Biotin, or vitamin B-7, is an essential nutrient for the human body. Some people use biotin supplements to manage symptoms of psoriasis.
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.
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.
Because of the lack of scientific data about using biotin for psoriasis or other skin conditions in people with normal biotin levels, there is no set treatment dosage.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend an adequate daily intake of biotin for adults as:
- 30 mcg daily for people aged 19 and older, including during pregnancy
- 35 mcg daily while breastfeeding
Biotin is available in supplement form alone, in combination with other B vitamins, or as part of a multivitamin supplement.
Foods rich in biotin include:
- organ meats, such as beef liver
- fish, such as canned salmon
- seeds, including sunflower seeds
- some vegetables, such as sweet potatoes
- nuts, including almonds
Biotin is generally safe to take, even in high doses. There is currently no evidence to suggest that taking large quantities of biotin is toxic to humans.
However, high doses can interfere with some medical tests, including those that help diagnose thyroid problems. This can lead to misdiagnoses of health conditions or inappropriate treatment.
It is a good idea to consult a doctor before taking any new supplement or herbal remedy.
People who wish to take biotin supplements should choose high-quality products from reputable suppliers. This is because the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements for quality and consistency.
Given the lack of regulation, not all supplements do what they claim. Some may contain ingredients that are not on the label, and these may interact with other medications.
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.
There is no cure for psoriasis, so the goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and bring about remission. Remission refers to periods when symptoms reduce or disappear completely.
Potential treatments for psoriasis include taking supplements, avoiding triggers, taking medications, and using light therapy.
Some people believe that natural supplements can improve psoriasis symptoms. Beyond biotin, some of these supplements include:
- Curcumin. This compound is present in turmeric. Animal research suggests that its anti-inflammatory effects may lead to a decrease in psoriasis-like symptoms.
- Omega-3 fats. These acids, found in fish, nuts, and seeds, have anti-inflammatory effects. The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests that some people with psoriasis may benefit from increasing their omega-3 fat intake. However, research into this treatment shows mixed results.
- Vitamin D. Topical treatments for psoriasis sometimes contain synthetic forms of vitamin D. The evidence supporting this treatment is limited, however, and taking oral vitamin D for psoriasis remains controversial.
Certain factors can prompt the onset of psoriasis or cause existing symptoms to get worse.
Identifying and avoiding triggers can help prevent psoriasis symptoms or reduce their severity.
Common psoriasis triggers include:
- changes in weather
- food allergies
- vitamin deficiencies and other dietary factors
- infections that weaken the immune system, such as bronchitis and strep throat
- skin damage, including severe sunburn, bug bites, or picking at the skin
- heavy alcohol use
- certain medications, including drugs for malaria, high blood pressure, or heart problems
Psoriasis triggers vary from one person to another. Keeping a diary can help people identify and avoid their unique triggers.
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:
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: