Is It Safe to Use Exfoliants During Pregnancy?
In the following article, we’ll tell you more about it.
What are exfoliants and what are they for?
Exfoliants cause the controlled destruction of the skin surface with or without part of the dermis. This leads to regeneration and remodeling of the skin surface. In turn, it collaborates with the removal of dead cells found on the surface, along with all other impurities.
They’re used as an effective and valuable procedure for the following conditions:
- Aging skin
- Acne scars
Types of exfoliants
Exfoliants can be chemical or mechanical:
- Chemical: There are various types of solutions and acids used as exfoliating agents, such as Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol.
- Mechanical: Also called manual or physical, they include soft granulated creams, vegetable sponges, microblading, or certain gloves.
Read also: A Guide to Beauty Products During Pregnancy
Indications for use
There are several indications for the use of any type of exfoliant, be it chemical or mechanical:
- Facial rejuvenation to treat conditions such as wrinkles or enlarged pores.
- Inflammatory disorders, such as acne vulgaris, rosacea, pseudofolliculitis of the beard, and post-acne scarring.
- Epidermal proliferation and precancerous lesions including actinic and sebaceous keratosis.
- Pigmentary disorders such as ephelides or freckles, melasma, post-inflammatory pigmentation, and lentigines.
Exfoliants and pregnancy, everything you need to know
The safety of exfoliants during pregnancy is a complex clinical issue surrounded by questions. In general, it’s best to avoid the use of certain topical agents with unclear safety data, such as tazarotene and hydroquinone. You also shouldn’t initiate treatments to combat physiological changes that may recover during pregnancy or improve postpartum, such as melasma.
Chemical peels with glycolic and lactic acid are considered safe. However, salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid should be avoided or used with extreme caution.
Glycolic acid peels in concentrations ranging from 30% to 70% are considered safe during pregnancy because of their negligible dermal penetration. In turn, 2% lactic acid is often used as a therapeutic option in gestational acne without generating fetal risks.
You may be interested in: 10 Homemade Exfoliating Scrubs for Skincare During Pregnancy
Mechanical or physical exfoliants
This type of peel doesn’t involve acidic substances but involves the use of a physical agent as an abrasive. Some of them can be exfoliating sponges, mechanical facial brushes, or granulated creams.
This type of exfoliation is more superficial and can cause irritation or microtears in the skin in case of generating too much friction or pressure. Mechanical exfoliants should be implemented in the daily skincare routine every 2 weeks. In addition, sunscreen should always be applied, with constant renewal every two hours, to avoid hyperpigmented spots on the skin.
What to do if you want to exfoliate your skin
When the skin is dry and dull, choosing to exfoliate is an excellent option to remove impurities and dead cells from the surface. It even contributes to cell renewal and leaves the skin smooth and soft. Ideally, choose mechanical exfoliants during pregnancy and postpone the use of acids until after the baby is born.
After exfoliating the skin, apply a moisturizing cream to nourish the new skin surface. Also, during the pregnancy period, the skin is more susceptible to developing melasma. This is due to hormonal alterations that stimulate melanin production. Therefore, one of the most important indications is the use of sunscreen every day.
If in doubt, consult your doctor
One of the safest and most effective procedures to clean the surface of the skin and pores of pregnant women are mechanical or physical exfoliants. These remove dead skin cells that are found in the most superficial layers of the skin and clog the pores.
Gentle exfoliants containing small particles are recommended to drag and remove impurities from the skin. In any case, you should always consult your doctor if you have any doubts or questions.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Bozzo P, Chua-Gocheco A, Einarson A. Safety of skin care products during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2011 Jun;57(6):665-7. PMID: 21673209; PMCID: PMC3114665.
- Castillo DE, Keri JE. Chemical peels in the treatment of acne: patient selection and perspectives. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018 Jul 16;11:365-372. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S137788. PMID: 30038512; PMCID: PMC6053170.
Basit H, Godse KV, Al Aboud AM. Melasma. [Updated 2021 Jan 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459271/