ZocdocAnswersIs acne hereditary?

Question

Is acne hereditary?

I'm a 62-year-old woman, and I'm worried about my grandson's skin. He's only 10, but both his mother and I had pretty bad acne in our younger years, so I think he might get it too. Is acne hereditary, or am I worried for nothing?

Answer

You concern is valid and unfortunately, there is no straight forward answer to this question. Most likely acne has a hereditary component to it, but it is not completely a genetic disease. Let me explain. You may have heard that heart disease runs in families. If someone's dad had a heart attack in their 40s, it is more likely that person will have a heart attack sometime in their life. However, not everyone with family members with heart disease are destined to get the same thing. The same is probably true for acne. There is not one gene responsible for developing acne. It is likely a combination of hundreds, if not thousands of genes that put someone at risk. The interaction of an individual's genetic background (that comes from moms, dads, and grandparents) and their environment combine to determine if someone develops acne. The the short answer is, if you had acne, and your daughter had acne, your grandson probably has a higher risk of developing it. The good news is that today acne is very treatable. Your grandson's pediatrician or family doctor is likely very knowledgeable about ways to prevent and treat many skin conditions. If necessary he or she may consult a dermatologist who can use even stronger medicines. Good luck.

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