If you did just lick your lips as the title of this article suggested, you will be happy to know you engaged a multitude of nerves and muscles all working together to perform what to you may have seemed like a simple enough function.

lips anatomyLips are very complex structures comprised of epidermis, muscles, nerves, and connective tissue. They are highly flexible and frequently changing with facial expressions and other activities like eating, sleeping, and kissing. Most of us think of our lips only as the reddish, plump area that immediately covers our mouth, however, the full lip extends into the upper and lower skin area that is covered with hair, sebaceous glands and sweat glands. The pinkish area of your lip is highly populated with nerve endings making it a more sensitive area than the upper and lower sections. The full structure of your lip finishes up inside your mouth where the interior dermis is covered with a light mucous membrane. Wonder what makes your lips pinkish? The layer of skin over the plump midlip area is thinner, making the blood vessels in your lip more visible. This is why they get pinker when stimulated and also why they crack and bleed so easily when they are allowed to dry out.

One of the main functions of your lips is to help you eat your food. They help keep track of the food you bite into and then keep it in your mouth once you are in chewing mode. They also help keep your digestive tract clear of foreign objects (unless you consciously have ingested a foreign object), sort of like eyelids for your teeth.... Teethlids. (:
An infant’s lips are constructed a little bit differently, with a higher amount of mucous membranes on the interior and even some sebaceous glands, which make their mouths more efficient for sucking and feeding.

lips pinkDid you know that your lips are as unique as you are? Just like your fingerprints, your lipprints are specific to your face. They are also one (or two) of the most innervated parts of your body, making them extremely sensitive for both protective reasons and also reproductive reasons. Keeping your lips happy and healthy is one of the best things you can do for your health and for the more amorous moments in your life.

Little interesting factoid: It takes 34 muscles to pucker up and kiss someone and given the duration and passion of a kiss, you can burn up to 150 calories in just 10 minutes with just the kissing alone! This is due mostly to the activity of the hundreds of nerve endings that begin to stimulate the rest of your body; unless of course you have filled your lips with botox or other fillers... then sadly your nerve endings are much less sensitive and your 34 muscles are unable to fully perform their contracting and expanding.