Are Chemical Peels Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnant or nursing mothers are typically advised to steer clear of cosmetic treatments because hormones can interfere with results and the skin may not respond positively to treatment. However, there are some types of treatments that have been deemed safe during pregnancy.

Certain types of chemical peels can trigger the skin cell renewal process and strengthen and tone the skin to create a more youthful appearance. However, there are only a few peels that can be administered safely during pregnancy. Here’s a close look at the best types of chemical peels for expectant moms, and the peels to avoid during pregnancy:

How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical peels are one of several derma-peeling techniques that are administered to the top of the skin to “burn” the top layer and reveal the fresher layer underneath. These peels can be administered to the face, neck and hands to treat wrinkles, reduce the effects of sun damage, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. They may also be able to keep melasma under control and even out skin that has become dull or uneven.

Best Types of Chemical Peels During Pregnancy

Since pregnancy can change the way the expectant mom’s skin responds to certain types of cosmetic procedures, only some of the “light” chemical peels are suitable for pregnant women. In general, glycolic acid peels and AHA peels are fairly safe for pregnancy. These peels do not penetrate very deep into the pores and trigger only a very mild peeling effect. After the peel, the expectant mom may experience only slight flaking of the skin. The peels can be performed approximately 7 to 10 days apart depending on skincare goals.
Light peels combined with microdermabrasion are also considered to be safe during pregnancy. Microdermabrasion helps to buff away the top layer of the skin to reveal the youthful, fresher layer of skin underneath. The peel is typically administered after microdermabrasion so it can sink into the pores and starts to work within hours after treatment.

Chemical Peels to Avoid During Pregnancy

Certain types of chemical peels do need to be avoided during pregnancy. Salicylic acid, BHA peels and retinol peels are too aggressive for women who are pregnant and can damage or excessively burn the skin. These peels are very powerful and effective for getting rid of lines and wrinkles, reducing pigmentation and strengthening the skin, but they can interfere with any medications the expectant mom may be taking and cause unwanted side effects.
Salicylic acid, BHA peels and retinol peels may be an option for expectant moms a few months after giving birth. As long as the mom is not taking medications that can interfere with the peel, she may be able to benefit from a more powerful skin rejuvenating peel when hormone levels have returned to normal and the body has recovered fully from the delivery.
Learn more about chemical peels in our information guide, or consult with a medical spa in your area to find out if you are a good candidate for a chemical peel.