I am pregnant, which exfoliant can I use?

There are a few studies that link certain ingredients used in skin care products to their effect on an unborn child. Given the stream of articles with dos and don’ts, avoiding certain ingredients seems wise. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can also cause acne, or an increase in acne levels. While there are many ways to treat acne, some of the ingredients – as mentioned – are not safe to use during pregnancy. All this necessitates having a good exfoliant in your skin care routine.

When it comes to choosing exfoliants here are some pointers to consider:

  • Retinoids: They are fantastic ingredients and can help do many wonderful things for your skin including increasing cell renewal to help shed the dead cells, brighten skin, improve texture and help prevent skin collagen from breaking down. Accutane, a very potent form of Vitamin A and the most active form of retinoids is one of the few ingredients that is known to cause problems in pregnant women. Medical advice to pregnant women is to avoid them.
  • Acids: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are great exfoliating ingredients. They are called chemical exfoliants which means they mainly act by breaking down the walls of dead skin cells and ultimately detaching them from the skin. Salicylic acid is the only BHA that has been studied during pregnancy. High doses of this acid in oral form has shown to cause birth defects. AHAs have less risk associated with them but, like BHAs, the recommendation is to use them less frequently or avoid them altogether while pregnant.
  • Scrubs: They are a safe option but the problem with most scrubs is the indiscriminate way they take off the skin cells (stripping healthy as well as dead cells). Coarser and larger particles of sugars, coffee beans, salts and various pits can create micro tears in the skin. Micro beads, which were extremely popular up until a few years ago, are now known to be a major cause of environmental problems and are currently banned in Europe.
  • BOA Exfoliant: is a safe, yet effective option. The product is designed with sensitive skin in mind. It is made from naturally derived jojoba and select minerals. It has a very fine particle size that is not harsh on your skin and doesn’t create tears. When we say ’fine’ we are talking about minerals with particles the size of what is typically used in your face powder or eye shadow. BOA exfoliant picks up the dead cells as it is gently rubbed on the face and is then rolled away in the form of a rice-shaped particle. This phenomenon stops when there are no more dead skin cells left. So, it is the perfect way to signal to you to stop exfoliating your skin. This self-regulatory aspect of the product makes it ideal as an exfoliant for sensitive and pregnant consumers.


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The BOA Skin Academy Blog hopes to bring you educational, insightful and interesting reading material on the topics of skincare, beauty, rituals, self-care and wellness. All topics are chosen and written by the BOA team, with credits where credit is due. If you have a suggestion for a topic or a question about what we have written, we would love for you to get in touch. Please email us at info@boaskincare.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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