biotin: the good, the bad, the ugly

As a typical woman, I love a nice set of nails. No... I love a gorgeous set of nails. To my misfortune, I was not blessed with naturally long, strong, and beautiful nails. Thanks, mom! And unluckily, I don't have very long nail beds either so my nails have to be pretty long for them to actually look long. And to top it all of, my nails are paper thin. I'm talking break-every-other-day, peel-like-a-bad-sunburn, and almost transparent thin. I was crushed knowing that I could never have beautiful long nails without having high maintenance acrylics. I then discovered the supplement Biotin. It is described as a supplement supposed to help the skin, nails, and hair.
I started off by taking 1,000 mcg a day. Absolutely no improvement. NONE. I then bumped it up to 3,000 mcg, and my nails were a little stronger. I took these low dosages for about 3 months, before bumping it up to 5,000 (pictured). Within a month of taking the 5k, my nails were STRONG. They wouldn't bend, they grew pretty damn fast, and they stopped breaking.

My nails back in April.

My nails a couple weeks ago.

I thought I had found my solution. I finally had the nails I wanted, I felt ultra feminine, and I could play with all the polish my heart desired!
One day, I found a review of Biotin on Makeup Alley. After scrolling down some reviews, I saw it: ACNE. I had always had pretty clear skin, with a small occasional breakout while PMSing. But ever since a couple months back, it has gotten BAD. I'm talking new pimples every other day which were big, painful, and took forever to heal. I have a strict skincare routine which I never disobey, so I was dumbfounded. That day I read the review, I had an epiphany. My acne didn't start to worsen until after a few weeks into taking Biotin in high dosages. I did more research on it, went on several forums where Biotin was reviewed, and almost every reviewer said it caused bad acne. Some said the acne would go away if you drank a lot of water (which I do, I drink 100oz a day and my I would still break out) and take it with other vitamins (which I also do). I thought it was supposed to be a SKIN supplement. My hair also got ridiculously thick. I had always had baby fine hair which I loved, and suddenly my hair was thick, hard to manage, and always looked bad. I couldn't win. So I stopped taking Biotin completely a couple weeks back. My hair is starting to get thinner, and my skin has gotten a little better, so I guess time is key here. I ended up just cutting my nails pretty short. Yes, I had to sacrifice my long, strong nails, but I gladly cut them off knowing my skin may clear up. And hey, now I can do more activities and not have to worry about clawing my eyes out in the middle of the night. :)


  1. dude, thanks for that!
    so interesting. but yeah i'd take good skin over brittle nails any day.

    i have heard about pregnancy pills being good for all that. a while back i was taking the nails, hair and skin vitamin (generic brand) but i guess they give proper dosages without the nasty side effects.

    i find short nails cute these days anywho. love your nail colors there...
    and ramble ramble ramble. lmao.

  2. hey clara:

    awesome review!! have you tried the vitimans by futurebiotics called hair, skin, and nails?? i take it three times daily and for the last two months, i have not noticed any bad side effects. my hair has grown a lot quicker [which is why i wanted it!] and my nail seems to be a lot stronger. as for my skin, i really haven't noticed any difference at all, in terms of better or worse. check it out, there are also tons of reviews for it online. hth!

  3. Thank you for the review! I have the same problem with my nails! I have recently started to use OPI's Nail Envy to try and strengthen my nails since they never seem to be able to grow out much without breaking or peeling, and I didn't want to take supplements. I never expected it to work as well as it has been so far. My nails don't even bend anymore, and they have never been so long! It still baffles me!

  4. I use

    Omega 3-6-9, a B-vitamin complex and protein powder to get my skin, nails and hair in shape againg and it worked.

  5. hey!
    i have the same problem with my nails as you. but there is a product that really works wonders for me and a lot of other people! :) i dont know if you will be able to get it, its basically a nail hardener. it does contain formaldehyde though which is supposed to be dangerous but i had no side effects.. :)

    so its called LCN Nail Power, google it. you do a treatment with it for about a month or two and your nails will be AMAZING. after that you can just use it as a base coat.
    well i thought you might be interested, check it out ^^

  6. man im starting to think ppl are right about biotin causing acne. my acne has gotten ALOT worse only withing a week of starting my 5000 mcg dosage of biotin. im def gonna try drinking water before giving up the biotin lol

  7. i started taking biotin to help my hair and it wrecked my face too :( never again.

  8. My acne has increased the more I age..(which is weird since I had fewer pimples in my teenage years), and my skin has become drier too. I think it is due to my poor diet and lack of nutrition. Perhaps you could try R-lipoic acid. R-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that benefits the skin, neurological health, glucose metabolism (for those with diabetes) and regenerates Vitamins E & C. It also decreases the amount of Biotin in the body so perhaps adding it could balance out if you take a high dose of Biotin. I read that both should not be taken at the same exact time though. But check the ingredient list, some R-lipoic brands add in Biotin. I can't give you my experience since I just started taking both supplements this week.

  9. Omgosh, thanks for letting me know, this was a good post. Thanks.

  10. WOW!!! your nails sound just like mine :( I have been taking biotin 5000mcg for several years.. and now just bumped it up to 10,000mcg a day...I never noticed my nails getting stronger...maybe a little, but not the stong nails I wanted and envied...I am not blessed with strong nails whatsoever (thnx mom) and don't think I ever will be :( I am still taking the biotin, and have added a prenatal supplement as well and Im not pregnant....I have tried every nail hardener out there.. from the cheaper versions like S.H..and dollar store treatments...only to be disappointed :( then i tried the OPI nail envy, since the beauty school I was attending sold it for a cheaper price than anywhere else..and that to did nothing :( I even resorted to try out these chemical free nail treatments that I found online...not much difference...So I decided to go back to the acrylic nails that I had so faithfully done on and off for a few years..only to find out early this year..that I was somehow having an allergic reation to them :( Im talking, red dots the size of pin heads around my cuticles, those would turn to blisters the size of the red dots, my skin would peel and itch terribly....took the falsies off, and wahlah...no more issue..put them back on (I know, why? u may ask) because my nails suck :( and the symptoms came back..so I am just trying out the all natural way...well almost :) I am trying out the press on nails until my nails grow out from the damage of acrylics...acrylic nails are pretty, but are pricey to maintain..and ruin and I mean ruin your natural nails : I am happy that I found your blog...and sorry to hear that the biotin didn't work for u...I guess different things react differently to differnt people...best of luck to you and i look forward to reading more of your blogs

  11. Taking msm will do the same thing but without the skin problems. Do some reading on it and good luck

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  13. MSM can also cause acne...Since it helps cleanse your body from toxins, it results in acne if not careful with the dosage. I stating this from experience e_____e

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  41. Don't you think you should have taken a lower dosage? i mean the results of a lower dosage may take longer to notice but taking too much of any supplement is bad for you. besides i think the body has got to get used to it. just my thoughts

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  45. Oh my gosh, my body hair is growing crazy . I feel so gross ! Once i stop taking the vitamin, will my normal body hair growth return ?

    1. Hi Miya, just read this now - having the same ugly problem and just got the clue it might have been the biotin I was taking...too late...Now having long peach fuzz on my whole body -uughhh....So did your body hair go back to normal? And howmlong did you have to wait for it? Thanks for your reply!!!

  46. Oh my gosh, my body hair is growing crazy . I feel so gross ! Once i stop taking the vitamin, will my normal body hair growth return ?

  47. So what's the deal with all the fake anonymous commenters? Did the blog author pay for them to post (get your blog higher in the search engine listings) or did you get hit with spammers?

    I came by way of your blog the legit way, searching info on Biotin (good or bad) thru Google.

    I'm leaning towards spammers, however because Clara has not addressed it or commented about it in any of the blog posts that's why it seems suspicious. These fake comments are in many of her blog posts, depending on what she tagged them as.

    None of this matters anyway, I would consider this a dead blog -- no blog post since June 19th and before that February. In addition I'm curious as to why she doesn't link any facebook, twitter, youtube, G+ (I'm sure I'm leaving out 12 other social networks lol)

    Nice info on Biotin.wish you well.

  48. Biotin is dangerous. It causes chest pains, acne, numbness in your arms. I am now suffering from taking 5000 mcg a day. I took it for two months and now have quit. I model and am very fit.I eat healthy and worout. I dont drink or do drugs or take any other pills or vitamins. I took it for rapid hair growth but now I wish I didnt. Has anyone else experienced chest pains?

    1. Yes, I have noticed that when I take 5000 mcg of Biotin, I get chest pains! So glad to see others on the internet who have experienced this!

  49. I been taken 5000 mcg blog going on over year now, I believe that the brand make a big different because I can not take this brand it does not agree with body , but I do taken them the brand I find is Hair Obsession Vitamins , they are an supplement which has more than 5000 mcg biotin in them I believe that what make it difference , I still drink plenty of water which anyone who is taken biotin should. These supplement balance everything out you can take an look at the ingredients they are list at http://www.hairobsessionstore.net/frequently-asked-questions.html or google hair obsession supplements ingredients. I hope this help someone,

  50. I saw an ad for TRM Gro Hoof 500g. Oddly it is used for horse hooves. It comes in a huge pail, lol. I wonder if it works?

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