Some people feel self-conscious about scarring on the arms, hands, legs or feet, but serious facial injuries could affect the mental well-being of almost anyone.
According to the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, a person’s face is more than just a collection of features with functions. Damage to any of the facial organs can cause disability, and the face is also essential to the sense of identity and self-recognition.
What are the physiological functions of the face?
Facial skin plays much the same role as the skin of the body — maintaining temperature and retaining moisture. The density of the free nerve endings in the skin of the face makes it an important sensory organ. Scientists believe these nerve endings may also play a role in regulating the immune system.
The muscles around the lips form a seal, making it possible to eat, breathe and talk. Nasal passages filter air. Eyelids keep the eyes moist and protected. Damage to any of these systems can affect a person’s health significantly, and all are difficult to repair surgically, as well.
How does the face affect identity?
People build their sense of self in part on how they perceive themselves, as well as how others react to them. Appearance and body image are part of this concept. The face affects how people express themselves and their emotions, and how they interact with others.
Unfortunately, societal bias often negatively affects how others interact with a person with severe scarring or facial disfigurement. People look at the face to determine attractiveness, and this bias affects relationships, jobs and other major life activities.
In seeking a personal injury settlement or verdict, someone who sustained a facial injury may want to request compensation for future reconstructive surgeries as well as noneconomic damages for the emotional and mental suffering.