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I wrote a post on Viviscal hair vitamins and decided it would be a great idea to post my thoughts/opinions on mega-dose vitamins and the different types of hair, skin, and nail vitamins that I’ve tried. I haven’t used Viviscal, but I’ve been curious because of some YTers who do. It is quite pricey though…

I’ve taken quite a few things including store brand hair and nail vitamins. I will do a write up on biotin, MSM, Hairfinity, and Fast Grow. At the end if the series, I’ll write about my favorite so far.

First up is biotin.  Signs of biotin deficiency include brittle chipped nails and hair loss. Deficiency, however, is very rare. [Source] It seems that amongst the natural hair community, biotin or Vitamin H is hailed as the holy grail in hair growth mega dosing.

I took Spring Valley brand 5,000 mcg pills once per day for a while. What I noticed rather quickly is that the biotin caused extremely painful cystic acne breakouts on my face and back. I get hormonal breakouts now and then but this was nothing like the acne that biotin caused. My spots hurt all the time. Many users have reported something similar. They say take b-complex and drink plenty of water to prevent this. I did take super b-complex (and a multi) with the biotin. I regularly drink 2 liters of water a day and about 24-32 ounces of tea (I know, crazy amount). It made no difference. Biotin did not work for me at all. It took months to cleanse it from my body and get rid of the acne all together. The aftermath was terrible scarring and hyperpigmentation.

I will never take biotin again. What it did to my skin was not worth any growth in my hair. I didn’t really get a chance to take notice of changes in my hair because I was so distraught by everything else. I will say that months and months later, I did end up using some of the biotin in a topical oil mix. I had a bald spot at the back of my head caused by at-home hair coloring. I mixed some castor oil, cayenne pepper, and opened up a few biotin pills and popped the powder in there. After months of being clean bald, I used the oil mix and I finally had some fuzz in that area. I can’t necessarily contribute the growth to the biotin because it was mixed with other stuff, but I did get to use up some of the pills.

The takeaway from this for me is that mega dosing with this particular vitamin did more harm than good. While some people benefit from taking it, I was not one of them. Do you research before supplementing and be aware of (and prepared for) all the possible outcomes.

A lower dosage is perhaps a safer alternative if you are concerned about side effects. And there are a few Biotin conditioners on the market.

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55 Responses to My Experience With Biotin- 5,000 mcg

  1. lilly says:

    Girl YES!!! I have had such a horrible experience with the Hairfinity pills. My skin (I.e face, back, upper arms, neck,etc) has been breaking out something awful. I stopped taking the pills moths ago, and I’m still experiencing breakouts. I just want my skin to go back to normal, and get over this crap. 🙁

    • Jay says:

      I actually liked Hairfinity a lot and will take them in the future. Biotin, however, was terrible. Every supplement works different for everyone and unfortunately you don’t know how you’ll react until you try it. I’ve been been there with the breakouts. It truly is a nightmare. Try juicing and eating clean and drinking plenty of water, that definitely helped me. GL!

      • Anna says:

        Hi I’m a Caucasian girl the website it came up when I put in hairfinity. I’ve been taking it about a week and have experienced like rashy little spots all over my chin I’m not worried the pills may be stimulating growth here? Did anyone else experience this to reassure me these little spots aren’t gonna turn into a beard!?!

        • Jay says:

          I’m not sure if you’re taking biotin or Hairfinity from your post… Either way, it’s been my experience that I haven’t grown hair any place that it hadn’t already been- I’ve never had hair on my chin and I didn’t grow any with Hairfinity. Others who have hair there will continue to grow hair there.

          What you’re describing actually sounds like an allergy. It’s best to stop taking whatever you are taking and seek advice from a medical professional.

        • That’s EXACTLY what happens to me when I take a hair-skin-nails supplement! I was like wth…I’m getting a pimple-beard! So I had to stop taking them. Unfortunately I have hyperpigmentation there now from it so the damage is done 🙁

        • When I took the Biotin, I started getting acne on my face where a beard would be, just as u said – I stopped using it because of that! I was like, I do not want a pimple-beard!! Then I remembered that it is water soluble, and had an idea. I tried again, and this time, a few times a day, I rinse my face with warm water and pat dry – no more problems! Maybe I am rinsing away excess biotin or toxins or something that is coming through the skin via whatever mechanics Biotin uses for skin become “good” – it must be considered a skin vitamin for some reason Lol but yeah – that’s the only thing that made the acne come to a complete halt. Now, I don’t wash my face with anything but warm water and hands, the natural face oils melting keeps my face from being dry. And even through “that time,” it’s all been good! 🙂 For the record I take the Nature’s Bounty Gummies Hair,Skin, Nail vitamin (from CVS/Walgreens/Walmart). I also drink a liter of water a day. 2 max.

