Biotin for psoriasis: Research, risks, and alternatives
Biotin is important for skin health. Many people believe that biotin supplements can reduce psoriasis symptoms, which can include a scaly, red rash and thinning hair.
However, no strong scientific evidence suggests that biotin supplementation effectively treats psoriasis or other skin problems in otherwise healthy people.
That said, getting extra biotin from food or supplements is generally safe, so some people may wish to try it.
In this article, we look at the effects of biotin on psoriasis, and we list some other ways to treat this chronic skin condition.
What does the research say?
There is little evidence that biotin can benefit skin and hair problems, and no studies have specifically looked at the effects of biotin supplements on psoriasis.
A study from 1985 reported that infants with rash, dermatitis, or alopecia experienced improvements in symptoms after taking 100 micrograms (mcg) to 10 milligrams (mg) of biotin per day.
However, the study only included three infants, and all had biotin deficiency before treatment. Biotin deficiency is rare in healthy people.
Similarly, a 2005 case report of a single infant with low biotin levels indicated that daily supplementation with 1 mg of biotin improved both dermatitis symptoms and hair growth.
Biotin is essential in the human diet because it helps break down fats, glucose, and the amino acids that make up proteins. Biotin is also important for cell signaling and gene regulation.
Animal studies suggest that biotin is necessary for healthy fetal development, but more research is needed in humans.
Biotin may improve hair growth, reduce skin rashes, and encourage healthy nail growth. However, the research supporting these claims is limited to case reports and small-scale studies.
One small-scale 2015 study reported that high doses of biotin may slow the effects and progression of multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system. This study was uncontrolled and non-blind.
However, more recent research, including a study from 2017, suggests that biotin has minimal to no benefit in treating multiple sclerosis.
Some ointments and skin creams may help control mild to moderate psoriasis. These are available over the counter or by prescription. They include:
- calcineurin inhibitors
- coal tar
- colloidal oatmeal in a lukewarm bath
- moisturizing creams
- salicylic acid
- topical retinoid medications
- vitamin D analogs
Using natural remedies may also help some people manage their psoriasis symptoms. Some of these remedies include:
- aloe vera gel
- coconut oil
- tea tree essential oil
- other essential oils
Many people will require a combination of creams or ointments and other treatments.
Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to reduce psoriasis symptoms. The treatment involves receiving controlled doses of light in a clinic or doctor’s office.
Phototherapy may cause some adverse reactions, including skin dryness and nausea.
People with severe psoriasis may need oral or injected medicines, known as systemic treatments. These medications include drugs to alter immune system function or reduce inflammation.
The side effects of systemic treatment can be severe, so doctors typically only prescribe it after trying other options.
Some people find that taking biotin supplements improves their psoriasis symptoms. However, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to support biotin as a treatment.
Biotin is an essential nutrient, and it is safe for most people to take in supplement form. There is likely no harm in trying it for psoriasis symptom relief.
It is best, however, to speak to a doctor before using any new supplement.
If biotin does not reduce psoriasis symptoms, there are many other treatment options. These include lifestyle changes, topical products, medications, and phototherapy. People may need to work with their doctors for some time before finding an effective treatment plan.
Biotin is not a proven treatment for psoriasis. If a person wishes to try biotin or other treatments mentioned in this article, many are available to purchase online:
- Shop for biotin supplements.
- Shop for curcumin supplements.
- Shop for coal tar.
- Shop for colloidal oatmeal.
- Shop for moisturizer for psoriasis.
- Shop for aloe vera gel.
- Shop for coconut oil.
- Shop for tea tree essential oil.
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