The Eleven Key Muscles Of Facial Expression

Smile Muscles

4. Zygomatic Major. Originates on zygomatic arch; inserts into mouth corner. Pulls mouth into smile; known as the smiling muscle.

5. Risorius/platysma. Ris-orius originates over rear of jaw, inserts into mouth corner; platysma originates on upper chest, inserts into mouth corner. Both act together, stretching mouth, as in crying. Known as the lip stretcher. (The platysma is not pictured here, as it would cover other muscles.)

6. Frontalis. Originates near top of skull, along hairline; inserts in skin under eyebrows. Raises eyebrows straight up, as in surprise. Known as the brow lifter.

7. Orbicularis oris. Originates from muscles of corner of mouth. Curls, tightens lips. Known as the lip tightener.

8. Corrugator. Originates on nasal bridge; attaches to skin under middle of eyebrow. Lowers inner end of eyebrow. Known as the frowning muscle.

9. Triangularis. Originates along lower margin of jaw; inserts into jnouth corner. Pulls down on mouth corner. This is the "have-a-bad-day" muscle.

10. Depressor labii inferiors. Originates along bottom of chin; inserts into lower lip. Pulls bottom lip straight down, as in speaking.

11. Mentalis. Originates just below the teeth, on lower jaw; inserts into skin of ball of chin. Wrinkles chin, creating raised "island"; pushes lower lip up. Known as the pouting muscle.

Out of the twenty-six or so muscles that move the face, only those pictured here are responsible for facial expression.

1. Orbicularis oculi. Attaches to inner orbit and skin of cheek; squeezes eye, as in squinting.

2. Levator palpebrae. Originates on orbit, attaches to upper eyelid. Raises eyelid, as in surprise.

3. Levator labii superioris. Three branches—inner branch originates on base of nose; middle branch on bottom edge of orbit; outer branch on zygomatic arch. All insert into skin above upper lip. Known as the sneering muscle.

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  • Martha
    How many muscles to smile?
    8 years ago
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