On one level, acne is caused by oil, bacteria, and blocked pores. On a different, much broader level, it is actually your DNA that is giving you acne … just like it gives you your eye colour, your fast-growing fingernails, and those funny knock-knees! Of course, there can be other, non-genetic reasons for your acne, including food sensitivities, environmental factors or illnesses. But today, we are looking at 4 of the ways your DNA could be giving you acne … and the acne treatments that best suit these genetic causes.
1. Acne Cause in Your Genes: Excess oil production
A tendency towards oily skin is an inherited condition. Not all people with oily skin get acne, but if you do produce more sebum than is necessary to keep your skin from drying out, there is a greater chance of a buildup being trapped beneath dead skin cells, creating blackheads and an environment in which bacteria thrive.
Treatment for oil-induced acne
These acne treatments include:
• Creating a regimen of washing and exfoliating your face regularly
• Laser therapy for acne, which decreases the activity of oil glands
• Hormonal treatments, where the oil production is caused by excess androgens
2. Acne Cause in Your Genes: An environment Where P.Acnes Thrives
There may be a particular chemical balance in your body that P. acnes loves, or a particular cellular construction that makes a good home for the little critters. Whatever the reason, more bacteria means more acne.
Treatment for bacteria-induced acne:
There are several acne treatments that directly target the bacteria part of the cycle:
• Oral antibiotics prescribed by a doctor
• Laser therapy – the light kills off the population of bacteria
3. Acne Cause in Your Genes: Tendency to blocked pores
If your skin cell has a higher than usual turnover rate 9determined by your genes), you’ll end up with dead cells sitting on the surface of your skin. These dead cells block the free passage of your skin oil to the outside, and make an anaerobic environment for P. acnes to thrive in.
Treatment for blockage-induced acne:
Some of the most common treatments for acne target the blockages created by dead cells. These include:
• Benzoyl peroxide preparations
• Microdermabrasion and chemical peels (which also help reduce the appearance of scars)
• Cleansers with AHAs
4. Acne Cause in Your Genes: More Androgens
Androgens are a class of male hormones including testosterone, and they promote oil production through the sebaceous glands. Your DNA may tell your body to produce more androgens than usual, and if the blocked pores and bacteria are also present, you’ll need acne treatments.
Treatment for androgen-induced acne:
In females, the oral contraceptive pill is the usual treatment for acne caused by hormones. In males, though, the other treatments discussed in the oil section would be used preferentially so that other body functions aren’t disturbed.
No matter what the genetic cause of your acne, an effective acne treatment that targets any stage of the acne cycle is usually effective in greatly improving your skin!