Lip Types

Lips come in all kinds of shapes, but contrary to all the popular magazine buzz, your lip type isn’t related to your personality. Period. Genetics mainly determine your lip type, your facial structure, and other facial features. However, the way you treat your lips can make a difference in how your lips look. Your smile, frown, and other lip movements help communicate your emotions to others.

Keep reading to learn how lips are categorized, how they’re perceived, and how to care for them, including how to change them.

Types of lips

Here are several ways in which lip types are different.

Lips are as unique as fingerprints

Your lips are unique — so unique that lip prints can reliably be used for identification, like fingerprints.

The pattern of wrinkles and lines on lips varies by individual. Lip prints can be made in many ways, including blotting your lips when you put on lipstick.

The science of lip prints is called cheiloscopy from the Greek word for lips.

Classifying lips

By lip shape

Lips can be classified in many ways. One way is by shape. They can be plump or thin, heart shaped or round, or numerous other variations. It’s difficult to standardize such a unique feature. Researchers are now creating geometric and computer models to describe lips more precisely.

By lip print

Another way to classify lip types is by lip print, which is based on the pattern of lines in your lips.

Researchers have found five types of lip patterns:

  • Type I: vertical lines that run across the entire lips or part of the lips
  • Type II: branched, y-shaped lines
  • Type III: intersecting (crossed) lines
  • Type IV: reticular (netlike) lines
  • Type V: undetermined (mixed) lines
Lips as a perception of beauty

The types of lips that are considered beautiful depend on regional differences as well as popular culture.

2016 scientific study of lip attractiveness found that lip size preference varies, depending on where you live.

People in Latin America liked large lips. North Americans and Europeans preferred large lips less, and those living in Asia preferred smaller lips.

These lip preferences basically remained the same in each region, no matter the gender, ethnic background, age, or income of the respondents.

Lips and personality

There’s no documented evidence to show that your lip type is related to your personality.

How to take care of your lips

No matter what lip shape you’re born with, you can improve the way your lips look by taking good care of them. Here are some ways to keep your lips in the best possible shape.

Keep them hydrated

Keeping your lips (and your body) hydrated is important, especially in a cold dry climate or in the sun.

Lip moisturizers can be as simple as:

These moisturizers can help protect your lips against sun exposure. They can also be used to prime your lips before applying lipstick or lip tint.

Be aware that using flavored lip balm may be counterproductive, because it can encourage lip licking and more dryness.

Know what you put on your lips

If you use a commercial lip product, check out the ingredients. Some substances, such as camphor or castor oil, can contribute to drying your lips.

You may also be allergic to one or more ingredients, such as a fragrance.

small 2015 study involving teenagers found that using lip tint for 4 weeks considerably decreased lip moisture, with 48.61 percent on their upper lips and 43.87 on their lower lips.

Don’t let your lips get chapped

Anyone can have chapped or cracked lips.

Causes of chapped or cracked lips may include:

To help prevent your lips from cracking, gently exfoliate your lips, such as with a sugar scrub, from time to time, followed by a moisturizer.

Lips thin as you age

According to a 2009 study, women with larger lips are often perceived to look younger than their age.

That’s because our upper lips thin out as we age, per a 2019 study comparing the lip aging process in older people and younger people. The study found the top lip becomes longer and has less soft tissue.

That same study found that lip thickness decreased by 40.55 percent in women and 32.74 percent in men.

Since everyone’s lips thin with age, it’s not surprising that lip enhancement is popular, which can include over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetics, home remedies, and surgery.

Not happy with the way your lips look?

If you’re concerned about how your natural lips look, there are topical and surgical options for plumping them up or reducing their size.

Here are some options:

Nonsurgical methods

You can temporarily plump up your lips using home remedies, such as cinnamon oil and cayenne pepper recipes. These temporary measures work by causing a mild inflammation of your lips.

You can also buy a commercial product to help you condition and enlarge the look of your lips.

For example, Physician’s Formula Plump Potion uses hyaluronic acid to temporarily plump and smooth lips.

It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance free, and not tested on animals. Other lip boosting products use dimethicone (silicone) or collagen.

Surgical methods

Lip fillers

If you’d like a more permanent lip fix, you may want to consider having a lip filler injection. It’s a semi-permanent procedure performed by a qualified medical professional.

The healthcare provider will first numb your lips with a topical anesthetic. They’ll then inject a filler, such as hyaluronic acid, a gel-like substance, into your lips.

Before the injection, discuss the lip look that you want to achieve and the brand of the substance with your healthcare provider. You should also discuss the cost and how long the filler is likely to last.

Collagen used to be the most popular filler. Now, hyaluronic acid is more widely used because it lasts longer. Depending on the brand, hyaluronic acid generally lasts 6 to 18 months versus 3 months for collagen.

Your own fat tissue can also be used as a lip filler. Using your own fat tissue (autologous fat) can be longer lasting or even permanent. A surgeon usually performs this procedure.

The surgeon can also reshape parts of your lips using your own fat tissue.

Lip reduction

You may want to reduce the volume of their lips to achieve smaller lips, or you may want to correct the way your lips look after a lip filler treatment.

A surgeon, who can remove lip tissue and fat to help you achieve your desired look usually performs a lip reduction procedure. A local or general anesthesia is used.

Interesting facts about the lips

“The muscles which move the lips are more numerous in man than in any other animal. One will always find as many muscles as there are positions of the lips and many more that serve to undo these positions.”

— Leonardo da Vinci

  • Lips have a natural pinkish color because the skin on your lips is thinner than the rest of your skin. This allows the blood vessels to show through. Your lips have only 3 to 4 outer layers, compared with 15 to 16 protective layers on other skin.
  • Your lip skin has no hair follicles, no sweat glands, and very little melanin. Lips are therefore less protected than other skin against the sun and other environment.
  • The high number of nerve endings in your lips make them an erogenous zone. Lips are also very sensitive to heat, cold, and touch.
  • The “lipstick effect” is the term given to the fact that lipstick sales increase during an economic downturn. It’s speculated that women on a budget restriction will spend on a small indulgence like a lipstick.
  • According to market projections, the lipstick industry will generate at least $13.4 billion over the next 5 years.
  • Since the beginning of recorded history, women have enhanced their lips with color.
Bottom Line:

Your lips are one of the many things you inherit from your parents. Lip shapes aren’t related to your personality. Your lips are unique. Keeping them hydrated and protected from the elements will help your lips stay healthy looking. If you’re not happy with the way your lips look, you can enhance them temporarily with topical applications. You might also consider lip filler injections and surgery, for a longer-lasting solution.

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Photo Credit: Typorama

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