The dos and don’ts of using AHA, BHA and hyaluronic acid in pregnancy
Melissa Schweiger Kleinman served as beauty editor at Sephora for many years, after a long career at US publications including Seventeen, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. The mother of two and author of several beauty books has now condensed her most asked pregnancy related questions into Mama You’ve Got This, a free to download ebook created with pregnancy skincare experts Mama Mio. In this extract from the comprehensive guide, she answers the question of whether skincare acids are safe for mothers-to-be.
Acids might just be one of the best things to happen to skincare. We’re not talking about the mind-bending variety, rather Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Beta Hydroxy Acids and hyaluronic acid. While many trendy ingredients are introduced all of the time in the skincare world, these acids are mainstays for a reason.
Hyaluronic acid (HA), a powerhouse of an anti-ageing and hydrating skincare ingredient, is safe to use during pregnancy (hooray!). It’s naturally found in our bodies and is very versatile, so it works well with all skin types, including sensitive and acne prone. Make sure to incorporate it if you’re on an acne regimen, to replenish moisture back into the skin that’s most likely being robbed by the harsh acne ingredients. HA is best used in serum form, right after cleansing and before you apply your moisturiser.
Now, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are a bit trickier to navigate during pregnancy. Salicylic acid is a BHA, so best to avoid it. Glycolic acid, which is an AHA, is considered safe to use in lower concentrations, but you can always use a product containing lactic acid instead. Lactic acid, another AHA, will help refine the pores and generally do the same thing that glycolic acid does, but at a lower strength and with less irritation.
One of the main actions of an AHA is they provide chemical exfoliation. I hate dead skin cells sticking around on my face for no good reason just as much as the next person, however using a potentially harmful chemical to give those dead cells their walking papers is not worth it.
Instead, I’m all about manual exfoliation, which is the act of using a washcloth to manually slough off the top layer of skin. I’ve found muslin cloths to be especially amazing for this purpose. After applying your facial cleanser, dampen a muslin cloth with warm water and press it on the skin before gently rubbing the cleanser off. To be extra cautious, use Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow Face Wash, a gentle cleanser with tea tree oil, green tea leaf extract and coconut derived cleansers to give skin a natural radiance.