and planning to have labs, definitely stop at least a week before your blood work.”

The only time biotin supplementation is recommended is when you are deficient, which can be determined by blood tests. Dr. Campbell says getting tested for biotin deficiency is only really necessary if “you have symptoms such as skin rashes and neurological issues in addition to hair loss and brittle nails.” But again, it’s very rare.

“It is not recommended to supplement biotin unless you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Pregnancy and smoking increase the metabolism (uptake by the body) of biotin, but supplementation in smokers is not recommended,” says Dr. Campbell. “There are rare cases of genetic/hereditary or acquired biotin deficiency. You were born with the genetic cause or can develop a deficiency if you consume raw egg whites over a long period or if you suffer from alcoholism.

If you’re suffering from hair loss and aren’t sure why, both dermatologists recommend seeing a board-certified dermatologist to determine the type of hair loss you’re experiencing.

“If it’s determined by a doctor that you have a type of hair loss possibly associated with a vitamin deficiency or something that could be detected in a lab and treated with supplements or medication, then it’s worth checking out. ‘get blood tests,’ says Dr. Campbell. “Usually iron, zinc and vitamin D are checked and supplemented if they are too low, and vitamin A can be checked if there is concern that it is too high. Thyroid abnormalities can also be associated to hair loss and treated with oral medications like synthroid, so this is often checked as appropriate.

If you have brittle and dull hair rather than hair loss, you can incorporate supplements that help strengthen and revitalize the hair you have. Dr. Fromowitz is a fan of Nurafol and Viviscal.


Available in separate formulas for women and men, Nutrafol works by giving your hair the nutrients it needs to thrive while blocking DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that can shorten the hair growth cycle and shrink its hair. follicle.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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