Amid total obsession with appearance and beauty, there’s a disturbing indifference towards the simplest health principles. Unfamiliarity with our own body structure and face anatomy leads to an alarming tendency to easily follow the beauty industry and believe in miracles. That is why we need to talk about such an important thing as face structure and learn how to put our knowledge to use. After all, even at-home treatments – starting with face cleansing and finishing with putting on a mask – should be done correctly! Besides, knowing how the joints, muscles, and ligaments in your face function allows you to easily see through a pseudo-professional and make sure that they won’t do more harm than good.
Aging mechanisms: how does our face change as we get older?
There’s a whole science dedicated to studying age-related changes and ways to fight aging, called gerontology. It is possible to see, even with the naked eye, all the things happening to our skin:
Slowdown of epidermis renewal and worsening of complexion (after 25).
Increased keratin production and thickening of the stratum corneum. Skin dryness due to slow epidermis renewal and decrease in sebum production (after 30). Loss of skin elasticity and firmness due to the accumulation of old collagen and insufficient production of new collagen. Impairment of circulation, swelling, discoloration, rosacea, the appearance of “spider webs” on your face, and angiasthenia. Pigmentation.
Without putting too much thought into face anatomy and its age-related changes, we eagerly start getting beauty injections, we willingly go under the plastic surgeon’s knife, and we try to achieve our former youthful appearance with the help of numerous rejuvenation devices.
We tend to forget that our skin is tightly adjacent to muscles and muscles, in turn, to bones and ligaments. This is how the whole human body works. Therefore, if there are any changes in muscles and bones, there are visual changes in our skin.
What else do we need to know about facial muscles? On the one end they are attached to the bone; on the other, they are intertwined with other muscles and ligaments. That is why the face has a more fragile frame and ages faster than the rest of the body.
What happens to bones, muscles, and ligaments of the face from a gerontological point of view?
Decrease in the skull bones’ thickness and their gradual deformation.
Decrease in face volume and loss of firmness of facial muscles. Increase of stored fat in the lower part of the face. Gravitation-related aging – all facial features seem to drop down.
If, when young, a person’s face was shaped like a triangle with a downward apex, then with time this “apex” will shift upwards: eyebrows, the corners of the lips, and eyes lower, as does the jawline. Finally, the largest neck muscle – the platysma – sags. Even though this process cannot be reversed, all of these unpleasant changes can be mitigated and made less visible.
Specific aspects of the facial skeleton.
The skull consists of the neurocranium and facial skeleton. The facial skeleton comprises the orbital bone and lower and upper jaws, while other smaller facial bones are grouped around them:
oblong lacrimal bone, plowshare bone, horseshoe-like tongue bone, inferior nasal concha, located in the nasal cavity,
palatal bone, located in the back of nasal cavity.
Facial nerves: what do they do and why must we be careful?
The masticatory muscles are activated by the mandibular nerve, and human facial expressions are possible due to the facial nerve. The former relegates some of its responsibilities to its “assistants”: nerve branches affect the subcutaneous neck, frontal, stylohyoid, and occipital muscles.
The facial nerve is enclosed in the bone canal and runs through the middle ear cavity. Therefore, if inflammation is accompanied by swelling (for instance, otitis), the pinching of a facial nerve may occur – neuritis or even complete elimination of muscle strength.
Outside the bone canal, the facial nerve enters the parotid-chewing area of the face – the parenchyma of the parotid salivary gland. It is at this point that the nerve splits into branches that go to the corners of the eyes and mouth, to the temporal zones, to the wings of the nose, and towards the lower jaw and neck.
That is why viral diseases or injuries, or even simple colds, can lead to a complete or partial distortion of facial muscles or even facial paralysis.
Blood supply of facial skin.
The carotid artery is the main supplier of blood to the face, and other arteries (especially vital ones, such as the lingual and facial arteries) originate from it. All the interconnected vessels form an impressive network, which explains why even little wounds and cuts on the face can cause severe bleeding and bruises that take weeks to heal.
Facial muscles: how do they work?
There are more than a hundred muscles in our head and neck. Facial muscles have the closest connection to the skin, as they are intertwined with it. It is because of them that we are able to express our emotions, and they are the reason we get expression lines and ptosis (drooping and sagging due to muscle weakness or atrophy).
The main facial muscles are:
Frontalis muscle — raises eyebrows and forms cross-folds on the forehead.
Orbicular muscle of eye — helps to close and narrow the eyes, and retracts tear fluid.
Procerus muscle – helps to frown and makes vertical folds between brows.
Corrugator muscle – shifts brows when frowning during physical or emotional pain.
Zygomaticus muscle – pulls the corners of the lips in different directions, rounding cheeks and highlighting the much hated nasolabial folds.
Risorius muscle (not developed in everyone) – forms dimples and smile lines.
A muscle that lowers the corners of one’s mouth and is generally used to express negative emotions.
Two muscles that help to raise and lower the lips.
Orbicular muscle of mouth – helps to make a “duckface” and forms vertical folds around mouth.
Chin muscle – forms a bump in the chin area.
Surface neck muscle – usually triggered by panic or anxiety.
Constant hypertonicity of any facial muscle leads to the appearance of a usual resting facial expression which, in turn, leads to the formation of wrinkles.
Uneven muscle development of the right or left side of the face leads to asymmetry.
Facial muscle hypotonia leads to prolapse – sagging of the right or left part of the face.
Why is it important to know the anatomy of your face?
Knowledge of your face anatomy will help you to care for your face properly, choose exactly those methods of rejuvenation that are relatively harmless and from which you can truly benefit.
The acquired knowledge will help you with:
correct application of beauty products along the massage lines; otherwise, we can stretch or injure the skin. Any esthetician will confirm that even simple application of serum has to be done correctly or else chaotic movements will destroy natural collagen; strengthening of face and neck muscles and ligaments and correction of asymmetry through facial gymnastics, also called facebuilding. Lack of knowledge of anatomy and performing the improper exercise can cause significant damage and aggravate the situation;
massage or self-massage. Nowadays, the Internet is full of ads for massage specialists, as well as video lessons on self-massage. Yes, a facial massage is highly effective and actually rejuvenates, de-puffs, decreases fat storage, and tones the muscles. However, such a procedure performed by an unskilled and unqualified specialist can injure the facial nerve and ligaments and cause more harm than good. Incorrect self-massage technique also will not lead to anything good. At best, there will be no changes in your face, but you won’t see any positive results either.
Following a well-thought-out skin care routine that involves the correct application of products will surely delay the appearance of wrinkles for many more years.