15 Major Causes and Remedies of Sallow Skin

Sallow skin is skin that is not radiant because of medical conditions or lifestyle habits. This can be seen in all parts of the body, but it is easily noticed on the face.

In this article, you would learn how sallow skin is formed, the possible causes, how it looks, and how to treat it.

What does Sallow skin look like?

Sallow skin refers to dull, pale, or yellow skin. A skin that has lost its radiance and health for some reasons.

Sallow skin is not caused by aging, but its caused by an internal imbalance in the skin’s composition. This could be an imbalance in water, collagen, or new skin cell production.

Generally, the color of sallow skin is yellow or brown. However, this color change might not be exactly yellow or brown, just a shade of either color.

Also, the skin changes are not easily noticed in people with darker skin tones. It can be identified with an overall change in skin tone as some parts might be uneven.

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What are the causes of Sallow skin

Sallow skin can be caused by various physical and environmental conditions. However, it is imperative to note that sallow skin rarely happens suddenly.

The cause must be consistent to finally pull off that effect, except in cases like anemia.

Let’s discuss some of the possible causes of sallow skin and how they make the skin yellow;

●    Smoking

Smoking certain substances can make the skin look pale and sallow. For example, the nicotine in cigarettes can reduce blood flow to the skin by constricting the arteries.

With a reduced amount of blood reaching the skin, the skin would not receive the supposed amount of oxygen and nutrients that it needs.

Nutrients and oxygen are what make our skin healthy and radiant. In their absence, the skin would look pale and sallow.

Also, the smoke from tobacco cigars reduces the quality of collagen in the skin. With poor collagen fibers, the skin would not be tight and radiant.

●   Vitamin deficiency

One way to know if you are eating right is if your skin is looking right. The nutrients that make our skin radiant are not made inside our bodies but come from the food we eat.

For example, Vitamins A, C, and E can be gotten from plant foods, meats, and different fruits. These vitamins maintain the firm and elastic property of your skin. Vitamin C also protects your skin from skin irritators.

Vitamin D which can be gotten from sunlight, and Vitamin B12 from meat and cereals are essentially in the growth of new skin cells.

Therefore, if you are not taking these vitamins in their right proportion, your skin would become sallow over time.

●    Anemia

Anemia occurs when there is a fault in the production, quality, or amount of red blood cells. If the red blood cells are not adequate, they would not carry oxygen to body tissues properly.

In turn, if the skin does not receive enough oxygen, it would gradually turns pale and yellow.

●    Poor sleeping habit

During sleep, the body carries out activities that would repair the skin and make it healthy and radiant. For example, some hormones are released during sleep, to work with vitamins and promote the growth of new skin cells.

Also, the body works to balance hydration levels while you sleep.

If these activities are interrupted, there would be improper hydration levels and slow production of collagen in the skin. In addition, if new skin cells do not grow properly, wounds would take more time to heal.

These conditions would yield unfavorable effects in the long run, like sallow skin.

●    Dehydration

Water is necessary for the proper functioning of the organs of the body, including the skin.

For hydrated and healthy skin, every adult is to take eight or nine glasses of water daily. Taking more than this amount does not make the skin more hydrated.

However, taking a little amount of water would cause skin dehydration. If not treated on time, the dehydrated skin would become dry and sallow.


As the largest organ of the body, the skin bears the most effect of stress. The stress hormone, cortisol, can cause high blood pressure, weight gain, and even dry and sallow skin.

If left untreated, stress can lead to serious mental and physiological issues. Therefore, take some work off your shoulders and have a good rest. Not just for healthy skin, but also healthy life.

How to brighten Sallow skin


In some cases, it can  be treated by simply adopting a healthy lifestyle. This includes having a proper night’s rest, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, etc.

However, there are dermatological procedures that can help brighten sallow skin quickly. These procedures include;

●    Good skincare routine

The important instruments needed for a good skincare routine are a cleanser, moisturizer, and toner.

You can apply an SPF cream and a serum in the morning. The SPF cream would protect your skin against the ultraviolet rays of the sun, while the serum supplements your skin with nutrients that you might lack.

If you have dry skin, you can use a hydrating moisturizer to treat sallow skin in your evening routine. Use a toner if you have oily skin.

Keep in mind to use skin products that are friendly to your skin type.

●    Exfoliating

Exfoliating entails removing the top skin layer for the skin to regain its radiance. In creating sallow skin, it is best to exfoliate with only skin products to prevent skin irritation.

You should exfoliate two to three times a week for quick changes. However, if you have sensitive skin, you can start with one session per week.

●    Photorejuvenation

The two types of light used for photorejuvenation are Broad Band Light (BBL) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). Photorejuvenation is used to brighten every area of wallow skin, even around the eyes.

The procedure entails waving the light device over the sallow area. This light stimulates collagen production in that area, which would make the sallow skin brighter.

●    Microdermabrasion

The goal of microdermabrasion is to remove the dead skin cells and lose debris from the outermost layer of the skin.

This can be done using a jet of pressurized water, a burst of crystal particles, or a buffing tool that has a diamond tip.


It is the opposite of healthy skin. There are many possible causes of sallow skin like Anemia, smoking, stress, etc.

Knowing the reason behind sallow skin would help in choosing the best treatment method. With consistent efforts, sallow skin can be brightened to become healthy.


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