Spotlight On: Biotin

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Biotin, a member of the B-vitamin family also known as vitamin H, is often recommended in formulations for the skin, hair, and nails. While biotin has no documented benefits for the skin, it is still a dermatologist’s friend because of its tremendous benefits for the hair and nails. According to Dr. Audrey Kunin, board-certified Kansas City dermatologist and founder of DERMADoctor.com, biotin deficiencies lead to hair loss and fragility, while nails become similarly fragile and brittle.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 found that daily supplementation of 2.5 mg biotin lead to 25% thicker nails over the course of 15 months. A second study revealed that 63% of 44 patients experienced improvements of their brittle nails after just 6 months, while 37% had no change.

It has been reported that the only supplement that can improve nail growth is biotin. It has been reported that 80% of people with brittle nails who switched to a biotin-rich diet had normal nails within a few months. For this reason, Kunin and other experts recommend taking at least 2500-3000 mcg (2.5-3.0 mg) of biotin per day. Two great products that contain biotin are DermaVite Dietary Supplement ($19.75 for 60-day supply of 600 mg/day, DermaDoctor.com) and GNC Hair, Skin, and Nails Formula with biotin and lutein for the skin ($17.99 for 60-day supply of 300 mg/day, Drugstore.com). According to Dr. Kunin, biotin is also available in brewer’s yeast, corn, barley, soybeans, walnuts, peanuts, molasses, cauliflower, milk, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.

Keep in mind that the benefits of biotin have only been shown through oral supplementation. Research has not demonstrated effects for topically applying biotin to the hair or nails, so keep that in mind before you buy anything but biotin in supplement form! 🙂

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Nicki Zevola is the founder and editor-in-chief of FutureDerm.com. Named one of the top 30 beauty bloggers in the world by Konector.com since 2009, Nicki