This dimple on the face, which is located between the nose and the upper lip, is called the philtrum … But scientists have been asking this question for a long time: why and by what biological mechanisms does it appear? Here are some scientific insights.
The philtrum: a dimple between the upper lip and the nose that is the subject of many beliefs
The philtrum is this small dimple located right under the nose and that goes to the edge of the upper lip. It is also called cup of love or Cupid’s bow because according to some beliefs, this dimple is created by an angel who would have put his finger at this place to promote the sleep of the children.
Another interpretation from the Jewish tradition: at the time of birth, the guardian angel puts his finger on the upper lip of the newborn to silence the divine secrets of creation and coming into the world.
The philtrum explained by science …
According to science, this dimple is related to the evolution and development of our face in utero. In this regard, the BBC has produced a series called Inside the Human Body in which we can see a video of 3D reconstruction, which explains how the face of a baby in utero develops, as a puzzle with its different parts , and will gradually be formed, piece by piece, during the first three months.
The face is formed during the first 2 to 3 months …
Three months after conception, the three main sections of the face (nose, eyes, mouth) begin to develop and will meet in the middle of the upper lip, forming the philtrum (connecting three different parts into one). The formation of the face takes place during the second and third month of pregnancy.
Facial formation is a complex process and growth mechanism that results from the fusion of different moving tissues. Some fabrics will merge at the philtrum level. When they do not fuse well, a cleft lip can form and thus cause a congenital malformation (cleft, hare beak, etc.).
A person who has a smooth philtrum may also indicate a fetal alcohol syndrome …
What are the main physical signs observed in a child with this syndrome? Most of the time, the faces are characterized by a narrow, low, bulging forehead, flat eyebrows, a short nose, narrow eye slits, a smooth or non-existent philtrum, a thin upper lip, and so on.
The human embryo has many similarities with the embryo of a mammal (bird or amphibian): the eyes form on the sides and move towards the middle. To merge correctly, the three sections must grow and merge at the right time, according to a specific timing. If this fusion is not done according to the right timing, this is where the malformations can occur (cleft lips, hare beak …).