Supplements That Can Cause Acne

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All vitamins are good for you, right? Generally, this is true, but if you have acne-prone skin, this suddenly becomes a false statement.

If your acne has flared up or seems to be getting worse, you may want to look in your medicine cabinet for the supplements listed below that can cause acne.

Keep in mind, adding a vitamin or herbal supplement to your skincare routine can unexpectedly trigger a breakout. Below are a few of the common culprits that could be putting you at risk for flare-ups:

  • Vitamin B12: A study done at the University of California Los Angeles concludes that Vitamin B12 is linked to several instances of acne in people that take a B12 supplement. B12, naturally found in animal and dairy products, is essential to the body. Vegetarians and vegans or those not getting enough B12 in their diet can have serious health problems. However, an excess of B12 has been shown to cause a disruption in the skin bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes.

Although more research is required, if you have recently added a B12 supplement, or a multivitamin containing B12, this could be the culprit of your breakout.

  • Multivitamins: Most multivitamins contain iodine and biotin (B7), which when consumed on a regular basis, has been known to cause acne. If you are consuming more than the 150 mcg Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Iodine, then you are consuming too much. Keep in mind that is a daily total including food. If you eat any dairy products, seafood, seaweeds, soy products or “salty” foods, then you are already possible overdosing on iodine.

If you are not already consuming too much iodine in your diet (which most people do), then your multivitamin may be a cause of your acne.

Multivitamins also often contain high amounts B12 as we talked about and could also trigger your acne.

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7): Biotin is in Hair Skin and Nails supplements, B-Complex, multivitamins as well as nutritional drink powders found at your local health food store. Biotin causes acne because it is in so many places; including, your shampoo and conditioner, meaning the link between biotin and acne is extremely common.

Biotin & Acne

Biotin Acne

Biotin is one of the worst offenders when it comes to acne because you would think that this supplement is good for acne- but it is not. Also known as B7 and Vitamin H, Biotin is already naturally produced by the body. Taking these supplements is not only unnecessary, but the excess amount of biotin causes acne. Since biotin is in hair, skin and nail vitamins, it continues to fly off the shelves.

Here are a few tips for staying Biotin-free:

  • Toss the multivitamin- 99% of the multivitamins on the market contain biotin and, therefore, trigger acne. Even though they do contain other essential antioxidants and minerals, the biotin, unfortunately, ruins the whole thing. Try replacing your multivitamin with the Clear Skin Trio, a proven combination of supplements designed to clear acne and reduce inflammation from the inside out while delivering essential nutrients for overall wellness.
  • Double check your nutritional drink powders- A lot of “healthy” nutritional drinks (even when sold by a health food store or by a friend representing a health and wellness company) can contain biotin or B7 as an added nutrient. There are lots of choices out there, so we recommend switching to something that is biotin-free to stay acne free.
  • Check the ingredients on your shampoo and conditioner- make sure these beauty products are free of sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate (known pore cloggers) as well as biotin, B7 and Vitamin H.
  • Minimize foods containing biotin- foods high in biotin include egg yolks, organ meats, avocados and cauliflower. These foods in moderation are best to help suppress the link between biotin and acne.

Remember that while the above-listed supplements may be an acne trigger, this is NOT the main cause of your acne. As we discussed on the What is Acne? Acne is first and foremost a genetic condition of the skin turning over too many dead skin cells (a process called retention hyperkeratosis). For some, taking out a supplement that triggers acne may do the trick. However, in most cases, the acne will also need to be treated with a topical homecare regimen as well.

If you are looking for vitamins for acne, read up on Vitamin A, Zinc and Selenium. This combination is a better alternative to other supplements that might potentially aggravate acne.

Take a look at our guide all about hormonal acne treatment for more information.

Ready to clear your acne once and for all? We can help.

From our experience treating thousands of clients, acne usually appears to be triggered by a combination of issues, rather than one. That’s why a typical one-size-fits-all approach rarely works when it comes to clearing and controlling acne over the long run.

If you have tried it all and still have acne, our comprehensive 16-week Online Acne Program is the answer. Our Online Acne Program has a 95% success rate helping thousands of clients get clear. We can help you too!

Get started on your journey to clear by booking an Online Acne Consult today.

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About the Founder: Jessica Gremley

Jessica has been a Medical Esthetician, Certified Acne Specialist and Healing Diets Coach since 2003. After struggling with acne for more than a decade, she became determined to find a way to clear acne without pharmaceuticals for herself and eventually, future clients. Today, she offers a complete acne regimen that combines proven non-comedogenic skincare products, natural supplements, lifestyle coaching, and support from trained acne specialists to achieve lifelong clear skin. She and her staff serve locally at Natural Acne Clinic in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and nationally via NAC’s Online Acne Program.


  1. Hi,
    I’ve just came across your page and I really hope you’d be able to give me some advice. I’ve recently noticed that my hair has been falling out more than normal, so I’ve started taking a supplement with Biotin in it, but now I’ve found that my skin is breaking out quite badly. Would you know of anything that I could try that wouldn’t have bad side effects. I really appreciate all your help. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Alison, biotin causes the skin to breakout because it increases cellular turnover. Excess dead skin causes build-up and congestion in the pores, which then results in an acne breakout. Acne-prone skin is already producing skin cells at 5 times the rate of a normal cell, so when we take biotin, we are exacerbating this condition. I hope this helps answer your question!

    2. Hi Alison, biotin causes breakouts because this supplement increases skin cell production. When we are acne-prone, our skin is already over-producing skin cells, and increasing the rate of production only causes more congestion in the pore, resulting in inflammation and acne breakouts.

  2. Hello,
    If you take Biotin for hair loss or to try to grown your hair and give it strength what other product would you recommend? I see that Sara had the same question.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Michele- Thank you so much for visiting our blog and leaving a comment. You can look into Collagen Powder supplements, Bone Broth, as well as, our Healthy Skin located in our online store. As you have read, Biotin (B7) is supportive for hair, skin, and nails, yet for acne prone skin it contributes to the rapid cell turnover and breakouts. Continue to checkout our blog for additional supportive information! 🙂

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