Genetics and Acne

It is a question we get all the time: “Is acne genetic?” The one-word answer is yes, acne is far more genetic than environmental. Acne genetics determine how your immune system responds to p. acnes bacteria; one person may develop only minor blackheads while another develops explosive red and tender nodules. Genetics also play a role in how easily your pores clog. For example, you may have a hereditary tendency to overproduce dead skin cells, and then shed them in a way that clogs your pores. When this leads to breakouts, you can think of it as genetic acne. Not your fault!

What makes the hereditary nature of acne so frustrating for many is that acne genetics are unpredictable. Even in identical twins, one twin may get tiny little pimples that last a week while the other develops cysts that permanently scar the skin. However, experts agree that if both of your parents had significant acne, your risk for developing hereditary acne is very high.

Of course there are also environmental factors that influence acne. But the bottom line is your acne genetics may be the underlying reason for your breakouts and for the type of acne you have.