I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

TGIF y’all!!!! In today’s post I am going to share some very safe alternatives to Retinol and Salicylic Acid to use as an exfoliant during pregnancy! This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are my favorites!

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. It is also an Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Its molecules are very large which makes it take longer to penetrate the skin, causing less irritation. This is my absolute favorite acid for pregnancy related acne. It also helps to control pigmentation and lessen fine lines and wrinkles. I use pads soaked in a Mandelic Acid solution that we carry at the spa in our medical line. You can also find it in Rhonda Allison’s Mandelic Argenine Serum. (Y’all know how much I love Rhonda Allison- in case you miss it here’s my interview with her!)

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid, also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA, is derived from cane sugar. Like mandelic acid, it exfoliates the skin and decreases wrinkles and pigmentation. You can try Silk Therapeutics’ Silk Renewing Peel which is a Glycolic Acid exfoliant 1-2 times per week. I also like Glytone’s Rejuvenating Cream 10. I use a 10% Glycolic from our signature medical grade line at Synergy Spa.

Azaelic Acid

Azaelic Acid comes from wheat, rye and barley. It is a topical antiseptic and I often use this on my patients’ skin after extractions. It is excellent for controlling acne. Its prescription form is called Finacea. The  wonderful PA that I work with swears by this product so I’m having my Rx filled tomorrow- I will let you know what I think!

Lactic Acid

 Lactic Acid is derived from milk (more specifically, milk that has spoiled). This is another powerhouse Alpha Hydroxy Acid that helps to combat wrinkles as well as reduce acne breakouts. A great one to try is Dermalogica’s Skin Resurfacing Cleanser.

Thanks for stopping by! XO, Ashli



  1. Fixing to start Finacea as well. I️ have sensitive skin/rosacea and prone to breakouts. Combination skin! What would be the best way to introduce and use Finacea to minimize irritation? Like every other day or third day and moisturize before or after? How long to wait after washing before applying the Finacea? So many questions lol but need some professional advise! Thx!!

  2. I am about to start Finacea as well. I have sensitive/rosacea skin but i am also prone to breakouts in the tzone and have combination skin. Could you suggest the best way to introduce this to my skin to lesson irritation? I’ve used it many years ago but when i did i was also given Atralin every night and Finacea every morning all at once. This caused a lot of irritation and dryness. My skin was never given time to adjust and it was just too much so i stopped it all but looking back i feel that my Dr should have gradually introduced all of it to my skin. Anyway, I’m wanting to give Finacea another shot…so would it be best to wash, moisturize, then wait 20-30 minutes and then apply the Finacea? And should i patch test first? Thx!

    1. Author

      Hi! The best way to introduce it to the skin is gradually- starting by applying it every 3rd night for two weeks and then building up to every other night for another 2 weeks until eventually your skin can tolerate an application every evening. Wash, then apply the Finacea- moisturizer on top! If you did not have an allergic reaction to it in your last use there is no need for a patch test! XO, Ashli

      1. Thank you so much Ashli! I really appreciate taking the time to reply to me and I’m sorry if I spammed you but my comments kept disappearing so I wasn’t sure it was going thru!
        Also, will this help with pores? Like clear them out to make them less noticeable?

        1. Author

          Hi! Sorry for my delayed response! Fenacia sure will help with pores! Azaleic Acid, which is the active ingredient, acts as an antiseptic very similar to Salicylic Acid. By keeping your pores clear it will reduce their appearance! Xo

  3. It didn’t show my first comment so i commented again and now it is showing!!!! Sorry for the overload!!!

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