Most general dermatologists and physicians do not recommend doing glycolic acid peels during pregnancy because of possible negative effects on the embryo. The issue of main concern is that the chemicals may be absorbed through your skin and will affect the growth of your baby.
There also has not been any tests on pregnant women so it is difficult to ascertain if glycolic peels are harmless during pregnancy. However, there are some doctors who have said that glycolic or other AHA peels like lactic acid are relatively harmless and can be used during pregnancy. However, you should not do a deep glycolic peel and must only stick to low level concentrations. BHA peels like salicylic acid should however, be avoided.
During pregnancy, it is normal for many women to develop acne or the so-called ‘mask of pregnancy’ where the melanocytes in the skin are activated, thus causing melasma, which is a tan or skin discoloration with dark irregular patches. This melasma actually increases the risk of inflammatory hyperpigmentation after one does a glycolic peel, which is another reason why it is recommended to avoid glycolic peels during pregnancy or just use very low-level glycolic peels for a general skin refresher.
You want to avoid having any hyperpigmentation problems during pregnancy because you will be unable to use bleaching agents like hydroquinone to heal rapidly. You can only use these chemicals after birth, which may be a few months later. Generally, try avoiding high-concentration glycolic peels. If you must do them, do a low-level peel (20% maximum) once every 2 weeks or so.
Or you may want to stick to less harsh products like glycolic lotions and glycolic creams. Some of the Neostrata glycolic lotions are very light-weight and not strong enough to cause any negative issues.