Also known as the nasalis compressor, the nasalis muscle is located within the nose. It works like a sphincter. The muscle works as its alternative name suggests: to compress nasal cartilage. Also, it depresses the tip of the nose while it elevates the nostril's corners. Typically, this flexing and retracting within the nose is commonly referred to as nostril flaring. The muscle originates in the maxilla part of the skull and inserts into the nasal bone. The nasalis muscle is comprised of two regions: the transverse and the alar. The transverse section arises from the maxilla and covers the bridge of the nose. The alar is attached to the greater alar cartilage, which is situated between the fibro-fatty tissue of the nostril and the lateral cartilage. The buccal branch of the facial nerve innervates the nasalis muscle. Also, this nerve serves many other muscles within the face. The resulting muscular contractions result in different types of facial expressions, such as lip pursing and snarling.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Nasalis