What causes drooping of one side of the face and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Facial droop, also known as one-sided facial droop or facial paralysis, is a condition that can be both alarming and distressing. It occurs when one side of the face becomes weak or paralyzed, resulting in a drooping appearance. This condition can affect individuals of all ages and can be caused by various factors. Understanding the causes and available treatments for facial droop is essential for those experiencing this symptom.

Causes of Facial Droop

Facial droop can be caused by several underlying conditions, ranging from temporary to more severe. Some common causes include:

  • Stroke: One of the most serious causes of facial droop is a stroke. When a stroke occurs, blood flow to the brain is disrupted, leading to paralysis or weakness on one side of the face.
  • Bell’s Palsy: Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes sudden weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles. The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown, but it is believed to be related to viral infections.
  • Facial Nerve Damage: Damage to the facial nerve, known as the seventh cranial nerve, can result in facial droop. This damage can be caused by trauma, infection, or tumors.
  • Brain Tumor: In some cases, a brain tumor can cause facial droop. Tumors can put pressure on the facial nerve or other areas of the brain, leading to paralysis or weakness.
  • Facial Trauma: Trauma to the face, such as a fracture or injury to the facial nerve, can cause facial droop. This type of droop is often temporary and improves as the injury heals.

Treatment Options for Facial Droop

The treatment for facial droop depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Some common treatment options include:

Medical Interventions

If the facial droop is caused by a stroke or Bell’s Palsy, medical interventions may be necessary. These can include:

  • Medications: Medications such as corticosteroids or antiviral drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen the facial muscles and improve mobility.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be required to repair damage to the facial nerve or remove a tumor causing the droop.

Supportive Measures

In addition to medical interventions, there are several supportive measures that can help manage facial droop:

  • Eye Protection: Facial droop can affect the ability to close the eye fully, leading to dryness and potential damage. Using lubricating eye drops and wearing an eye patch at night can help protect the eye.
  • Facial Exercises: Performing regular facial exercises can help improve muscle strength and mobility. These exercises can be recommended by a physical therapist or found in online resources.
  • Emotional Support: Dealing with facial droop can be emotionally challenging. Seeking support from friends, family, or support groups can help individuals cope with the psychological impact of the condition.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While some cases of facial droop may resolve on their own, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience sudden or severe facial droop. Additionally, if the droop is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty speaking, dizziness, or weakness in other parts of the body, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as a stroke, and immediate medical attention should be sought.

It is also important to note that facial droop can sometimes be a symptom of a medical emergency, and prompt medical attention is crucial. If you or someone you know experiences sudden, severe facial droop along with other symptoms such as slurred speech, confusion, or weakness on one side of the body, call emergency services immediately.


Facial droop, or one-sided facial droop, can be caused by various factors, ranging from temporary conditions to more severe underlying issues. Understanding the causes and available treatment options is essential for managing this symptom. Medical interventions, supportive measures, and seeking prompt medical attention when necessary can help individuals with facial droop on their journey to recovery. Remember, each case is unique, and consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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