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Why Is My Upper Lip Dark? Causes and Treatment 

By Mariela
December 6, 2023
6 minutes

Dark upper lips are a concern for many women as uneven skin tone and acne marks might be covered with makeup, but covering dark upper lips is challenging. Therefore, are you sick of the hyperpigmentation in your upper lip area? 

Having several causes, dark upper lips give an impression of having a little mustache even after you have removed all the hair, right? Thus, let us find out why is my upper lip dark and how to treat the upper lip discoloration at home. 

Table of Contents:

Part 1: General Discoloration of Upper Lips 

Dark Upper LipSometimes, you just have dark upper lips regardless of the hair removal method you use. In other cases, dark upper lip is because of improper hair removal. Here we will focus on discoloration of upper lips in general.

Why is My Upper Lip Dark?

The most common causes of upper lip discoloration are given as.

1. Hormonal Fluctuations

A dark upper lip, also called a Melasma mustache, is a condition caused by the overproduction of melanin in the skin. One of the top causes of excess melanin production is changes in the level of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and melanin-stimulating hormones in the body. 

These changes are most likely to occur in pregnancy, around menopause, and in puberty as well.

2. Sun Exposure and Tanning

Sun Exposure and TanningUV rays from the sun trigger increased release of melanin in the skin. This melanin leads to hyperpigmentation around the mouth, especially the upper lip. Additionally, tanning beds and artificial tanning can also cause uneven skin tone. 

3. Systemic Disorders

Any physical disorder that affects the hormones in the body can lead to the development of a dark upper lip. For example, hyper/hypothyroidism affects thyroid glands, Addison’s disease is caused by reduced functions of adrenal glands, Vitamin D and B12 deficiency, and dermatitis can cause upper lip darkness. 

4. Use of Certain Products

Smoking, excess intake of alcohol, and use of comedogenic products can cause discoloration of the upper lips.

Moreover, medications like oral contraceptive pills, hormonal replacement therapy, antibiotics like doxycycline, chemotherapy, and antimalarial drugs can also cause it. 

5. Family History

An unclear cause of upper lip darks can be genetics. So, it might be the place you live in or the genetics that cause the stubborn darkness of the upper lips. 

6. Trauma 

Trauma to the upper lip area either by infection, continuous licking of the skin, lip biting, acne, burns, or inflammation can be a cause of hyperpigmentation of the upper lip as well. 

How to Get Rid of Discoloration on the Upper Lip?

The treatment options for the causes discussed above are given below. Additionally, if you have a mustache shadow rather than hyperpigmentation, give how to get rid of mustache shadow a read. 

1. Protection From the Sun

Protection From the SunThe foremost thing in treating hyperpigmentation in any area of the body, especially the face is protection from the sun. For this, apply a good amount of sunscreen in the morning and reapply it every few hours depending upon the sun exposure.

Furthermore, try staying under the shade and wearing UV protective hats to prevent the direct influence of the sun’s rays on the upper lip area. 

2. Upgrading the Skincare Routine

Upgrading the Skincare RoutineIf you just wash your face and consider it enough in the name of self-care, please be attentive and devise a complete skincare routine to make your skin more even-toned, pigmentation-free, radiant, and healthy.

Start with a cleanser containing vitamin C, arbutin, kojic acid, or lactic acid. Follow it with moisturizers having vitamin C, niacinamide, retinol, licorice extract, and hyaluronic acid. Furthermore, use chemical exfoliants containing AHAs, and BHAs,  at least once a week.

3. Staying Consistent with the Skincare

The key to healthy skin and dealing with hyperpigmented upper lip is consistency. Yes, you can get rid of hyperpigmented skin with skincare. But you need to follow the skincare routine enthusiastically every day to prevent it from coming back and brightening your skin.

