Is Acne in Your Genes?

October 25, 2017 4 min read 0 Comments

Is Acne in Your Genes?

By Kali Kushner



Have you ever noticed that some people never get a single pimple their entire lives? Okaymaybe one ortwo whiteheads randomly, but still!They can have the worst skincare routine, diet, and never work out but somehow their skin is magically clear- whileI'mover here chugging down a celery juice each morning, running a 5k,practicing yoga, andstillsuffering consistently withacne! But yetthere's STILL this terrible misunderstoodstigma that people who suffer with acne are unkempt or need a cleaner diet- what's up with that?

What about t
he fact that when one member of the family has clear skin, the rest of the familytypically does too? I never thought about it until I looked at myhusband's family, theyALLhave clear skin. All of them, seriously I mean the wholefambam. They don't use any fancy skincare products, eat whatever they like, and have generally just never had to worry about their complexion. Actually, on a recentroad trip I was leaving therestroom stall when I saw my mother-in-law using bathroomhand soap to wash off her face because she thought the little beads were exfoliating. I couldn't quit laughing but also thought, wow that must be nice to just do whatever and not worry!

So why is it that some people can get away with an improper diet, little to no workout routine, and wash their face withhand soap but have clear glowing skin?

Aha, It's all about the genes!



How Genetics Influence your Skin


Genetics play a huge role when it comes to the development of acne, meaning that if your mom and dad had acne, it is likely that you will develop it too.Notabsolutely 100%guaranteed, but likely.The more people in your familythat haveacne, uncles, brothers,sisters, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, the greater the chances of developing it become. We inherit certain genes from different parents, which are known ashereditary factors. Blue eyes, red hair,small nose,etc. and acne is no different.

There have been studies proving higher instances of acne when the mother, rather than the father, had acne. This suggests that acne may possibly be linked to the Xchromosome rather than the Y. Interestingly enough I can only think of maybe one time growing up that my dad ever had a pimple, while my mom, at 50 years old, still gets a pimple around that time of the month which leads me to strongly believe thatyesin my case, the Xchromosome must carry the trait.

In addition, a study published in thePathogenesis and Treatment of Acne and Roscea reported:

"Neonatal, nodulocystic, and conglobate acne have proven genetic influences.Postadolescent acne is related with a first-degree relative with the condition in 50 % of the cases."

So, if one of your parents had acne you have a 50/50 chance of developing the disease yourself, soagainnotguaranteed but it'slikely.


The IGF-1 Gene and Acne


Okay so this is where weget allscientific and fancy, but keep reading because its important- I promise! There have been multiple studies conducted linking acne to a variety of genes, specifically IGF-1 and the AR gene.IGF-1 is basically a hormone that controls bodily inflammation.

In a more recent studypublished in PubMed in2015, acne was found to have a clear correlation with IGF-1 and that certain dietary foods (such as milk and dairy products) which contain the growth hormone IGF-1, aggravate acne symptoms further.

"Higher IGF-1 levels correlate with the clinical manifestation ofacne"


"Acne correlates with increased sebum production. GH, insulin, and IGF-1 increase sebaceous gland growth, differentiation, and sebaceous lipogenesis. Remarkably, increased serum IGF-1 levels have been measured in women with post-adolescent acne.Recently, an association between IGF-1 gene polymorphism and acne has been reported.Patients who observed an aggravation of their acne by food intake exhibited higher IGF-1 serum levels compared with those who observed no acne aggravation by food intake."


Basically, this saysthat those who suffer with adult acne have higher IGF-1 levelsANDacne that is easily aggravated by food such as dairy, refined carbs, and saturated fats, can be linked toa higher IGF-1 level.

Pretty crazy right? But it explains a lot! Acne suffererswho already have higher levels of systematic inflammation can't deal with the excess inflammation caused by processed meats and dairy. This is why when oneperson's eats the standardAmerican diet their skinmay be completely finebecause they're not predisposed to the condition or higher levels of inflammation (basicallytheir DNA is wired differently).





Will I get Acne if my Parents Had it?



If your parents have acne don't fret, it doesn’t mean that your fate is sealed. There are plenty of clear skinned kids whose parents have acne and vice versa.There'sa lot more that goes into acne than just genetics, it could be hormonal, dietary, overly aggressive skincare products,excessive stress, an overly acidic body, gut problems, uncontrollablebodily inflammation, and the list goes on and on and on.

So, just because you are predisposed to having acne because of your genes, it doesn't mean youwillare determined to have red raging deep uncontrollable cystic acne. Just like if you are predisposedto obesity itdoesn'tnecessarily meanyou will be overweight.I like to think that we are(somewhat) in control of our acne with the choices we make.Here me out on this!

For example, if you are overly stressed and do nothing about it you may get a blemish but if you choose to workout it can help your body to cope with stress and release endorphins that will make you feelamazinnnggg.Also, if you eat loads of sugary cereal, dairy, and processed meats rather than organicvegetables, whole grains, and organic meat your skin may be a reflection of that.

Of course,there's always behind the scenesissuessuch as hormonal imbalances, food intolerances and gut problemsbut that doesn't mean you have to live withyour acne at in its worst possible state. Sometimes breakouts are inevitablebut that doesn’t mean you should give up. You can always try to improve your acne and figure out the root cause by being proactive through choices you makeeveryday.