Your Quick Guide to Lip Anatomy

lip anatomy

Lip fillers are some of the most popular cosmetic treatments across the country. They can help to change the size and shape of your lips, within reason. In order to see the best results it is important that you know a little bit about your lip anatomy so that you can clearly explain your trouble areas and goals when getting lip fillers. To help get you started, here are a few things about lip anatomy that you can use when discussing your lip wishlist with your physician or aesthetic provider.

How Is Lip Skin Different Than The Rest of Your Skin?

The skin that makes up your lips is different from the skin on the rest of your face and body. Lip skin does not have sebaceous glands or a top stratum corneum layer. This difference in anatomy makes lips thinner, softer and more susceptible dehydration and/or skin cancer as compared to face and body skin. Hydrating your lips and protecting your lips with a daily sunscreen is important to keep them unlined and healthy.

Cupid’s Bow

If you look at your upper lip directly beneath the tip of your nose, you’ll see an indentation that appears to point downward, located between two curves that point upward. This is called the “cupid’s bow,” since it resembles the bow of Cupid, the Roman god of love. For some people, the cupid’s bow is more pronounced than others. While lip trends tend to change with each decade, a heavily defined cupid’s bow has been one of the most common trends throughout history – dating as far back as the Ancient Greeks.

Many people choose to get temporary lip fillers to help accentuate their cupid’s bow and create a more dramatic and pouty lip shape.

cupids bow


The indentation in the middle area of your upper lip, beneath the tip of your nose and above the cupid’s bow of your upper lip, is called the philtrum or medial cleft. It is made up of two philtral columns and the philtral dimple. The philtral columns are the vertical “lines” on either side of the philtral dimple, or indentation. These columns typically line up with the two raised curves of the cupid’s bow.


Vermilion Border

The vermilion border is the line between your lips and the rest of your skin. Most women typically apply lip liner or lipstick along this line. The vermilion lip border plays an important role in lip beauty and is often the area injected with dermal fillers such as Restylane, Restylane Silk, Belotero, Juvederm, and Vollure. For example, injecting too much filler in the vermilion border can result in an unnatural, swollen look, rather than a smooth, plump pout.

A skilled dermal filler injector will understand lip anatomy and the proper injection techniques to use to avoid creating the dreaded “duck lip.” This is one reason why it is so important to choose a reputable, experienced provider when getting any type of fillers in the lip.

vermilion border


You have three tubercles or bumps on your upper lip and two on the bottom. All five of these tubercles create a small outward projection. One tubercle on your upper lip is located in the very center, just beneath the point of your cupid’s bow. The other two are found on either side of the central bump. For some people, these are spaced farther apart than others.

The two tubercles on your bottom lip form a dumbbell pattern. These are located on either side of the middle tubercle on your upper lip. Carefully placed fillers can help to accentuate these bumps to create a fuller lip shape. A true artist who injected dermal fillers will enhance the tubercules to give your lips the proper shape to match your face shape.

lip tubercles

In Summary

Before going in for your lip filler consultation, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of your lip anatomy so you can clearly explain to your doctor what parts of your lips you’d like to change. Keep in mind that while lip fillers can help you achieve a fuller pout or a slightly different lip shape, they do have limitations. Discuss your goals with your provider and work with them to create a customized plan that will accentuate the natural beauty of your lips and help you achieve your cosmetic goals.

To learn more about cosmetic treatments and lip and skin care, follow Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


All images, lip photos with illustrations and text are property of Metabeauty and cannot be used without written permission. ©2019 Metabeauty, Inc.

February 20, 2019 Beauty, Procedures