Biotin: overview of the treatment of diseases of cutaneous appendages and of hyperseborrhea

G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Oct;154(5):557-566. doi: 10.23736/S0392-0488.19.06434-4.


One of the most common micronutrient deficiencies with cutaneous findings is the vitamin B, also known as biotin, deficiency. Biotin deficiency may be due to congenital lack of biotinidase, or acquired following some conditions that interfere with its absorption, such as inflammatory bowel disorders, a diet too rich in avidin, magnesium deficiency, smoking habit and treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, anticonvulsants and sulfonamides. This review highlights the role of biotin in the most common skin disorders such associated with biotin deficiency and an approach to their treatment. Biotin administration may improve the treatment of hair loss when deficiency is detected on the basis of a careful patient history, clinical examination and the determination of serum biotin levels. The use of biotin is rationale in seborrheic dermatitis as the vitamin intercepts the main metabolic pathways underlying the pathogenesis of the disease. Treatment with biotin could also be useful in comedonal acne characterized by a high rate of seborrhea, and may be helpful for acne treated with topical retinoids, contributing to the control of flaking and irritation. The tolerability of biotin is excellent and there is no risk of hypervitaminosis even in the case of high doses. It is important that administration is controlled by physicians and follows a medical diagnosis and prescription. Correct doses used in dermatological conditions are safe and are not at risk of interference with laboratory tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / drug therapy
  • Biotin / administration & dosage*
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Biotinidase / metabolism
  • Biotinidase Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Biotinidase Deficiency / pathology*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*


  • Biotin
  • Biotinidase

Supplementary concepts

  • Biotin deficiency