The muscles of the face
A knowledge of facial anatomy is vital to be able to reconstruct a face from a skull. In this article, we’ll explore the main muscles groups in the face.
This information is also available as a download at the bottom of this step and we will be watching a video showing each of these muscles as they are reconstructed in the next step, so you may find it useful to have this article as a reference.
The large muscle of the forehead. Some experts omit this muscle when reconstructing the face as it is thin and they feel that it does not contribute significantly to the overall contours of the face.
A thick-fan shaped muscle that closes the mouth and assists the jaw to move side-to-side to grind up food.
Sometimes known as the ‘trumpeter muscle’, the Buccinator’s role is to puff out the cheeks and prevent food from passing to the outer surface of the teeth during chewing.
This runs from the cheekbone to the lower jaw and brings the teeth back together to grind up food. The Masseter is the strongest muscle in the human body.
Sometimes called the ‘pouting muscle’, contraction of the Mentalis raises and thrusts out the lower lip to make us pout.
Depressor Labii Inferioris
This muscle pulls down the bottom lip allowing us to sulk.
The circular muscle around our mouth is Orbicularis Oris and this muscle brings our lips together so we can pucker up for a kiss!
Levator Anguli Oris
The happy muscle, making the corners of our mouth turn upwards into a smile.
Levator Labii Superioris
The muscle that deepens the furrows either side of our nose and top lip when we feel sad.
Depressor Anguli Oris
This muscle lowers the corners of our mouth into a frown.
Levator Labii Superioris Alaeque Nasi
This muscle dilates the nostrils and raises the upper lip. It’s often referred to as the ‘Elvis muscle’ in homage to Elvis Presley.
Zygomatic Major and Minor
These are strap muscles that help to form the shape of the cheeks. Both muscles are involved in elevating the upper lip to generate a smile, with the minor muscle allowing us to curl our top lip which usually demonstrates smugness.
The Orbicularis Oculi
A distinctive muscle that is constructed of two parts, the palpebral and orbital. The palpebral area lies at the centre of this sphincter muscle and forms the eyelids with the orbital region encasing it concentrically. The Orbicularis Oculi muscle opens and closes the eyelids thus allowing us to blink, wink or squint in bright sunlight.
A very thin and delicate muscle that pulls the lips horizontally creating a large, albeit insincere smile.
© The University of Sheffield