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Community Wisdom: Mother’s Day — How Do Your Genes Influence Your Skin?

Here at Skin + Me we know that visible results follow commitment to scientifically-proven skincare. This Mother’s Day, we’re paying homage to the joys of science by celebrating the similarities (and differences!) between your own skin and the skin of your mother, daughter or any other close (gene-sharing) relatives. 

Skin health: Are you born with it or can you affect complete change?

The answer is a bit of both. Your skin and all its unique idiosyncrasies is influenced by multiple factors. Understanding how your skin type (and your skin goals) can change throughout your life and nurturing your skin to be at its best at every stage is key. This is why the active ingredients in your Daily Doser are designed to evolve alongside your skin with regular check-ins from your prescriber.

On the flip side, being mindful of what healthy skin actually looks like can keep expectations realistic. Checking in on progress photos, having self-compassion and accepting that yes, your unique combination of genes can influence your unique skin is also important. 

Your skin and all its unique idiosyncrasies is influenced by multiple factors.

We asked our Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Malvina Cunningham, more about how genetics can predetermine our skin health.

Skin + Me: What part does genetics play in our skin health and any concerns we associate with it?

Dr Malvina Cunningham: We know that genetics play a smaller part when it comes to our skin relative to the environment. Even if you have genetically-determined skin concerns your environment plays a huge role in influencing the severity of the condition. In a way, it’s the only thing you can alter so in that sense, external factors are very important. 

Skin + Me: When it comes to lifestyle and genetics, how can we identify a balance between what to accept and what we can change?

Dr Malvina Cunningham: Lifestyle is more important and the influence our environment and our general health has on our skin can’t be emphasised enough. Our skin shields us from the environment which is constantly attacking it, whether it’s UV light, pollution or the climate. Maintaining that health is about daily care – a routine you can have control over.

The Skin + Me Collective: On our mothers and our skin

We checked in with our Facebook community, The Collective to see how your skin shares (or doesn’t share!) traits with your mothers or gene-sharing relatives. Trends we noticed? It seems our mothers have great skin and we can learn a lot from simple, stripped back routines and knowing the power of good SPF – what a smart bunch.

Abby: My mum has always highlighted this is the only skin we have and we should look after it. She isn’t one for makeup and has embraced the natural all-grey hair in her late 30s – all genetic, I have had a grey stripe myself since I was 10! 

I occasionally think of the cost of my skincare products, but then I hear my mum in my mind saying, I use what I do because it works for me and to maintain my routine to benefit my skin long-term.

Katie: My mum is 60 now and has amazing skin. I think I’ve done relatively well too, thanks to shared genetics. She’s only ever kept it simple but moisturises religiously and does facial exercises specifically exaggerated A, E, I, O, U. It’s definitely worked for her.

Courtney: My mum is 48 and she looks about 30! All the women in my family look very youthful for their age. We have exactly the same skin type, very dry and sensitive. However, my mum has never had a spot in her life, whereas I still suffer hormonal breakouts, at the age of 28.

Mum is huge on SPF and wears factor 50 every day to help her age gracefully. She’s always drummed it into me to use it but I’ve only just realised how important it really is since hitting the age I am now.

My mum is 60 now and has amazing skin. I think I’ve done relatively well too, thanks to shared genetics.” Katie

Heather: I’d say l have definitely got similar traits to my mum. She’s in her 70s, skin definitely not sun damaged (we’re Irish we don’t tend to see a lot!) and always kept her routine simple, never wears makeup and it shows. In contrast, I’ve definitely sun-worshipped more and not worn the right SPF in the past.

Lindsay: My mum is 77 and looks amazing for her age! She has great skin and I hope I look as good as she does when I get older. 

Mum’s always had a very simple routine but has always made sure she takes her makeup off before bed. My dad is Italian so I’ve inherited more of an oily skin type rather than my mum’s fair skin. Mum has always done facial exercises and massage and I think that’s really kept her skin looking great.

N.B Some quotes have been edited lightly for length and clarity. Thanks for all your contributions. 

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