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Truth or myth: can you inherit acne-prone skin?

We all love it when we're told we've inherited our mum's cornflower blue eyes or dad's cheeky dimples. But is your acne-prone skin a direct result of your mum's spotty complexion too? The jury's always been out on this and everyone might have a different opinion. But we prefer to get an expert opinion and speak to those who are genuinely in know, i.e. dermatologists.

Some theories say that acne-prone skin is mostly inherited and genes do determine the physiology of your skin, meaning you’re more likely to develop acne if it’s in your family. Apparently acne is a dominant characteristic, so if both your parents had acne, there’s a 75% chance that you will get it as well at some point or the other in your lifetime. If only one parent had acne, the chances drop to 50%. However there is no scientific proof to establish this as a fact. In all probability, knowing your family’s acne history is more of a psychological comfort than a real one.

@Getty ImagesBut if you do end up being predisposed towards acne-prone skin generally speaking, your skin will produce more sebum and have a faster rate of skin cell growth. Not just that, it will influence your skin’s inflammatory reaction to bacteria, resulting in the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals in the skin. So how your skin reacts to bacteria is how your skin produces acne and blemishes and this may or may not be a direct result of those little DNA cells that your parents inadvertently passed down to you.


But it would be a good idea to remember that just because one of your parents suffered from breakouts, it does not guarantee that you will too. It just means that according to some theories, you just might be more likely to. There’s a difference, see? To illustrate the point further, let’s just say your parents have passed on spotless, blemish-free skin to you through the genetic pool. This won’t guarantee you picture-perfect skin if you don’t have a good diet, sleep and exercise pattern.

This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.


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