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Facial Expression Muscles

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2013

The facial expression muscles are located around the head and neck and allow the face the make various expressions. The facial nerve supplies these striated muscles, which are also known as mimetic muscles. They are subcutaneous, located just below the skin of the face. Most of them stem from bones and end by inserting into the skin on the face. These muscles may assist with other movements of the head and face, but the mastication muscles (those used for chewing) are Continue Scrolling To Read More Below...

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Finer musculature dominates the head, including muscles that give the face its infinite expressiveness (a smile uses 17 muscles, a frown uses 43), including muscles over the top of the cranium. 

The occipitofrontalis muscle assists with movements of the scalp, for example furrowing or raising the brows. The nasalis, depressor septi nasi, and procerus, muscles allow the nose to crinkle or the nostrils to flare by controlling the muscles in the nose. The muscle that helps the eyes blink and the eyelids to fall down is the orbicularis oculi muscle. The corrugator supercilii muscle helps push the eyebrows down so that the face looks unhappy. (It can be found above the brows.) 

The orbicularis oris controls the lips. This muscle allows the lips to pucker as well as close. The risorius is also a mouth muscle and helps create a smile as it tugs at the mouth’s corners. The zygomaticus minor and major are smiling muscles, which are in the lip area. 

There are many other facial muscles. Some of these include the depressor labii inferioris, mentalis, levator labii superioris, levator anguli oris, depressor anguli oris, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, buccinator, temporoparietalis muscle, depressor supercilii, and the auricular muscles (anterior, superior, and posterior).