          • Husna says:

            May i know how much mcg you take?

          • Anonymous says:

            It was the 5,000 mcg – I actually stopped it altogether and moved on to just using MSM powder instead (don’t know if it worked for my hair but my hip pain stopped lol) and I wash my face with antibacterial hand soap then moisturize with a couple drops of Vitamin E. Flawless!! Even the dark spots are nearly gone!!

  2. […] decided to post my experiences with various hair vitamins. I’ve taken biotin (review here), MSM, Fast, Hairfinity, and a lot of store brand hair, skin, & nail vitamins. I’ve also […]

  3. Jade says:


    How long did you take the pills for? I had taken them for 3 days and weeks later, I’m STILL breaking out :(. I don’t know what to do anymore…

    Thank you for the article!


    • Jay says:

      I think I took them for a month or two, hoping the acne would go away. It just got worse over time and it took, probably, more than 6 months for the acne to stop. I found out that dairy also aggravates my skin so cutting that out, as well as juicing, eating clean, and drinking water helped a ton.

  4. brenda says:

    My experience was horrible. I took 10000 mcg of biotin for several months. I experienced black spots in my mouth and tongue. My tongue looked like an alligator skin. I stopped taking it and three months later I was healed. I only take a multiple vitamin and calcium with magnesium and I eat healthy and drink 8 glasses of water daily. My hair has grown past my shoulder.

    • Jay says:

      Wow, I haven’t heard of that side effect before. I don’t tend to mega dose on vitamins 10000 mcg is a huge amount. I’m glad the effects went away quickly. Sometimes the best hair growth method is a little patience. 🙂

    • Justin Nunziato says:

      No offense but the reason this was happening was because you took two times the daily value of biotin everyday for months daily value for biotin in aduts over 18 is like 25 milligrams thats 2500 mcg ya’ll crazy

      • Jay says:

        Single letter vitamins are almost always in concentrations higher than the recommended daily amount…that’s the point. Biotin is water soluble so excess will be flushed out in urine.

  5. Nelley26 says:

    I’m glad I ran across this article, my hair has been damage done for years due to me wearing hard wraps . Now I’m to the point where I want to wear my natural hair, because the weave is getting way too expensive. However, my hair is so damaged and weak, I can’t wear it out so I been doing research on hair growth. I decided to try the biotin 10000 and One A Day multivitamins for women..After a couple of days of taking the Biotin I noticed how I started to break out, small heat rash bumps on my face, arms, and hands. I never knew what is was until I started to read this article. I stopped the biotin but I still take the One A Day..I went to a dermatologists for my skin and everything is good but I want to try the Hairfinity vitamins. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews and some bad, but just a few. Well I’m going to order them today and try them for a month …wish me luck!

    • Jay says:

      You were very smart to stop the biotin before it did any severe damage. I wish I had let it go sooner…the cystic acne and scarring was the worst. I’m currently taking Hairfinity again (for maybe the 4th time) and my skin is looking better than usual so I’m very pleased. I hope you get the results you are hoping for! Good luck! Come back and tell us how your natural hair journey is going, sites like Hairlista[dot]com and LongHairCareForum[dot]com are great resources for those just starting out. Have a happy and healthy hair journey! ^.^

  6. Kaiel says:

    I’ve purchased spring valley biotin 1000mcg I’ve been taking it for a week and a half & I’ve experienced 1/2 inch of new growth in my hair. My nails are a lot healthier so I’m gonna continue to take it.

