What is the medical term for the upper lip?


Many animals, including humans, have visible bodily parts at the mouth called lips. The soft, flexible lips act as the entryway for ingesting food as well as the articulator of sound and speech. When utilized in kissing and other intimate activities, the human lips can be an erogenous zone and a tactile sense organ.


The terms “Labium superius oris” and “Labium inferius oris” refer to the upper and lower lips, respectively. The vermilion zone is the commonly reddish region inside the vermilion borders, which is where the lips meet the surrounding skin of the mouth area. The cupid’s bow refers to the upper lip’s vermilion border. The tubercle, also known as the procheilon (sometimes written prochilon), “tuberculum labii superioris,” and “labial tubercle,” is a fleshy protuberance that is present in the middle of the upper lip. The philtrum is the vertical groove from the procheilon to the nasal septum.

Compared to the normal face skin, which has up to 16 layers, the lip’s three to five cellular layers are exceedingly thin. Fewer melanocytes (cells that create the melanin pigment that gives skin its color) are found in the lip skin of those with pale skin tones. Because of this, the blood vessels on the lips can be seen through the skin, giving them their distinctive red hue. This effect is less noticeable on those with darker complexion since their lips’ skin appears darker because it has more melanin. The lip’s skin serves as the boundary between the mouth’s inside mucous membrane and the face’s outer skin.

The skin of the lips lacks sweat glands and is not hairy. As a result, it lacks the typical protective layer of body oils and sweat that keeps the skin smooth, wards off viruses and controls temperature. These causes make chapping and drying of the lips more likely. The mandibular prominence, a branch of the first pharyngeal arch, shapes the lower lip. The anterior body of the mandible is hidden by the lower lip. The orbicularis oris borders it inferiorly and the depressor labii inferioris muscle lowers it.

The front surface of the maxilla’s body is covered by the upper lip. The color of the upper or lower lip is referred to as the “vermillion” line. Its bottom half has a distinctly distinctive reddish skin tone that resembles the inner lip hue. Its upper half is of the usual skin color and has a depression at its center, directly under the nasal septum, called the philtrum, which is Latin for “lower nose”. The lower lip’s thin lining connects it to the upper lip, which is lifted by the levator labii superioris. Two of the facial signs of fetal alcohol syndrome, a permanent impairment brought on by the mother’s alcohol use while pregnant, are thinning of the upper lip’s vermilion and flattening of the philtrum.



The philtrum, also known as the medial cleft or “love charm”, is a vertical indentation in the middle of the upper lip that is common to therian mammals and extends in humans from the nasal septum to the upper lip’s tubercle. It is thought that the philtrum, along with a glandular rhinarium and slit-like nostrils, constitutes the primitive condition for at least therian mammals. 

The function of the philtrum

The philtrum is a small groove seen in most animals that may act as a conduit for dissolved odorants traveling from the rhinarium or nose pad to the vomeronasal organ through oral channels. The philtrum only exists in a vestigial form in humans and the majority of primates, between the top lip and nose. The intranasal depression, commonly known as the human philtrum, is a ridge-bordered structure that appears to have no use. That might be because higher primates often depend more on eyesight than smell. Lemurs and other strepsirrhine primates, unlike monkeys and apes, still have their philtrum and rhinarium.


Short Philtrum

A short philtrum is one in which the gap between the top lip and the nose is less than usual.


The groove that connects the top of the lip to the nose is known as the philtrum. Genes are used to transmit the length of the philtrum from parents to their offspring. In persons with specific disorders, this groove is condensed.



This condition can be caused by:

  • Chromosome 18q deletion syndrome
  • Cohen syndrome
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • (OFD) Oral-facial-digital syndrome

Home Care

Most of the time, no home care is required for a brief philtrum. Follow your doctor’s advice on how to treat the disease, though, if this is merely one symptom of another disorder.

When to Consult a Medical Expert

If you observe that your child has a short philtrum, speak with your physician.

What to Expect at Your Visit?

Other signs and symptoms may also be present in a baby with a small philtrum. When combined, these might identify a certain syndrome or illness. The medical professional will diagnose based on the patient’s physical examination, medical history, and family history.

Medical history questions may include:

  • Have you noticed this since the baby’s birth?
  • Has anybody else in the family experienced this trait?
  • Has anyone else in the family had a disease with a short philtrum diagnosed?
  • What further symptoms are there?

Tests to diagnose a short philtrum

  • Chromosome research
  • Test for enzymes
  • Research on the mother’s and the child’s metabolism
  • X-rays