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Fact or Fiction: Acne is Genetic

There are several well-documented, root causes of acne. These include overproduction of sebum, increased presence of selective bacteria, higher skin pH, hormonal flux, hyperkeratosis (faster skin growth), underlying inflammation, and even skin dehydration and product occlusion. People who exhibit these symptoms of acne usually show one or a combination of more than one of these conditions.

These types of conditions and symptoms can, and do, run in families. The individual’s clinical history is one way to determine the root causes of the disease and can give insight into the individual’s tendency to develop acne.

What has been discounted, for quite some time, as a cause of acne is chocolate and greasy foods. While clients should be careful of what they eat, a direct link to these types of foods has not been established. It is important to note that the chronic over-consumption of any food can have adverse effects on skin, but, within normal limits, the effects have not been definitively established.

Environmental effects are also important to understand. For example, in the winter, skin is exposed to dry, cold, and windy conditions. These environmental factors can have a dramatic effect on the barrier function of the skin. Dehydration, along with the loss of lipids in the stratum corneum, lead to impaired barrier function, which can lead to more acne in skin. While moisturization is important, keeping the barrier function intact is a separate, but equally important, task in acne-prone skin.

Sun damage is a critical factor to consider, as well, in all weather types. Ultraviolet, infrared, and blue lights can all have deleterious effects on skin and cause underlying skin inflammation, eventually leading to acne. Acne is an inflammatory disease, so reducing inflammation in skin is important to prevent the onset of an acneic response. Acne is a multi-factorial disease and will constantly change and present differently. Treat it that way. While skin clearly can have the genetic pre-disposition to become acneic, it certainly is treatable in most cases. Use the above chart as a very basic guide to help in treatments.

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