  7. Chan says:

    I started taking in March of 2013 the Woman One a day multi-vitamin for Healthy skin hair and nails. My hair has grown tremedously as well as my skin looking extremely healthy.. In August of this year I went to my family reunion and received a relaxer. When I got back my stylist layered my hair.. I was so upset that I felt all my hard work went to waste. Well still taking my one a day vitamins and my drinking of water my hair had grown back twice as much in just 6 weeks. In late Sept I took a picture and my hair was back to the middle of my back.. Now flash forward to November 2013 2 weeks before thanksgiving.. I started taking the Nature’s Made Biotin 2,500 capsules daily along with my woman one a day and again drinking lots of water.. well lets just say that the Biotin is really helping. I received another touch up on Dec 6th and here it is Dec 24th and I’ve experienced so much new growth that my hairstylist had to use a bigger roller when setting my hair.. I have not experienced any acne. But know this when using a new vitamin supplement that in order for the new stuff to come in you have to remove the antitoxidents in your system. That is normally the cause of the acne.. Now here is another TIP.. besides drinking water and I mean lots.. Increase your vegetable intake.. at least once a day have a salad with your meals..also I do not wear makeup I never have.. If some of you wear makeup and use a lot of foundation limit the foundation. that will also help to decrease the acne. I hope this helped I know everything works differently for everyone.. I want to try Hairfinity but I’m going to see how this Biotin and Multivitamin do the job.. 6 months and let’s see..


  8. Jay says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I took hairfinity for a month my face started to breakout really bad. I drank a lot of water that did not help. The day I stopped hairfinity, the next day I started biotin hair skin and nails 10,000mcg my hair is really growing. We all have different skin types so you have to find what work for you. I also realize the more water I drink the faster my hair grows and my skin looks a lot better. Just think of your hair like grass when the spring time comes, we get a lot of rain the tress and the flowers bloom . Your body needs the water to do what is suppose to do . It makes you feel better when you know you are putting something so positive inside your body. The positive affect of water are endless.

    • Jay says:

      I agree water is great! Unfortunately, no amount of water could counteract the ill effects of biotin for me and many others. I prefer not to megadose on any single letter vitamin. I’m glad you found something that works for you and thanks for sharing with us.

  10. Tara says:

    I just tried Hairfinity. And let me say, I will NOT be taking this again. I’ve been on it for three weeks and mostly it’s been torture because my scalp has been extremely itchy! I’ve never had itchy scalp before. So I got up this morning and did a bit of research as to what would be causing itchiness given that Hairfinity is supposed to be “natural”…just a vitamin blend. I discovered that Niacin was causing the itchiness. Not only that, I noticed my heart rate would increase rapidly. I believe I am having this reaction because I already have ENOUGH Niacin in my body.

    If you read what the Hairfinity answer is to itchy scalp, which is that NO, ITCHY SCALP DOES NOT EQUATE TO GROWTH, but that it could be an interaction with something in the hair care products one uses, this could also be true. But their suggestion in rinsing with ACV, Tea Tree, etc to counteract the itchiness is not good. Basically if you’re doing that, you’re only using acidic products to mask the original problem, i.e., Niacin overdose.What this tells me is that the Niacin is doing something chemically to alter the natural balance of the scalp. So even though Hairfinity is “just vitamins”, as Jay said, sometimes one can have too much of a supposed good thing and
    I think this could be doing more harm than good if you’re concerned about ph levels for your hair.

    In terms of Biotin: I’ve had great success with it without any acne breakouts and it appeared to assist in making my hair grow at a relatively fast rate. I will be returning to my Biotin at the end of this week and have done a jump, tuck and roll off the Hairfinity bandwagon.

    I just wanted to let others know that if they’re experiencing the same issue of itchy scalp, it could be Niacin overdose and to be careful.

    Here’s a link to some Niacin side effects:

    • ginny says:

      tara thanks for your post! i too experienced problems with rapid heart rate and anxiety and even after tons of research yours is the first post to mention it as a side effect!! i will look into niacin overdose side effects… i stopped hairfinity because of acne but i still take nature’s bounty extra strength hair skin and nails and have experienced very few side effects.

      • Tara says:

        Ginny, I’m glad my post helped. But what I find odd is that depending on what brand of hair vitamin one uses, one may not have symptoms of niacin overdose.
        I am having extreme difficulty in finding a hair vitamin that does not contain niacin below 2500mg or higher and have found that no matter what brand I take, I always experience the same side effects….rapid heart rate and itchiness, and in 6months my hair has only grown about 1.5inches. I am beside myself cause all I want are 3″ so I can re-dread my hair.
        I drink plenty water, eat properly, exercise, etc but still can’t manage healthy growth. I’ve finally decided that a trip to the acupuncturist might be the ticket..perhaps I have some other type of blockage like hormonal fluctuations..I am near 50.

        I’m glad you found something else though.

  11. erica says:

    I take biotin, liquid wheat germ oil and folic acid with exercise and water and it works. of course when I went back to me beautician I think she was upset bc my hair grows more in the weave styles than me given her all my money she trimmed me so much now im back to square one.