4. Natural Remedies

Homemade DIY facial masks can help brighten the skin on the upper lip as well. Some of the top tried and tested remedies for hyperpigmentation include 

  • turmeric paste for its effect on the inhibition of melanin production
  • papaya because of the presence of skin-lightening vitamins in it
  • milk or yogurt as they exfoliate the skin lightly 
  • lemon juice as it is enriched with vitamin C 
  • oatmeal scrub to exfoliate the skin
  • Aloe vera as it heals the skin
  • Potato as it bleaches the skin naturally 

5. Over-the-Counter Topical Treatments

In addition to homemade remedies, over-the-counter ointments can be used to deal with stubborn dark spots on the upper lips. These creams contain a well-managed amount of skin-brightening and exfoliating ingredients. 

These ingredients include azelaic acid, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and retinoids. 

Part 2: Discoloration of Upper Lips After Shaving

Shaving is one of the hair removal methods that make upper lips dark and give them a mustache shadow. 

Why is My Upper Lip Dark After Shaving?

shaving-my-upper-lipIf you notice that your upper lips appear dark whenever you shave them, it is because of the following reasons. 

1. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Although appears harmless, shaving causes trauma to the skin. This trauma causes inflammation and skin redness. As the skin redness subsides, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs because of the stimulation of melanocytes in the skin which results in darkness of the upper lips. 

Furthermore, you are likely to get it if you shave your upper lips too often. 

2. Razor Burns

Using dull blades, going over a single section over and over again, and applying more pressure than necessary puts friction on the upper lip skin and gives you razor burns. These razor burns cause skin irritation and are a form of trauma. Consequently, the melanin production in the skin and thus the hyperpigmentation on the upper lips. 

3. Ingrown Hair

Shaving is the most common hair removal method that gives you ingrown hair. When hair is trimmed rather than being pulled out of the roots, it grows back under the skin giving you a bump. 

As the twisted hair lies in the middle of the bump. It gives it a dark impression. Furthermore, having multiple ingrown hairs makes the upper lips dark. 

4. Bad Technique of Shaving

Skin preparation, meticulous shaving technique, and post-shaving skin pampering are essential to give your skin a flawless appearance. So, if you shave on unclean and dry skin, use old razors with dull blades, move against the grain, and follow it with no moisturizer, you are likely to develop upper lip shadow. 

How to Get Rid of Dark Upper Lip After Shaving?

ulikeIf shaving is your go-to method for upper lip hair removal and facial hair but you do not want upper lip darkness, here are some tips to improve your facial hair shaving experience. 

1. Work on Your Shaving Technique

If your shaving technique is at fault, it is time to improve it. Although shaving seems very easy to some and like a battle to others, you can shave seamlessly with little effort, caution, and practice. 

Some tips for shaving are 

  • Use a new or sharp blade
  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth when it comes to the upper lips
  • Pull the skin taut as you are shaving
  • Work in small strokes
  • Be gentle while moving the blade
  • Do not shave over a single section multiple times. 

Also, check how to shave without cutting the skin

2. Skin Preparation and Post-Shaving Care

While the shaving technique itself is important, so is the pre and post-care of shaving. Therefore, clean your face with lukewarm water beforehand to open the pores and soften the hair. Regular exfoliation is also appreciated. After that put any lubricating agent on the face like a moisturizer, aloe vera gel, or facial serum.

After you are done shaving, wash the face with cold water and apply a moisturizer to soothe the skin and sunscreen to protect the skin from the sun.

3. Upgrading Your Hair Removal Method

Shaving, no matter how nicely done, needs to be repeated every few days. This repetition is itself a risk factor for hyperpigmentation. You can find the whole truth about using a razor on the face here.

Therefore, you can say goodbye to using a razor twice or thrice every week and say hello to the Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL hair removal handset. This IPL hair removal device with semi-long-lasting results can help you get rid of the dark upper lips once and for all.

Additionally, it is not only for the upper lips. But it can also be used on the chin, cheeks, forehead, sideburns, legs, arms, bikini lines, and other areas of the body as well. 


Upper lip hyperpigmentation gives the skin a weird mustache-looking appearance and impacts confidence even though it has no impact on the health of the skin. Its common causes can be preventable like hormonal issues and a bad hair removal technique or can be treatable with extra effort like family history. 

Furthermore, you can update your hair removal methods, skincare routine, and lifestyle to get rid of the upper lip darkness once and for all. 

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