You Ask, We Answer: Do We Get Acne from Our Parents?

Has anyone ever said you look like your mom or dad?  

Back in school, we learned that much of who we are is shaped by our parents through a little something called genetics.  

Our eyes, nose, and even some of our personality comes down to our genes. 

If you’ve ever wondered if you inherited acne from your parents and what you can do about it, read on! 

The Link Between Acne and Genetics  

The short answer is yes, acne does have a genetic component. 

But the connection isn’t a clear, straight line. 

You see, there are four key processes that lead to the formation of acne1

  • Increased shedding of skin cells that cause clogged pores 
  • Increased sebum production 
  • Colonization of the follicles by the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria 
  • Complex inflammatory mechanisms 

While there isn’t one specific gene that causes acne, research has shown that your genes can influence your chances of having acne. This could be because our genes can control the above processes in our bodies and in turn, make our skin ideal homes for spots. 

Let’s Check Out Some Studies

#1 A 2020 systematic review observed a strong association between family history and acne2. This means that if your parents have acne, you’re more likely to have it too.  

#2 Looking at the DNA of 26,722 people, scientists found genetic variations in 15 genome regions that were more common in people with severe acne. Many of the genetic variants discovered influence hair follicle formation, which means this could be a big risk factor for developing acne3.  

#3 In a study on family history, researchers found having a first-degree relative (parents, children, and siblings) with acne increases your risk of getting it by 4 times. This is because genes may determine the failure of follicles to become acne‐resistant in early adult life4.   

#4 A study of Iranian adolescents found that the prevalence of moderate to severe acne was 19.9% in pupils with a family history of acne, as opposed to only 9.8% in those without a family history. The risk of acne severity also increased with the number of family members with acne history5.  

#5 A large twin study of women found that family history of acne was significantly associated with an increased risk. Genes explained 81% of the difference in acne prevalence and only 19% was attributed to unshared environmental factors – such as stress6.  

#6 Another study found that family history of acne is associated with acne occurring earlier, having more blackheads and whiteheads, and more frequent relapse after isotretinoin7

#7 Lastly, a study on the influence of genes on sebum production found that identical twins had virtually the same rates of sebum excretion while non-identical twins had different rates. But, both identical and non-identical twins had different degrees of acne severity. This suggests that while sebum production is under genetic control, our environment too has a role to play in whether we get acne8

You Can’t Change Your Genes. But Here’s What You Can Control.

Before we start pointing fingers at our beloved family, let’s take a moment to emphasize that having ‘acne genes’ doesn’t mean you’ll get it for sure! While your genes can make it more likely for you to get acne, your environment and everyday habits are important too.  

For example, acne can be affected negatively by irregular menstrual cycles, sugary food, dairy products, the improper use of cosmetics, the poor quality of sleep, stress, and more9.   

You can care for your skin by taking care of yourself. Here’s a little checklist to help you get acne under control, no matter your genes: 

  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. 
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. 
  • Manage your stress with yoga, meditation, or your favorite way to unwind. 
  • Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser suited to your skin type. 
  • Make sure anything that touches your skin, from your fingers to your phone, are clean. 
  • Choose quality, non-comedogenic products. These are products that won’t clog pores – like Clearly Basics! 


  1. A.U. Tan et al., 2018: A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients 
  2. Anna Hwee Sing Heng et al., 2020: Systematic review of the epidemiology of acne vulgaris 
  3. Christos Petridis et al., 2018: Genome-wide meta-analysis implicates mediators of hair follicle development and morphogenesis in risk for severe acne 
  4. Goulden et al., 2001: The familial risk of adult acne: a comparison between first‐degree relatives of affected and unaffected individuals 
  5. S. Zahra Ghodsi et al., 2009: Prevalence, Severity, and Severity Risk Factors of Acne in High School Pupils: A Community-Based Study 
  6. V Bataille et al., 2002: The influence of genetics and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of acne: a twin study of acne in women 
  7. F Ballanger et al., 2006: Heredity: a prognostic factor for acne 
  8. S Walton et al., 1988: Genetic control of sebum excretion and acne–a twin study 
  9. Jianting Yang et al., 2020: A Review of Advancement on Influencing Factors of Acne: An Emphasis on Environment Characteristics  

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.   

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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