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Biotin’s Potential Impact on Seborrheic Dermatitis

When it comes to managing skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis, the potential role of vitamins and supplements often comes into focus. One such supplement is biotin, also known as vitamin B7. This article explores the potential role of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis and its implications for treatment.

TLDR: This article explores the potential impact of biotin (vitamin B7) on seborrheic dermatitis. While biotin deficiency may be linked to the condition, the evidence for using biotin as a treatment is limited. Research suggests it might help in certain cases, but more rigorous studies are needed. Biotin’s role in skin health and its safety concerns are also discussed. Always consult a healthcare professional before considering biotin or other supplements for skin health.

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder characterized by red, flaking, greasy areas of skin. The exact causes are not completely understood, but it involves multiple factors including sebum secretion, the presence of Malassezia yeast, and the host’s immune response [1]. Despite a range of current treatments like antifungal agents, topical corticosteroids, and calcineurin inhibitors [1], there’s a need for improved formulation design to balance efficacy, safety, and consumer appeal.

What Is Biotin?

Biotin is an essential B vitamin that goes by a few other names – vitamin B7, vitamin H, or coenzyme R. It helps the body convert food into energy. Biotin also plays an important part in the health of the skin, hair, and nails. The recommended daily intake is 30 mcg for adults and pregnant women.

Dietary Sources of Biotin

For those considering increasing their biotin intake naturally, several foods are high in this vitamin [2]. These include:

  • Peanuts
  • Red peppers
  • Liver (cattle, swine, and chicken)
  • Kidney (cattle)
  • Egg yolk
  • Instant coffee
  • Dried baker’s yeast
  • Royal jelly

However, it’s important to remember that while these foods can contribute towards a balanced diet and potentially help maintain normal biotin levels, they are not a guaranteed solution for seborrheic dermatitis.

Biotin is also added to many multivitamins and sold as an individual supplement, especially for hair, skin, and nail health.

Biotin Deficiency and Seborrheic Dermatitis

There are a few links between biotin deficiency and seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Congenital biotinidase deficiency – This rare inherited disorder prevents the body from recycling and reusing biotin. It leads to severe, lifelong biotin deficiency. Skin rashes, including seborrheic dermatitis, are common symptoms.
  • Medications – Certain medications are known to potentially cause biotin deficiency. This includes some anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy. Seborrheic dermatitis is a reported side effect in people taking anticonvulsants over the long term.
  • Malabsorption disorders – Diseases that affect absorption of nutrients like Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome can result in biotin deficiency. They are also linked to an increased risk of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Pregnancy/breastfeeding – Biotin requirements go up during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Deficiency has been observed in women during this time, some of whom develop seborrheic dermatitis that improves with biotin supplementation.

The research indicates biotin deficiency could make someone more prone to seborrheic dermatitis, and supplementing biotin may help manage symptoms. But the evidence for using biotin specifically as a treatment remains limited.

Biotin’s Role in Skin Health

Biotin plays a crucial role in skin health, and its deficiency can lead to various skin-related issues [3]. For instance, it can result in a scaly red skin rash, especially around the eyes, nose, mouth, and perineal orifices [4]. It’s also been associated with irritant contact dermatitis characterized by enhanced ATP production in the skin [5].

Biotin Supplementation: A Potential Treatment?

Given these findings, it’s not surprising that biotin supplementation has been widely recommended for hair, skin, and nail conditions [6]. One study (granted the study was funded by the makers of this branded supplement) found significant improvement in seborrheic dermatitis severity and subjective symptoms such as itching and sleep disturbances after using Natubiotin, a vitamin therapy with biotin [7].

Additional Research on Biotin for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Here is a summary of what studies have found so far on the potential benefits of biotin for seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Infants with seborrheic dermatitis were treated with oral biotin in two studies from the 1970s. One found a moderate benefit [8] while the other found no improvement compared to placebo [9].
  • In infants and children with inborn errors of metabolism that result in biotin deficiency, like phenylketonuria (PKU), biotin supplementation in combination with dietary changes helped clear seborrheic dermatitis skin lesions [10].
  • A small study in 2001 observed low blood levels of biotin in people with seborrheic dermatitis compared to those with healthy skin [11]. The researchers concluded biotin status should be evaluated in those with chronic, treatment-resistant seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Several case reports describe seborrheic dermatitis appearing or worsening in people taking medications that can cause biotin deficiency, like anticonvulsants [12]. Skin symptoms improved for most when biotin supplements were added.
  • Injections of biotin to nursing mothers have been found to be beneficial in treating seborrheic dermatitis in breast-fed infants [13]

Overall, the research hints at benefits for some cases of seborrheic dermatitis but is still very limited in scope. Larger, more rigorous clinical trials are needed to truly determine if biotin supplementation can help treat this condition – and especially when it comes to infants [14, 15].

