For my daughter's sake, can severe
acne be prevented?
"My 12-year-old daughter is
beginning to get blackheads, whiteheads and pus-filled pimples. As a
teenager and young woman, I had severe acne and was treated twice
with isotretinoin. I was a virtual recluse because of my appearance
until I was in my early 20s. Iím 40 now, and I havenít had an acne
outbreak for five years, but I have many acne scars on my face. Iím
afraid my daughter is beginning to develop acne, and I donít want
her to experience the emotional pain and isolation I went through.
What should I be doing for her?"
A 12-year-old whose mother had severe
acne is at high risk for developing severe acne. Your daughter
should be seen by a dermatologist who can develop a planned approach
to long-term observation and treatment. It is important to know that
while there is no way to "turn off" an inherited predisposition to
severe acne, a long-term treatment plan can control the acne.
Any child who has a parent or sibling
(brother or sister) who has (or had) severe acne is at high risk for
developing severe acne. The role of genetics in acne becomes less
clear-cut after one gets beyond the immediate family. However, there
do seem to be families in which patterns of acne are apparentótypes
of acne, severity, age at which acne develops, etc. A more
generalized genetic influence is suggested by the slightly higher
incidence of acne in Americans of European descent than in those of
African or Asian descent.
As work on the human genome progresses,
it is possible that the genetics of acne will eventually be better
understood. Until that time, dermatologists can use what they know
about genetic influences to help people at high risk for severe
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology