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 and 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 VIII).


Facial muscles in calvaria region

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

Facial muscles around orbital opening

  • Corrugator supercilii
  • Orbicularis oculi

Muscles around 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 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!