Biotin for Hair Loss and Alopecia

In addition to seborrheic dermatitis, biotin supplementation has been studied for other hair and scalp disorders like alopecia. Alopecia refers to excessive hair loss or balding from the scalp or body. This is particularly relevant because seborrheic dermatitis affecting the scalp can also result in significant hair loss for some patients. Several studies have found links between low blood biotin levels and different types of alopecia:

Several studies have found links between low blood biotin levels and different types of alopecia:

  • A 2018 study observed that men with male pattern baldness had suboptimal serum biotin compared to those with healthy hair. The researchers suggested biotin supplements might help improve hair quality [16].
  • Another study in 2022 looked at using platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections along with oral biotin for androgenetic alopecia in men. The combination resulted in significantly increased hair regrowth compared to PRP alone [17].
  • People with alopecia areata were found to have lower blood biotin in a 2020 study. This points to a potential role of biotin deficiency in the disease pathogenesis [18].
  • Children with alopecia and biotin deficiency were given biotin supplements in a 2019 study. Biotin administration prevented abnormal excretion of proteins involved in hair growth [19].

The findings indicate that inadequate biotin levels may contribute to some forms of alopecia. Correcting this deficiency through supplementation could help improve hair regrowth, especially when combined with other treatments. More research is still needed though.

Safety Concerns with Biotin Supplementation

While biotin supplementation may seem like a promising treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, it’s crucial to consider potential safety concerns [6]. The FDA has issued warnings about the interference of biotin with laboratory testing, which can lead to incorrect diagnoses and potentially fatal adverse events [20]. High concentrations of biotin in supplements have also been shown to cause morphological changes in testes, affecting spermatogenesis function [21]. Therefore, more research is needed to fully understand its safety and potential risks [22].

Considering Biotin for Seborrheic Dermatitis

When contemplating the use of biotin for managing seborrheic dermatitis, it’s essential to approach it with care and a well-informed perspective. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Always Seek Professional Guidance: Before introducing any new supplement into your routine, including biotin, consult your healthcare provider. This is especially crucial if you are already on medications or undergoing medical treatments.
  • Appropriate Dosage: according to Mayo Clinic’s recommendations, the amount of biotin taken by mouth to prevent deficiency is 30 to 100 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults and teenagers. If you are considering biotin supplementation for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis, the treatment dose should be determined by your healthcare provider, tailored to your individual needs based on the severity of deficiency.
  • Combine Therapies: Biotin alone is unlikely to serve as a miracle cure for seborrheic dermatitis. To maximize your chances of success, it’s advisable to combine biotin supplementation with conventional dandruff treatments and other therapies.
  • Prioritize Hygiene: Continue with good hygiene practices, as these are fundamental in managing seborrheic dermatitis. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the affected areas can help control symptoms.

Rely on Professional Diagnosis

  • Seek Accurate Diagnosis: Always consult a healthcare professional if you experience a persistent rash or skin symptoms. Seborrheic dermatitis shares similarities with other skin conditions like psoriasis and fungal infections, and an accurate diagnosis is vital.


In conclusion, the potential benefits of biotin in managing seborrheic dermatitis are intriguing. While biotin deficiency has been associated with this skin disorder, and supplementation has shown promise in some cases, further research is required to comprehensively understand its effectiveness and safety. Always prioritize consulting with a healthcare expert before considering biotin or any other supplements for your skin health.


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  3. Calvin J. Cable, Nihal Kaplan, Spiro Getsios, Paul M. Thomas, Bethany E. Perez White "Biotin Identification Proteomics in Three-Dimensional Organotypic Human Skin Cultures" Springer US (2019): 185-197.
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  11. G CHIARI "[Blood level of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis, Leiner’s disease and eczema in infants]." Bollettino della Societa italiana di biologia sperimentale 28.7 (2003): 1427-9. PubMed
  12. Bianca M Piraccini, Enzo Berardesca, Gabriella Fabbrocini, Giuseppe Micali, Antonella Tosti "Biotin: overview of the treatment of diseases of cutaneous appendages and of hyperseborrhea." Giornale italiano di dermatologia e venereologia : organo ufficiale, Societa italiana di dermatologia e sifilografia 154.5 (2020): 557-566. PubMed
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About Michael Anders

After being affected by seborrheic dermatitis, I have made it my goal to gather and organize all the information that has helped me in my journey.

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