Facial muscles

The facial muscles (also called the muscles of facial expression) are situated within the subcutaneous tissue and responsible for the movements of skin folds, providing different facial expressions. The facial muscles originate from bones of the facial skeleton (viscerocranium) and insert into the skin. 

These muscles are mostly grouped around the natural orifices of the face (eyes, nose, mouth), taking part in the closing or widening of these orifices. 

All muscles of facial expression are innervated by branches of the facial nerve (CN VII).

Facial muscles in the calvaria region

  • Occipitofrontalis muscle
    • Frontalis muscle (frontal belly of the occipitofrontalis)
    • Occipital muscle (occipital belly of the occipitofrontalis)

Facial muscles around the orbital opening

  • Corrugator supercilii
  • Orbicularis oculi

Muscles around the oral opening

  • Buccinator
  • Depressor anguli oris
  • Depressor labii inferioris
  • Levator anguli oris
  • Levator labii superioris
  • Mentalis
  • Orbicularis oris
  • Risorius
  • Zygomaticus minor
  • Zygomaticus major


Muscles around the nose opening

  • Compressor narium minor
  • Dilator naris anterior
  • Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi
  • Nasalis
  • Procerus
  • Depressor septi nasi

Click here to check out our study unit devoted entirely to facial muscles and learn in detail about each one of them!