As someone who is very fond of making bizarre faces as a form of expression, this question speaks to me on a profound level. My mom tells me my face will get stuck like that all the time. The answer, it turns out, is no. Your face will not get stuck in a position you voluntarily put it in, but it could if you have a condition.
Eve Gallman, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Georgia, said there are a few instances where a neurological disorder could cause temporary paralysis of the face or head in a certain position. Those spasms are spasmodic torticollis and blepharospasm.
Spasmodic torticollis is when the muscles in the neck contract and force the head into an awkward position. Gallman said it’s a disorder, not something that would happen to just anyone.
“[In blepharospasm] those people can end up in a situation where their eyes essentially kind of spasm shut,” she said. “It’s another uncontrolled situation. They didn’t [voluntarily] shut their eyes and then they couldn’t open them, but effectively that’s what happens.”
One solution is a popular form of minor plastic surgery. That’s right — Botox. Botox is made from botulinum toxin, one of the most poisonous substances on Earth, which causes muscles to relax. Effects last for about three months.
“The way that the brain makes muscles contract is that there are individual little nerves that send their axon out into a muscle and they release a neurochemical,” Gallman said. “It’s call acetylcholine. That is the signal that tells the muscle to contract. It’s quite an interesting and elaborate process to get that acetylcholine to come out of the nerve so it can diffuse over to the muscle. If you can go in there and muck around with that process and the nerve can’t release the acetylcholine, it can’t tell the muscle to contract.”
A stroke can also cause the muscles in your face and other parts of your body to act differently. Gallman said the difference in that instance is that it’s the brain, rather than the muscles, not working.
One more thing? Think about the future and smile. If you’re making a frowny face all the time, then you’ll get frown wrinkles when you’re older. Wouldn’t you rather have smiley crow’s feet instead?