One tough thing about settling into a new skin care routine is that it can take a loooong time to see a difference. But unlike lightening your pregnancy melasma or fading stretch marks (which can take months), exfoliation is one of those instantly gratifying treatments you can see and feel within minutes.
There are lots of methods to get that glowing, shiny skin -- here are our favorites!
What is exfoliation?
Whether it's through chemical or mechanical tools, exfoliation is the process of removing old, dead skin cells from your skin's top surface. This reveals newer, healthy skin underneath that can leave you touchable softer and visibly radiant.
Exfoliation is an age-old beauty treatment that everyone -- man or woman, pregnant or not -- can benefit from. Even Cleopatra famously loved her milk baths, which is a natural exfoliant rich in lactic acid (or alpha hydroxy acid) that gently exfoliates every crook and cranny.
Mechanical vs chemical exfoliation: What's the difference?
There are two ways to exfoliate your face and body: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation uses an abrasive to scrub away dead skin. This includes everything from micro-bead facial scrubs, pumice stones, microfiber cloths, microdermabrasion, and small grains, like sugar, salt and jojoba beads.
We are big fans of mechanical exfoliation because there are tons of ways to exfoliate skin naturally, and you can usually see results immediately!
On the other hand, you have chemical exfoliants, which uses acids or enzymes to penetrate the skin and encourage the sloughing away of dead cells.
Popular chemical exfoliants include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAS) that can greatly vary in strength from over-the-count products to the stuff found in your dermatologists' office. While chemical exfoliants may take longer for visible results, its a crucial step for anti-aging.
So many choices! Which exfoliant is best for me?
Since there are so many great tools to exfoliate, it all depends on your skin's needs and personal preference. For a complete routine, we recommend using both mechanical and chemical exfoliation. Here are our favorites items to keep your face and body supple and refreshed!
A gentle body scrub. We prefer an sugar scrub over salt, because sugar exfoliation scrubs are a natural source of AHAs that skin loves oh-so-much. Try our Indulge body polish, a sugar scrub for stretch marks that combines sugar with a wealth of vitamin-rich oils to exfoliate & hydrate at the same time.
Pumice stone for rough feet & elbows. Once a week, soak your calloused skin in warm water to soften the dead skin cells. Then grab a handy pumice stone and gently buff away those rough spots.
Exfoliation gloves. On those days between your sugar scrub treatment, keep skin soft by using exfoliation gloves with your body wash. Not only do the gloves encourage a rich lather (important for pregnancy safe body washes without icky sulfates), they are gentle enough to use daily without damaging sensitive skin.
- Low-dose chemical exfoliant for face. During pregnancy, it's advised to stay away from super exfoliants like salicylic acid (BHA). However, a low dose chemical exfoliant (we're talking less than 2%) can safely keep your face polished and glowing! Also consider mild chemical exfoliants like lactic acid or glycolic acid (AHAs).