As an expectant mom, you have the tough job of balancing your own comfort with the health of your baby. This makes everything you put in or on your body a serious decision. Some pregnant women find the stretched skin on their bellies painful, discolored or riddled with stretch marks. Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHA, may provide relief for these conditions, according to The American Pregnancy Association in its article "Skin Changes During Pregnancy." Although the American Pregnancy Association later goes on to say that AHA doesn't boast clinically verified results, it won't hurt your baby, so there's no harm in trying it out.
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Consult your doctor to make sure your skin discomfort or changed appearance is normal. Bring any products you intend to use to your doctor's office to make sure their ingredients are safe for pregnancy.
Choose a cream that contains only safe ingredients. While AHA is safe during pregnancy, some common additives are not, according to Baby Center. Read the label and pass on any products that contain retenoids, salicylic acid or chemical acne-fighting ingredients. Choose a product with a 10 percent concentration of AHA or less.
Avoid any product or supplements taken internally that claim to contain AHA. AHA has only been tested for safety when applied topically.
Apply the cream or lotion as per the package instructions: to clean, dry skin.
Allow the lotion to absorb completely, then apply a light sunscreen over it. AHA can increase your skin's light sensitivity, according to the Food and Drug Administration, making you more susceptible to sunburn.
Combine your use of AHA with a healthy diet consisting of adequate fluid intake and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, according to the American Heart Association. A nutritious diet and adequate hydration help increase collagen and elastin production, which helps skin retain its elasticity.
- American Pregnancy Association: Skin Changes During Pregnancy
- Baby Center: Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy
- Medicine.net: Skin Preoblems of Pregnancy
- American Heart Association: Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Guidance: Labeling for Cosmetics Containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids, 2005