What Is Sallow Skin? All of Your Questions, Answered
When you’re sick, it doesn’t always take a cough or a sneeze for someone to tell you’re feeling under the weather. Sometimes just a quick look at your skin can give it all away. Your skin doesn’t lie and it shows when you’re healthy and when you’re not feeling your best. On good days, your cheeks are marked by a pretty pink flush and your face looks supple, like it has life in it. When you’re sick, or myriad external causes wreak havoc on your skin, it can start to look sallow and lose its plumpness.
What Is Sallow Skin?
We spoke with Amanda Turbeville, MD, the Medical Director at Touch MedSpa, SkinCeuticals ambassador and Skincare.com consultant, to get the lowdown on sallow skin. According to Dr. Turbeville, sallow skin is a term used to describe skin that has lost its natural healthy complexion. Sallow skin can usually be recognized based on its yellow tone and is particularly noticeable in the face. Dr. Turbeville shares that as skin ages, dryness, fine lines and wrinkles are likely to be more noticeable, but sallow skin can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
How Can You Prevent Sallow Skin?
There are steps you can take to prevent sallow skin, and they start with living a healthier lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes and regularly getting a good night’s sleep. Beyond healthy habits, your skin-care routine can play a role, too. Dr. Turbeville offered this 5-step regimen as a jumping off point for helping to prevent sallow skin:
1. Cleanse with a quality facial cleanser.
Your face wash is the start of it all, so it’s important you find a formula that works for your skin type. You want a cleanser that effectively cleanses your skin of pore-clogging impurities without stripping it of natural oils.
2. Use topical vitamin C.
Dr. Turbeville recommends applying an antioxidant vitamin C product, such as Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum, to help protect your surface skin cells. Vitamin C can help neutralize free-radical damage and ward off signs of environmentally-induced aging.
3. Apply UV protection in the morning.
Every skin-care routine requires sun protection. Every morning, be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher. To keep your skin protected throughout the day, don’t forget to reapply at least every two hours.
4. Use retinol in the evening.
If you haven’t started using retinol yet, now’s the time to do so. Retinol is a multi-tasking ingredient lauded for its ability to help address a wide range of skin concerns, from improving an uneven skin tone to reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Start with a low dosage, like SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, to build up your tolerance if you’re new to the ingredient. Just remember that because retinol can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight, it’s important to always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen during daytime hours.
5. Always moisturize.
Moisturizing is one of the most important steps in a skin-care routine to keep your complexion looking healthy. We like SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 to nourish dry, mature skin.
How Can You Treat Sallow Skin?
If you notice your skin is looking sallow, know that it is possible to get your radiant, healthy complexion back, but first, you must determine the underlying cause. Dr. Turbeville lists the most common causes as: “anemia, vitamin deficiency, smoking and stress or lack of sleep.” If you have anemia, Dr. Turbeville recommends getting more iron and vitamin B-12 in your diet. If you have a vitamin deficiency, eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables. If you’re stressed or slacking on sleep, implement a bedtime routine and strive to meet the recommended number of hours of sleep every night. Following up on these recommendations, Dr. Turbeville advises checking in with a doctor if the look of your skin hasn’t improved.