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Tan Mustache

Q: I have been getting a tan mustache for the past 2 years in the summer. I use sunscreen (SPF 45) and have tried some expensive creams but nothing seems to help. What can I do to get rid of this problem? It is very embarrassing.
 
A: From all of the information I have been able to research, there could be a few causes for this problem, depending on specifically what you are dealing with. You use the term “tan mustache” which has been used to describe two very different conditions. It has been used to describe an area around the upper lip that does not tan as darkly as the rest of the face (in some cases, not at all). It has also been used to describe an area between the nose and upper lip that becomes much darker than the rest of the face when exposed to sunlight or tanning beds and booths.
 
       Many people can face these types of problems when they spend time in the sun. (It is also found among those who frequent tanning salons.) If the problem is that an area is lighter than the rest of your face, you could be experiencing a common fungal skin infection that causes light spots in tanned skin.
 
       If your problem is a darker area on the skin (particularly if the area looks splotchy, even if it is symmetrical) it could be a condition called melasma, which is triggered by hormonal factors in the body.
 
       You may also be experiencing either condition as a result of medications, supplements and treatments that affect or regulate your hormonal balance. However, to accurately determine the cause, you should consult with your physician to discuss any medications or supplements and their potential side effects, as well as to determine if you are dealing with a fungal infection in the case of lighter areas.
 
       In the meantime, you might consider using a self-tanner or bronzer to help even out and camouflage the discrepancy in skin tones.
 
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