Acne can be embarrassing for anyone, but when you develop pimples underneath your mustache, the problem can be uncomfortable as well. Be assured that you're not alone; 80 percent of all people ages 11 to 30 deal with acne, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and some men deal with this issue into their 40s and 50s.
Causes of Acne
There are several types of acne, but all pimples are made of the same substances. Acne forms when a type of oil called sebum combines with dead skin cells and bacteria to plug up a hair follicle, or pore, in the skin. You may feel deep red bumps or see whiteheads, which occur when oil is trapped under the skin, or you may notice blackheads, dark spots that occur when bacteria and oil reach the surface of the skin. The substance turns dark when it comes in contact with air. According to NIAMS, acne often is caused by hormones and heredity.
Acne and Facial Hair
Pimples typically begin around puberty. Everyone's skin produces sebum, but it's during puberty that the body begins pumping out more of this substance. Since puberty is when facial hair starts growing, a teen may notice pimples sprouting up at the same time as his first mustache. Adult males may develop pimples under a mustache because they can't properly clean the area when there's hair growing there. Acne also can occur if a mustache gets greasy, since the oil is trapped against the skin and can form pimples.
There are a few ways to clear up acne. Treat an occasional pimple yourself at home by washing the area twice a day with a gentle cleanser, then apply an over-the-counter acne medication containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide. If you've noticed blackheads or whiteheads, medications made with resorcinol, salicylic acid and sulfur can help get rid of them, according to Brown University. If your acne persists, a dermatologist may write you a prescription for an oral antibiotic or a topical cream with higher doses of medication.
Shaving your facial hair when you have acne can be painful, and shaving incorrectly can irritate the skin and make pimples worse. Hydrating the skin first can make for a smoother shave, and using warm, not hot, water soothes the skin. Wash your mustache with soap before you lather up to remove any oil, then spread a thick lather of shaving cream over the area. Use either an electric or a single-blade razor to shave with the grain of the hair, which means moving the razor in the same direction in which the hair grows. When you're finished, pat the area with an alcohol-free toner to kill any bacteria before it starts forming more pimples.