Sun Mustache: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

sara.rosssara.ross
Sep. 16, 2020

Credit: Pixabay

Sun mustache refers to darkened skin on the upper lip caused by UV light exposure. You can treat it with skin lightening and brightening products.
If you’ve noticed your upper lip skin is looking distinctly darker after long summer days, you might have a sun mustache. 
We share what causes this awkward phenomenon and what other conditions can darken your upper lip. Learn what to do to restore your skin to normal. 
What is Sun Mustache and What Causes It?
There’s nothing like soaking up those rays, but UV radiation can be incredibly damaging to your skin. An enviable tan is the result of your skin producing excess pigment (melanin) to reduce injury. 
So, why is that only your upper lip is noticeably darker? 
The upper lip gets a lot of action—drinking or eating can inadvertently rub away SPF, and sweat tends to collect there too. 
Most of us don’t realize how often we touch our faces: you might be unknowingly wiping off your SPF. 
That means even if you apply SPF religiously before heading out, you need to remember to top it off. Don’t forget to rub it in, since patting down your cheeks and forehead will leave your upper lip exposed. 

Credit: Pixabay

What Else Causes Dark Upper Lip Skin?
If you avoid sun exposure and slather your face with SPF regularly, your sun mustache could be something else. 
Melasma is the typical culprit behind sudden dark patches on the face. Technically, sun mustache is a type of melasma too—UV radiation is one potential cause. 
Other possible factors include pregnancy, certain medications, allergic reactions to cosmetics, and hormonal therapies. 

Credit: Pixbay

How Do You Get Rid of Sun Mustache?
Now that you know why you have it, it’s time to find out how to fix it. Stay patient and be consistent to fade the discoloration. 
  • Apply SPF 
You don’t want your sun mustache to get worse. Keep up with applying sunscreen, and make sure it’s at least SPF 30 or higher. 
If you know you’ll be at the beach or pool, aim to be more conscious of your habits. For example, try to avoid touching your upper lip, and apply SPF after drinking or eating.
  • Skin Brightening Treatments 
There are plenty of treatments that help even out skin tone and eliminate dark spots. Ingredients to look out for include:
  • Hydroquinone 
Hydroquinone is a staple ingredient in skin lightening treatments, both prescription and over-the-counter. It’s strong and can cause irritation, so you’ll want to be careful with it. 
  • Arbutin
Arbutin is a natural variation of hydroquinone, which is derived from certain plants. It inhibits a certain enzyme that encourages pigment production. 
It’s usually less irritating than traditional hydroquinone but still effective. 
  • Vitamin C 
You’ll find vitamin C in the majority of skin brightening treatments. The powerful antioxidants work to even out skin tone and improve photoaging. 
  • Azelaic Acid 
This acid can fight acne as well as hyperpigmentation disorders, such as sun mustache. Like with arbutin, it inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase to prevent and improve darkening. 
  • Licorice Extract 
This plant-based extract reduces unwanted pigmentation in two ways. It lowers pigment production to fade out dark spots and has anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s non-irritating. 
  • Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is another solution to inhibit melanin production and lighten skin. It also has some antimicrobial abilities which can help soothe inflammation, e.g. from acne.
  • Niacinamide 
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) stimulates keratin production, which makes the outer layer of your skin tougher and less prone to damage. It’s a highly effective skin lightening treatment as it also disrupts pigment production. 
Best Skin Lightening Treatments for Sun Mustache 
Fortunately, there are plenty of skin brightening serums and creams on the market. Here are three options to consider to kiss your sun mustache goodbye:
  • TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum
This vitamin C serum is free of artificial ingredients such as stabilizers and synthesizers. 
It contains other complexion-boosting substances such as witch hazel, jojoba oil, and hyaluronic acid.
The formula works to fade sun spots and improve skin tone overall. It can also help smooth out wrinkles and improve skin firmness. 
  • EnaSkin Dark Spot Corrector
The EnaSkin Dark Spot Corrector works on both your face and body. It has multiple ingredients to correct uneven skin tone, including kojic acid and salicylic acid.
Aside from fading a sun mustache, this lightweight cream can also improve acne scarring and aging signs.
  • PULCHRIE Lightening Serum 
This serum contains arbutin and kojic acid, two effective skin brighteners. It can fade out existing dark patches and prevent the formation of new ones. 
PULCHRIE’s serum includes anti-aging and anti-wrinkle ingredients too. 
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