How to Improve the Appearance of a Dark Upper Lip        

When we hear ‘summer skin’ our minds might jump to dewy cheeks or a scatter of freckles. Although we all know deep down that the sun’s rays can be incredibly dangerous, we rarely think of the hindrances that a tanned glow can bring to our complexions. One of these is a dark upper lip, also known as the sun mustache.

A subtle bronzing of the skin is usually welcomed with open arms. However, when it occurs above the lip to appear as dark facial hair, it can leave you more self-conscious than sun-kissed. It’s the tan that nobody asked for. Plus, unlike that lovely post-holiday glow that fades as quickly as it appears, this summer skincare woe seems to stick around.

Luckily, we have the answer to restore your confidence and balance the appearance of your skin tone. Keep reading to discover how to improve the appearance of a dark upper lip.

woman with hydrated, glowy skin

What is a sun mustache?

Firstly, what actually is a sun mustache? If one summer’s day, you awaken to a dark upper lip out of nowhere, your skin has developed a sun mustache. It usually follows a day of sun exposure and is an unfortunately placed shadow on the face.

Depending on your skin tone, a sun mustache can vary from faint to quite dark. However, no matter what the shade, upper lip discoloration can be hard to conceal and with no action taken, can stick around for quite some time.

What causes upper lip discoloration?

Upper lip discoloration usually comes down to an excess of melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives our eyes and skin their color. Too much of it causes the skin to darken which can cause some dark patches on the face or more specifically, above the lip.

A boost in melanin can be caused by multiple factors including hormones, family history, some medications and of course, sun exposure. Patches of darker pigmented skin are particularly common during pregnancy, when hormones and estrogen levels are high and UV light exposure is known to make them significantly worse.

Even those who are dedicated to SPF can experience a sun mustache. This is simply due to the fact that the upper lip is a vulnerable area when it comes to sun exposure and SPF can be easily wiped away here. Every time we take a drink, eat food or clean our mouths we are exposing the skin to the sun’s rays.

girl with hydrated lips

How to lighten the appearance of a dark upper lip sun mustache

To prevent the UV rays from worsening any dark patches, constant sun-cream on the lip is always the best option. However, if the damage has already been done, fear not. Although it can be tricky to conceal with makeup, there are ways to lighten the appearance of a dark upper lip.

There are three parts of lightening a dark upper lip, the first is exfoliation, the second is cell renewal and the third is brightening the skin’s tone.

The skin on the upper lip can be sensitive so it’s best to avoid any physical exfoliants that can be irritating and harsh. Instead, look for ingredients that chemically exfoliate, such as BHAs, salicylic acid and retinoids. These ingredients break the bonds of those dead, dark skin cells and give them the budge they need to get moving. While doing this, these ingredients also work to renew the surface of the skin. After sweeping away the old, dead skin cells, they encourage the new ones to come to the surface and replace those that have become over-pigmented.

To brighten the tone of your skin, ingredients such as Vitamin C and Niacinamide work best. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to brighten the complexion’s appearance and protect the skin from further free radical damage caused by the sun’s rays. Meanwhile, Niacinamide helps to improve the skin’s lipid barrier and soothe with moisture.

You can incorporate each of these ingredients into your skincare throughout multiple steps or by simplifying it down to use one product which contains them all, such as the Transforming Clarity Facial Serum. This is a lightweight, high-performance, anti-blemish serum that’s supercharged with our unique blemish fighting LaB6 Skin Clearing Complex. It has been designed specifically to reduce the appearance of pores, discoloration and remove excess sebum.

There’s no need to let your skin and your confidence suffer this summer. With the right skincare routine, you can rest assured knowing your skin is renewed, refreshed, and hydrated. Let summer skin return to it’s original meaning- that lit-from-within glow!

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Josie Wilkins

Josie Wilkins

Writer and expert

Josie is an Online Beauty Editor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Her passions involve all things skincare and beauty and in her free time she likes to travel, read and get her beauty sleep.