Today, 16 March, is Lips Appreciation Day.
It is said that the mouth is one one of the first facial features we notice when looking at someone, so it is understandable that our lips have been the subject of various fashions and fads over the years. Over the centuries, lip colouring have been applied by both males ad females. Trends in lip gloss colour and sheen come and go, and it is becoming more and more common for people to artificially enhance their lips through botox and plastic surgery.
The importance of the lips in human interaction and communication can hardly be overstated. Not only are they critical in facilitating human speech, but they also serve as carriers of many subtle non-verbal messages.
From an anatomical viewpoint, lips are equally fascinating:
- The lips form the border between the exterior facial skin and the mucous membrane inside the mouth.
- The skin of the lips contains only 3-5 cellular layers, and is very thin compared to the rest of the facial skin, which has up to 16 layers. This allows the blood vessels in the lips to be more visible, (especially in people with lighter skin) resulting in the pink/red colour of the lips.
- The skin of the lips contains no sweat glands, and as such they do not have the same protective layer of sweat and body oils that protect the rest of our skin. This is why lips dry out faster, and become more easily chapped.
- There are at least 12 groups of muscles controlling the movements of the lips and mouth.
- The lips have many nerve endings making them very sensitive to touch and heat (they are said to be 100 times more sensitive than the fingertips). For this reason, lips are critically important to babies and toddlers when exploring foreign objects.
The lips are without doubt one of the most fascinating parts of the human body, playing a key role in communication, exploration, feeding and sexual interaction. And Lips Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate your lips in all their multi-dimensional splendour.