Is It Safe To Use Body Scrubs During Pregnancy?

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Body scrubs are a great way to pamper yourself. But just like most other cosmetic products, you may wonder about the safety of body scrubs during pregnancy.

With the stretching of the skin, the added stress, and popping out of pimples, it becomes especially important to take care of your skin while pregnant. Scrubs gently exfoliate the skin and remove the dead skin cells, leaving it glowing and smooth (1). You may use scrubs that are natural and chemical-free. However, you need to consider certain tips and measures while using them during pregnancy.

Read on to know more about the use of scrubs in pregnancy, including its benefits and side effects.

In This Article

How Does A Body Scrub Work?

Body scrubs exfoliate and make skin softer

Image: Shutterstock

A layer of dead cells covers the skin of the entire body. It leaves the skin looking dark, dull and lifeless. Body scrubs gently remove the layer of dead cells and improve skin renewal, thereby lending you that ‘natural radiance’ and ‘silky softness’.

Using them occasionally can also reduce the dark spots. Also, exfoliation tends to improve blood circulation. It also allows the moisture to penetrate and nourish the skin (2).

protip_icon Quick tip
Select an exfoliation method based on your skin type. For instance, a washcloth or mild exfoliator may be a good option if you have dry and sensitive skin. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you may benefit from using a stronger mechanical exfoliator (1).

Is It Safe To Use A Body Scrub During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women with sensitive skin should not use salt-based body scrubs

Image: Shutterstock

Most experts believe that body scrubs are safe for use during pregnancy. You can use salt or sugar-based body scrubs during your pregnancy period without any risk to your baby. Your skin does not deeply absorb salt and sugar, which is why it is quite safe to use them. Avoid salt-based body scrubs, if your skin is sensitive and stressed, since it tends to break the smaller blood vessels (3) (4).

protip_icon Point to consider
Always check the label of the skincare products before using them. Avoid products containing hydroquinone, retinoids, parabens, phthalates, and fragrances (10).

Tips On How To Use A Body Scrub While Pregnant

While it is almost entirely safe to use body scrubs during pregnancy, there are a few important things you must keep in mind while practicing pregnancy skincare (1) (5).

  • If your scrub contains harmful chemicals, your skin may absorb it and lead to fetal complications. Check the label before you pick up a scrub from the supermarket.
  • So go natural and organic to pamper your skin! You can also try homemade pregnancy-safe DIY scrubs enriched with antioxidants and vitamins that won’t harm your baby and leave your skin glowing too! Sugar and salt-based scrubs that have some emollients work wonders for your skin!

    Homemade scrubs are safe to use for pregnant women

    Image: Shutterstock

  • Gently massage the body scrub, particularly during pregnancy, to promote blood flow. It is important to keep in mind that body scrubs contain granules, and rubbing it too harshly on your delicate skin could injure it. After all you are looking to add some glow to your skin and not bruises!
  • Avoid the use of moisturizing Aloe Vera lotions, scrubs, and products as it may lead to birth defects.
  • Make use of gentle exfoliating agents such as jojoba beads or other ground seeds to scrub your skin clean.
  • Avoid using body scrubs that have aromatherapy essential oils, such as aniseed, basil, camphor, sage, birch, lemongrass, and some others (6).
  • Avoid using body scrubs that contain essential oils that tend to irritate or sensitize the skin. It may be a good idea to take your doctor’s suggestion (7).
  • The psychological benefits of a” scrub “are from the physical contact, not just the substances used. Think about using a plain wet or dry clean flannel, exfoliating gloves, loofah, or bath sponge instead for a calming and soothing effect. Take your time making contact with your skin and enjoying your nourishing and hydrating self-care without worrying about what chemicals, natural or otherwise, might affect you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use a body scrub on my pregnant belly?

Yes, but ensure that you use non-toxic and safe-ingredient products and be gentle when handling your belly during pregnancy. Do not worry about the stretch marks or cellulite on your belly, as they may reduce with time. Keep your skin moisturized to prevent dryness or irritation in the area (8).

2. Can I use a coffee scrub while pregnant?

Although your doctor may suggest cutting down on caffeine while pregnant, some experts state that caffeinated skin products could be safe to use for a short time for relaxation (9). However, it would be best to use them after a doctor’s consultation during pregnancy. Also, if you want to avoid contact with caffeine, you may skip using a coffee scrub during pregnancy.

3. How often should pregnant women use body scrubs?

During pregnancy, the skin becomes sensitive, and using harsh body scrubs too many times could irritate the skin and prove harmful. Hence, it is better to consult with a dermatologist and use body scrubs timely to get desired results.

4. Are there any specific brands of body scrubs that are safe to use during pregnancy?

The available medical evidence is insufficient and inconclusive to pinpoint the pregnancy-safe body scrub brands. Several natural body scrubs are available under several brand names. However, it is recommended to consult with a doctor before using.

A scrub effectively removes dead skin and adds some natural glow. Massaging it gently on your skin in a circular motion gives you soft and nourished skin. Using body scrubs during pregnancy is considered safe, provided they are free from chemicals and other harmful products. However, since any product you apply can go deep into the skin, scrubs containing chemicals may cause problems in fetal growth. Keeping this in mind, use sugar- or salt-based body scrubs. These are natural products that do not cause any pregnancy complications. Also, stay away from natural ingredients such as aloe vera and essential oil in your scrubs since they are not safe during pregnancy. If you are doubtful about any ingredient in your scrub, talk to your doctor.

Infographic: Points To Consider When Using Body Scrub

Pregnancy requires you to take good care of your skin, and body scrub can help you with that. However, it’s essential to be mindful of certain things when using a body scrub during pregnancy. Read through this infographic to learn some handy tips for pregnant women using a body scrub.

tips on using a body scrub during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Scrubbing during pregnancy is generally safe but basic safety measures should be considered.
  • Natural body scrubs based on salt and sugar are safe for both the baby and mother, except for women who are sensitive to salt.
  • Organic scrubs are recommended to avoid any chemical reactions or allergies during pregnancy.
  • Scrubbing requires gentle massage due to the granules which can be harsh on the mother’s skin.
Body Scrubs During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  2. Katie Rodan et al.; (2016); Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare.
  3. Top 10 Natural Exfoliants That You Can Use For Your DIY Face Masks!
  4. Homemade sugar scrubs for skin care.
  5. Pregnant Women.
  7. Allergic contact dermatitis to essential oils.
  8. Pregnancy and Skin Changes.
  9. Do Caffeinated Skin Care Products Work?
  10. Safe Use Of Cosmetics And Personal Care Products During Pregnancy.
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Kay Lakka is the founder of Londontherapy, a busy psychological practice in the center of London. She holds a BSc (hons) in psychology and MSc in the psychodynamics of human development and has numerous post graduate diplomas including advanced psychotherapy, guidance through dreams, and psychosexual relationship counseling.

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Ria Saha
Ria SahaB.Tech
Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant.

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Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).

Read full bio of Rebecca Malachi
Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. With two years of experience, she has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences.

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