Is it safe to have peels while pregnant and which ones?

i am 6 weeks pregnant and i have post acne marks and pigmentation on face. i want to go for lactic acid and kojic acid peel. is it safe in pregnancy? please let me know in detail about whether i can go for such peels or not.

I’m glad you asked this because none of us would ever want to do anything that could possibly affect our unborn children.

There three things to think about here:

  1. Will it cause any toxicity or harm to the baby?
  2. Will it cause you to get or aggravate melasma which is a long term problem for many women with no cure yet;
  3. Will it have the effect on the problem that you are hoping for?

On the harm issue, Kojic acid is absolutely not safe, and the only absolutely safe peel solution as far as the baby is concerned is glycolic acid because it is derived from sugar.

On the other two issues,  in my opinion, peels are not safe in pregnancy due the very likely problems with melasma or brown spots occuring  after the peel or peels.  During pregnancy, your pigment making cells (melanocytes) are extra active and the chances of starting or aggravating melasma are great, even if you don’t spend much time outdoors.

In general, a better choice would be a potent antioxidant that also has pigment fighting ingredients like the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, two ….. yes two high zinc sunscreens every day like the Dermaquest ZinClear with the Colorescience powder sunscreen or Jane Iredale powder makeup layered over it.   And possibly the new gentle plant based anti-pigment creams – but check with the company or your doctor before using these while pregnant.

Hope this helps,  Dr I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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