    • Jay says:

      That’s great that it works for you. A few years ago, I also had a setback from a stylist cutting too much. I definitely learned that lesson the hard way. I haven’t had a professional cut since because it’s so hard to find someone to trust. I’m sure your hair will grow back in no time. 🙂

  12. Faidah says:

    I’m the opposite. I took 10000mcg of Biotin a day and had great growth. I started off taking one 5000mcg pill every couple of days and drank plenty of water. Then I took one a day and then 2 a day. My hair grew like crazy.

    I took Hairfinity for 7 months and just finished my last bottle. I didn’t get that crazy growth I wanted. I think I retained, but I can retain and get length with Biotin which is way cheaper.

    • Jay says:

      That’s great it worked for you because it is much cheaper. Definitely be cautious though with taking any vitamin in megadoses… 10,000 mcg is an enormous amount.

  13. Kim says:

    You probably need to take a multi vitamin .. I took biotin 5,000 once a day for 3 months no breaks what so ever, I use like a whole food vitamin .. at least 2 a day with the 1 biotin a day,

    • Jay says:

      I did take multivitamins in the past. Now I choose to eat a clean and balanced diet of whole foods. I choose not to megadose with vitamins, especially this one because there were nothing but ill effects for me. There was nothing I could do to change that…

  14. […] it’s from the high amount of biotin in Manetabolism. It’s not nearly as bad as the cystic acne I had from biotin, but my skin is not clear like it had been with Hairfinity. I always drink at 2 – 3 liters of […]

  15. Bree says:

    I have always had really bad skin and bad acne, so when I heard about Biotin, I HAD to at least try it. I didn’t break out like many others, though. For me, it worked. Not only did it cause my skin to not break out as much, but it definitely makes my hair grow faster (part of my head is shaved, and I have to get it redone ALL THE TIME). My diet consists of mainly water and coffee (with probably a bit too much sugar…). I just started taking a Super B Complex in the hopes of a replacement for my green tea pills (though, I think I might go back to green tea). I’m so sorry everyone had such bad experiences. 🙁 I just wanted to say something because like someone above me said, it’s different for everyone. My experience just happened to be a good one.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I drink a gallon of water a day everyday with out fail and that still did not stop the acne from coming when I took biotin

  17. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone experienced a peculiar body odor while taking Hairfinity? I smell like rotten green vegetables when I sweat! I noticed it the first time I worked out, which was 4 days after I started taking it, and I’ve noticed it every time since then. I’ve been taking it for over 2 weeks now.

    • A.M. Kennedy says:

      Hairfinity vitamins can cause an odor that can be noticeable in the mouth. I didn’t notice it, but my spouse asked me what kind of Vitamins I was taking. He thought it gad a herbal odor. No more for me on that basis.

  18. Cocosmommy says:

    I’ve been taking 1000mcg of biotin for about two weeks now. Yesterday I started itching all over my body and if course my face is bump city. I need this pill but I think I’m allergic or missing something my hair is thinning and it’s bald in some places. Anyone know what’s going on with me.its like hives behind my ear and on my neck. Help ! Lol!

    • Jay says:

      Why do you say you need it? If you maintain a balanced diet you shouldn’t need any supplement unless advised by a doctor. I would suggest that you stop taking the biotin. Perhaps look into an antihistamine for the bumps and itchiness.

  19. I started biotin 5000 mcg once daily. You can play connect the dots oh im sorry, bumps on my face……

  20. Anonymous says:

    I had been taking 1000 mg of biotin but not consistently so three days ago I bought hairfinity and started taking it and my face has now started breaking out cystic type acne so I am going to stop the biotin completely drink more water and if I still see no change reduce the hairfinity to 1 a day instead of 2 before I stop it all together. I will come back and post results.

  21. Kelly says:

    I have to say I’m thankful for this forum I was taking hairfinity as well as mineral miracle and must say I have had substantial hair growth that couple of months. I cut my formally relaxed hair and decided to go natural and grow an Afro. I’ve been natural now for 2 and a bit years July will make it 3. After a month of taking hairfinity I started noticing little breakouts here and there. I didn’t think anything of it initially until it started to get really bad and I was besides myself as to what i had eaten or taken as I didn’t know about acne being a possible side effect. Since knowing I have obviously stopped taking it. It’s been almost a month and I’m still breaking out I’m a 39 year old woman and my face looks like a pizza lol plus there’s the scarring of the previous breakouts. I just wanted to know how long before it leaves my system. I’m going to do a course of green veggie juicing and I already drink plenty of water daily but perhaps some kind of blood purge too like taking bitters, as I need this to leave my system pronto. I will let you know how I get on.

