• Users Online: 307
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 63-66

Lip traces in forensic science

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, CSMSS Dental College and Hospital, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication30-Mar-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Huma Mohd Saleem
Maqsood Colony, Beside Sikandar Park, H. No-04-11-38, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_3_18

Rights and Permissions

Cheiloscopy is a study of lip prints which helps in the identification of humans based on lip traces. It is based on the fact that the pattern of lines on the red part of human lips is unique to each human being. The aim of the present study is to ascertain whether lip prints have the potential for assessment of sex of an individual from the configuration and to identify the most common pattern. Lip prints were collected and matched according to Suzuki and Tsushihashi's classification. The most common pattern found in female was Types I and I', while Type IV and Type V were predominant among males. Studies show that lip prints have a great potential to establish individuality, show gender variation, and remain unchanged forever.

Keywords: Cheiloscopy, forensic odontology, lip traces, sex assessment

How to cite this article:
Saleem HM, Sodhi S, Kale L, Hashmi M. Lip traces in forensic science. J Forensic Sci Med 2018;4:63-6

How to cite this URL:
Saleem HM, Sodhi S, Kale L, Hashmi M. Lip traces in forensic science. J Forensic Sci Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 10];4:63-6. Available from: https://www.jfsmonline.com/text.asp?2018/4/1/63/229000

  Introduction Top

Forensic odontology is defined by the Federation Dentaire Internationale as "The branch of dentistry that in the interest of justice deals with the proper handling and examination of dental evidence and with the proper evaluation and presentation of dental findings. [1]" Identification of humans is a prime requisite in forensic science. It is a need for certification of death and for personal, legal, social, and humanitarian reasons. [2] In India, as well as all over the world today, crimes of diverse nature are on the rise. Both educated elite of the society and criminals are using sophisticated techniques while committing their crimes, to put the forensic dentist, police, and the public off the scene. [3] The wrinkles and grooves on the labial mucosa called sulci labiorum forms a characteristic pattern called lip print and the study of these lip prints is called cheiloscopy. [4] The present study was carried out to classify lip patterns and document common patterns and their variations in the population under investigation to evaluate any differences between the sexes and different age groups and to investigate the potential role of lip prints in person identification.


Fischer in 1902 was the first anthropologist to describe the furrows on the red part of the human lips. Edmond Locard, a criminologist, was the first person to use lip prints for identification of human in 1932. Snyder in 1950 for the first time reported in his book "Homicide Investigation," the characteristics of lip grooves as individually distinctive characteristics as that of fingers. Cottone, in 1981, reported in his book "Outline of Forensic Dentistry" that cheiloscopy is one of the special techniques used for personal identification. [5] Later in 1970, Suzuki and Tsuchihashi conducted a study on 107 Japanese families and named the grooves on labiorum rurorum as sulci labiorum and the lip prints consisting of these grooves as "Figura linearum labiorum rubrorum." [6]

  Materials and Methods Top


  1. Dark-colored lipstick
  2. Cellophane tape
  3. White bond pape
  4. Magnifying lens
  5. Brush for applying lipstick [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Armamentarium used

Click here to view


The study comprised 200 patients reporting to the outpatient department of CSMSS Dental College, Aurangabad (100 males and 100 females in the age group of 18-30 years). Approval of ethical committee was obtained and after taking the informed consent, lip prints of the patients were collected using the lipstick method in which a thin layer of lipstick was applied on the clean, dry lips uniformly using a brush [Figure 2]. A thin layer of lipstick was applied rather than a thick layer which would fill in the groove patterns [Figure 3]. The patients were asked to rub both the lips to spread the applied lipstick. After this, a cellophane tape was applied onto the lips from the glued site very carefully so that no smudge marks were produced [Figure 4]. This cellophane tape was carefully removed and then applied onto the bond paper, and all the relevant data relating to its identity were written on the paper [Figure 5]. Impressions were visualized using a magnifying lens. The lip prints were analyzed following the Suzuki and Tsusuchiashi classification. The data were compiled and the following results were drawn:
Figure 2: Cleansing the lips of the patient

Click here to view
Figure 3: Applying a thin layer of lipstick

Click here to view
Figure 4: Recording the lip impression

Click here to view
Figure 5: Transferring the impression on a bond paper

Click here to view

Suzuki and Tsuchihashi's classification method of lip prints is as follows: [7]

  • Type I: Clear-cut vertical grooves that run across the entire lips
  • Type I': Similar to type I, but do not cover the entire lip
  • Type II: Branched grooves (branching Y-shaped pattern)
  • Type III: intersected grooves
  • Type IV: Reticular pattern
  • Type V: Undetermined [Figure 6].

  Results Top

The present study revealed that the overall predominant lip patterns among males were found to be Type IV and Type V and in females Type I and Type I' [Graph 1] [Additional file 1] and [Table 1]. Common lip prints were found among males were Type I (5%), Type I' (0%), Type II (6%), Type III (16%), Type IV (40%), TypeV (33%) lip pattern. Females had a significant variation as Type I (54%), Type I' (24%), Type II (19%), Type III (2%), Type IV (1%), Type V (0%). TYPE 1(29.50%),TYPE I' (12 %),TYPE II (12.5%),TYPE III(9%),TYPE IV (20.50%),TYPE V(16.50%) [Figure 7].
Figure 6: Various lip patterns

Click here to view
Figure 7: Descriptive statistics (n = 200)

Click here to view
Table 1: Comparison of lip pattern among males and females using Chi-square test

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Lip prints are useful for personal identification, as they are considered to be the most important form of transfer evidence and are analogous to fingerprints. [8] The possible identification of living or deceased persons using the unique traits and characteristics is the cornerstone of forensic science. Determination of sex of individuals by forensic methodology is warranted in cases of heirship, marriage, divorce, and rape. Mastering the loopholes and masking sheer facts are very easy now. [9] Presence of lip prints is conclusive of facts whether the beholder was a visitor or is related to the crime or not. If the sex of an individual is known, it is easy to shortlist the array of suspects with a motive of crime. [9] In our study, the predominance of lip pattern among males was Type IV and Type V and in females Type I and Type I', these results were similar to the findings of Narwal and Bala [6] and Surajit Kundu and Pooja Gangrade. [10]

Kuma et al. [11] studied lip prints of sixty students including thirty males and thirty females and concluded that every individual has a unique lip print and Type III appears to be the most prominent pattern in males. In females, Type II appears to be the most predominant. In another study conducted by Verma et al. [8] on fifty females and fifty males in the age group of 15-35 years, they concluded that the predominant patterns were vertical and branched. More females showed the branched pattern and males revealed an equal prevalence of vertical and reticular patterns. The present study explains the role of lip prints in the assessment of sex.

  Conclusion Top

In the end, we can suggest that identifying lip print pattern could be an important tool for sex assessment and lip prints are unique to an individual. Further work on this subject can help to make cheiloscopy a practical reality.

Limitations of the study

Studies with larger sample size including family members, pediatric population, and twins are recommended. The lip print appearance may also be modified by the pressure and direction used while making the impression. A standard and uniform procedure has to be developed for the collection.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Rajendran R, Sivapathasundharam B. Shafer's Textbook of Oral Pathology. 7 th ed. New Delhi: Elsevier; 2012. p. 879-922.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gopichand PV, Kaushal S, Kaur G. Personal identification using lip prints (Cheiloscopy) - A study in 500 Punjabi females. J Indo Pac Acad Forensic Odontol 2010;1:20-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
Khanapure SC, Jain J, Ananda SR, Supreetha S, Abhishek KN, Shilpa M. Cheiloscopy: The study of lip prints in relation to gender and geographic distribution. Int J Sci Study 2014;2:21-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Abidullah M, Kumar MN, Bhorgonde KD, Reddy DS. Cheiloscopy and dactyloscopy: Do they dictate personality patterns? J Forensic Dent Sci 2015;7:114-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Tarvade S. Cheiloscopy an adjunct to forensic investigation. Res Rev J Dent Sci 2015;3:3.  Back to cited text no. 5
Narwal A, Bala S. Cheiloscopy - An adjunct in identification of familial lineage. J Oral Health Community Dent 2014;8:82-5. Available from: www.johcd.org. [Last accessed on 2018 Jan 05].  Back to cited text no. 6
Tsuchihashi Y. Studies on personal identification by means of lip prints. Forensic Sci 1974;3:233-48.  Back to cited text no. 7
Verma Y, Einstein A, Gondhalekar R, Verma AK, George J, Chandra S, et al. A study of lip prints and its reliability as a forensic tool. Natl J Maxillofac Surg 2015;6:25-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Malik R. Chelioscopy: A determinisitic aid for forensic sex investigation. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2011;23:17-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
  [Full text]  
Kundu S. Cheiloscopy A diagnostic and deterministic mirror for establishment of person identification and gender discrimination: A study participated by Indian medical students to aid legal proceedings and criminal investigations. J Exp Clin Anat 2016;15:31-42.  Back to cited text no. 10
  [Full text]  
Kumar GS, Vezhavendhan N, Vendhan P. A study of lip prints among Pondicherry population. J Forensic Dent Sci 2012;4:84-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]

  [Table 1]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Materials and Me...
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded296    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal