Q. Can genetics be a reason for acne outbreak in a teenager?

Answered by
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 16, 2022

Hello doctor,

I am 12-year-old female turning 13 soon. I have acne. There is nothing too wrong, but I do want clear skin. I have tried and am still using clear and clean night relaxing deep cleaning face wash (daily use), clear pore oil-eliminating astringent from neutrogena(daily use), and an oil-free witch hazel toner (five days a week). My mother had terrible acne growing up, which may factor into my acne, but I am not sure. Kindly help.



Welcome to

I read your query and can understand your concern.

After going through the information provided from your end, it appears as acne vulgaris.

As you mentioned, acne is most often transmitted genetically from the family. Besides the hormonal causes, acne is prevalent during prepuberty, puberty, and even adulthood.

Other causes of acne include using skin care products, dietary factors, climate changes, stress, and any underlying gynecological conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), any underlying medical conditions, and any medication is taken for the same.

As you already mentioned that you have been using over-the-counter medications.

I would suggest you the following:

1. Cera Ve SA (Salicylic Acid) facial cleanser to be used in the morning and at night. Apply a sufficient quantity, massage in gentle circular motions for one minute, and wash off. You can continue using it for months.

2. Duac gel 2.5 % (Clindamycin Benzoyl Peroxide gel 2.5 %) is to be used twice daily on the acne spots only in the morning and night after using the facial cleanser.

3. Avoid oily and fried food, red meat, milk, dairy products, and sweets. Instead, include more fruits, vegetables, fiber, and at least nine glasses of water daily in a 250 ml glass size.

4. For clearer skin, there are multiple procedures, like chemical peels. However, it is always advised to start chemical peeling procedures once you reach the age of 18. In this procedure, a solution consisting of Glycolic Acid or Salicylic Acid is applied on the face and left for five to ten minutes before washing off. A dermatologist does this. Therefore, consultation in person with the dermatologist is advised to undergo the procedure once you reach 18 years of age.

However, please consult a physician, discuss with them and start taking the medications with their consent.

5. Make sure to avoid any skincare products that may trigger acne formation. Acne is caused due to changes in the sebum secretion within the skin due to hormonal changes, especially during puberty which causes excess secretion of sebum which triggers the bacteria which is present within the skin, causing the formation of acne. Acne appears depending on external and internal factors, for which lifestyle modifications are advised to reduce the chances of reinfection. Acne usually takes months to show results, and consistency with the medication is critical. I would also like to request you refrain from using toners, moisturizers, or sunscreens, which may trigger the clogging of pores within the skin, resulting in acne formation. Usually, once you grow older, acne will subside for most individuals.

I hope this helps.

Thank you and take care.

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