  22. tamirah says:

    I just wanted to know what exactly you did to get rid of the acne? I began taking hair, skin, and nail supplements for hair growth in november and i began to suffer with cystic acne. I’ve been experiencing acne still after almost 6 months of not taking the supplement. I drink plenty of water, took meat, dairy, and gluten products out of my diet and still suffer with it on my back and face. Do you have any tips because it has all taken a toll on myself and myself esteem

    • Jay says:

      I know exactly how you feel… I honestly just had to wait it out. It took that long or longer for the acne to clear. I tried everything- proactiv, clean and clear, etc… In the end, I think it cleared out on it’s own. I found out my skin did much better with very few products and the lesser chemicals the better. After Proactiv literally ate through my skin and left me with scabs all over, I switched to a simple antibacteral soap to cleanse my face. I washed my face at night with Dial and moisturized it after with a gel moisturizer by Garnier. Here’s a write up I did on my skin- http://minibraidmethod.com/2014/06/how-i-cleared-my-skin/

      After the acne cleared (mostly due to time). I had scars all over. I have made good progress on my face with this regimen- http://minibraidmethod.com/2014/10/my-skin-update-hyperpigmentationscarring/. I still have some scarring on my back, but I think they blend in so they don’t bother me as much. I think the soap I use now on my face with seabuck horn oil plus exfoliation has made a huge difference. I also look for products with exfoliating acids in them like alpha hydroxy acid.

      Good luck to you and just be patient. Your skin will go back to how it was before. Cleaning up your diet- especially diary and hormone heavy food is a great first step. Also, go to the MAC store and get matched for some Studio Finish concealer. It’s the one in the pot and it’s a lifesaver. I keep mine in my purse and it matches well enough that I can dab some on problem areas and blend it. It really made a difference in how I felt. I used that and a light foundation like Face and Body for an everyday face. I know people usually have bad things to say about wearing makeup when your skin is not in the best condition but they also say “you don’t need makeup” if you don’t have skin issues…so who does ‘need’ it? Anyway, wear makeup if it makes you feel better. Try to find a water based foundation or tinted moisturizer and wash everything completely off every night. I don’t wash my face in the morning- I only rinse it with water because skin has natural moisturizers in it and it’s better to not over-cleanse.

      I hope that helps!

  23. Sandy says:

    I was taking botin and developed hives and itchy all over. I was only taking it for 3 weeks. I stopped taking. Can anybody offer some advice on getting rid of the acne and itchy skin.I have been taking aveno baths and bendryl .

    • Jay says:

      I don’t know what would help besides benadryl. Maybe you can use a topical hydrocortizone cream for faster relief. Good luck and feel better soon.

    • Alex Troxel says:

      I literally am experiencing the same thing you did. How long before your rashes went away? I want to cry because they’re all over my body.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Two months ago I went to a popular dermatologist due to bad acne. I explained to the dermatologist that I never had acne up until a year ago. I was told it could be numerous of reason why I developed acne. Examples: make-up, hormones changing etc…. Well my dermatologist prescribe me with a prescription called ONEXTON. Also I showed them my edges that were very thin and they told me to try biotin for at least two months and if I haven’t seen any results come back. Well I can honestly say I have no more black heads nor acne after using Onexton. Now I don’t have to wear foundation to cover up my black heads. I feel and look great!!! The the pharmacy I got my prescription from charge $300 but he will sell it for $75 dollars without insurance and have it shipped exactly within 2 days. Now I just started taking the biotin 10000 MCG 4 days ago, even missed one night but so far I do not have any side effects. I will keep you guy’s updated. Thanks!

  25. Rushell says:

    Well I just started taking sundown naturals 5000 MCG biotin, so anxious to see the results,its my first time using this supplement so I do hope my body doesn’t react to it in a bad way…I do have acne its not that bad but I’m hoping the biotin doesn’t make it worse and I try to drink as much water as I can ….wish me luck 🙂

  26. Anonymous says:

    How long did it take for your breakouts to stop?! It’s been two months since I’ve stopped the biotin and I’m still breaking out everyday

    • Jay says:

      Sorry for the late response. Honestly I don’t remember how long it took but it was definitely months not weeks. I actually had to change up my skincare regimen completely to clear the acne and the scars. I bought a clarisonic and switched to more natural face products.

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