Muscles of the Face – Mimetic Muscles

face muscles
The muscles that control facial expression, also called mimetic muscles. These muscles are controlled by the facial nerve, which has 5 main divisions described below.

Five main divisions of the facial nerve and the muscles they control:

1) temporal

  • The frontalis muscle of the forehead lifts the eyebrows.
  • The anterior and superior auricular muscles which move the ear forward and superiorly.
  • The Corrugator muscle on the brow, draws the eyebrow downward and medially, producing the vertical wrinkle on the forehead at the bridge of the nose.
  • The procerus pulls the skin between the eyebrows downward, assists in flaring the nostrils and helps create an angry expression.
  • The temporal branches assist the zygomatic branches of the facial nerve with the obicularis oculi, which closes the eyelids and contracts the skin around the eyes.

2) zygomatic

  • The zygomaticus major elevates the corners of the mouth for smiling.

3) buccal

  • The zyomaticus minor, levator labii elevate the upper lip.
  • The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi dilates the nostril and elevates the upper lip, enabling one to snarl.
  • The risorius and levator angulii oris are muscles that assist in smiling.
  • The orbicularis encircles the mouth, closes and puckers the lips and is sometimes called the kissing muscle.
  • The nasalis compresses the bridge of the nose and the nostrils.
  • The buccal branches also assist the mandibular branches in pulling the mouth downwards for a frown, by the depressor anguli oris, and pulling the lower lip down with the depressor labii inferioris.

4) mandibular

  • The mentalis pulls the skin on the chin upwards.

5) cervical

  • This division supplies the platysma muscle of the neck, also a “frowning” muscle.