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A fresh, clean face staring back at you first thing in the morning is a great way to start off the day, especially when the aches and pains of pregnancy leave you feeling worn out. Exfoliating your skin with pregnancy-safe products can help revive not just your skin, but also your spirits. "During pregnancy, your hormones are all over the place, so you want to choose products to help balance, calm and nourish the skin of new moms and moms-to-be during this time of transition," says Saralee Hofrichter, a Massachusetts-based aesthetician and the owner of EarthElegant.com. Balance your mood and your skin-care routine with all-natural and herbal exfoliants during pregnancy.
"Exfoliation is an important step in skin care, but it doesn't need to be a harsh chemical exfoliation," says Hofrichter. She recommends clay as a natural way of exfoliating and shedding unwanted, peeling skin during pregnancy. "The clay mask is a gentle way to exfoliate the dead, dry skin that we produce every month."
A clay mask will wash away impurities in your skin by connecting itself to oils, toxins and dirt trapped within your face's pores. Wash away makeup with warm water and gentle soap and then apply the clay mask with a soft circular motion. Depending on the product, you can leave masks on for 10 to 30 minutes before washing with a washcloth and warm water.
Revitalize those skin cells during pregnancy with anti-aging exfoliation products. According to Jenelle Kim, formulator and herbalist for Jadience Herbal Formulas, an all-natural line of skincare products in California, exfoliation is one of the keys to anti-aging due to the fact that it removes dead skin cells and toxins while increasing circulation of blood and chi. She suggests keeping your exfoliation routine all-natural with herbal-formula exfoliating scrubs.
"The ritual of using finely ground herbal granules and rose hips to exfoliate dull surface skin cells in order to reveal new, healthy dermal layers has been used in Asia for hundreds of years," says Kim. "The herbal granules are nonabrasive, and the formula stays true to the centuries-proven ritual which results with ageless, radiant and smooth skin."
To achieve that healthy pregnancy glow, Kim recommends seeking herbal exfoliants with Poria cocos, artemisia and angelica to eliminate bacteria and penetrate deep to clear blemishes and prevent new breakouts. "Skin will be cleansed, purified and absolutely radiant," she says.
Fruit Acid Peels
If you are battling breakouts with the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings, resist the temptation to reach for your typical acne creams with retinoid or salicylic acid, says Dr. Oscar Hevia, a cosmetic dermatologist in Miami, Florida. "Instead, use gentle scrubs or fruit acid peels," he suggests. "Exfoliation stimulates skin renewal and decreases the formation of blackheads and whiteheads."
A fruit acid peel will use natural glycolic acid found in oranges and apples to remove layers of skin while toning and improving the texture of your face and body. Known for preventing and fighting acne, fruit acid peels also provide deep cleansing action that is safe during pregnancy.
Sometimes, it's best to keep your beauty routine simple when the chaos of pregnancy takes over. Some of the best all-natural exfoliants are right at your fingertips in your household. "A great way to exfoliate skin while pregnant is to use an exfoliating soap made with natural ingredients such as oatmeal, salt and sugar one to two times a week in the shower," says Hevia. "These natural ingredients work as physical exfoliants to gently remove dead cells from the skin's surface."