Have you ever been mistaken for being upset when you’re actually not? A common but often overlooked problem is that people’s static or neutral facial expressions do not necessarily match their true emotions.
A static or neutral expression refers to a person’s appearance when they are not making any particular expression. Some people naturally have a happy appearance, even when they’re not smiling, while others tend to look sad. This inconsistency can easily give people the wrong impression and cause social problems.
Why does this phenomenon occur? Facial expressions are conveyed through the state of facial muscles and features. For example, tense forehead and eyebrow muscles can make people appear worried, while a raised eyebrow and intense gaze can appear menacing. A downturned mouth and furrowed brow can make people appear sad. However, these facial characteristics do not necessarily represent what a person is thinking or feeling; they are just their natural neutral expression.
Let’s first look at the expression when someone is unhappy. The expression when someone is unhappy is controlled by several muscle groups. The eyebrows will slant downwards, the corners of the mouth will curve downwards, the chin will slightly rise, and the lips will pout. When these signs of unhappiness appear on a neutral expression, it may be due to the Depressor Angular Oris muscle pulling the corners of the mouth downwards and the tissue near the corners of the mouth losing its support, causing the corners of the mouth to curve downwards. The slight rise of the chin and the pout of the lips may be due to the overactivity of the Mentalis muscle.
These incorrect facial signals caused by muscles and soft tissues can be changed. For example, the corners of the mouth can be turned upwards instead of downwards, and the chin can be relaxed. If the Depressor Angular Oris muscle is too tense, a doctor can inject botulinum toxin to weaken it. If the tissue has aged, a doctor can inject fillers such as hyaluronic acid or microcrystalline into the corners of the mouth and lower lip to enhance support, preventing the corners of the mouth from appearing unhappy in a neutral state. The slight rise of the chin and pout of the lips caused by the overactivity of the Mentalis muscle can be relaxed with botulinum toxin or injected with hyaluronic acid. The furrowed brow can be addressed with botulinum toxin as well.
Many people are concerned that they will become expressionless after injection, but as long as the dosage and injection site are controlled, their facial expressions will not be greatly affected.