Seborrheic Dermatitis and Biotin: Is there a role?

Sed derm and biotin

Seborrheic dermatitis is a flaky, red condition often affecting the scalp, eyebrows and folds of adults. Children have a form known as "cradle cap" and some have a severe form affecting their entire body.

It is well known that infants with biotinidase deficiency as well as other inborn errors of metabolism can have seborrheic dermatitis-like rash on the body. For children with biotinidase deficiency, rapid administration of biotin is life saving. Many countries now screen for biotinidase activity at birth. About 1 in 61,000 newborns have biotinidase deficiency.


But what about the use of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis ? 

A very interesting study dating back to 1975 looked at the use of biotin in 25 infants with generalized seborrheic dermatitis. One group received IV biotin infused slowly, one group had IV biotin infused rapidly, one had IV biotin and B vitamins, and one had IV biotin with antibitoics. What were the surprisingly results? Well, all had improvement in seborrheic dermatitis - even in those with normal serum and urinary biotin levels.

However, just the next year, in 1976,, Keipert published another study showing the oral biotin did not in fact help infants with seborrheic dermatitis.




I truly believe that the jury is still out on the role of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis not only in newborns and infants but also in adults. More good studies are needed and we're conducting few studies are present with high dose front end loading of biotin in seborrheic dermatitis. 


Arch Dis Child. 1975 Nov; 50(11): 871–874. Generalized seborrhoeic dermatitis. Clinical and therapeutic data of 25 patients.
J Messaritakis, C Kattamis, C Karabula, and N Matsaniotis

2. Oral use of biotin in seborrhoeic dermatitis of infancy: a controlled trial.
Clinical Trial. Keipert JA. Med J Aust. 1976.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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