How does genetics affect your skin?

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Nature or Nurture? The question has been around for years and no one can be too sure of the answer. We can all agree your daily habits and environment affects your skin, but what part does nature play? 

A study to determine sebum production (have a look at my oily skin article) was carried out. Identical twins vs fraternal twins, to see the genetic affect. What they discovered is with the identical twins  the sebum production rate was pretty much the same but the acne levels were of different severity.

With the fraternal twins they had different levels of sebum production and different levels of acne seventies.

So, you can conclude there is a link between sebum production and genetics but maybe there needs to be a trigger to set off the side effects, in this case acne, of those genes. These results aren’t surprising as this is the case with a lot of genetic illnesses, a person may be predisposed to something due to a genetic defect but those genes may still need a trigger to set off the affects of that defect.

The identical twins have the same sebum levels, if it really were all genetics that affected your skin then surely they both would have had the similar levels of acne? Again with the fraternal twins they had fluctuating levels of sebum production and acne severity, which is what is expected after the identical twins result. Different/same gene combos equates to different levels of acne? That is what is suggested here, is it all environment?

What can be suggested is the predisposition part. You can be born with certain skin, maybe you’ll be lucky and have amazing genes. Maybe not.

The Science:

Let’s break this down further, your genetics are based on your DNA and quite obviously that is passed down through your family. You can defiantly assume that if both your parents have dry skin your chances of dry skin are very high. I myself have combination but slightly more on the dry side than the oily. My mother has dry skin and my father has oily, so i’m somewhere in the middle. Makes sense. 

As with everything it isn’t that black and white. The genes that code for your skins health are there to tell your skin when you need new skin cells because the old ones have died. These genes can become mutated during the time you are created, so your are born with a condition or a defect that will show itself later. Mutated genes mean they won’t work properly leading to a build up of skin cells which cause acne, aging and dry/oily skin. In extreme cases this could actually cause skin cancer.

These things are of course passed down through your genes, but now is when the nurture part comes in. We have millions of products formulated to improve your skin, there is a whole industry of scientist working on it everyday! It is very possible to look like you have perfect DNA. Not only that but with the education now available directly to you as to how your diet and environment affects your skin it is very feasible to achieve your perfect skin. For example without even thinking about it I bet you can name 3 things that are bad for your skin; Lack of water, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking?

From everything I understand of science and the articles I’ve read on this my personal belief is that it is very individualistic, its not one size fits all but I slightly veer towards environment because I know that you can be in control of how your skin looks, I’ve seen people transform themselves when using the right products but that does not mean you aren’t born with a certain skin type.

In conclusion I want to point out that this is all science and as with everything else in science it is quite impossible to determine everything for sure. Yes genetics definitely affects your skin, but whose to say by what amount and whether or not there is prevention’s/treatments to help?  We have mounds of knowledge about human skin which means we have mounds of help out there available for everyone.


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