Regardless of whether you call them laugh lines, smile lines, or simply fine lines, one of the first—and most stubborn—signs of age are crow’s feet around the eyes. While we have these cute names for them, crow’s feet are actually those tiny wrinkles that appear around your eyes. It’s common knowledge that when it comes to the signs of age in skin, the eyes are the first to show it. Crow’s feet can appear as early as your mid-twenties for some people and much older for others. Regardless of when they appear or how visible they are, crow’s feet are the frustrating aging skin concern that’s almost impossible to avoid.
Crow’s feet are dynamic wrinkles that are caused by repeated facial movement. So if you squint or smile, you’re more likely to have crow’s feet. Crow’s feet are typically the first signs of aging and commonly appear in your late 20’s. So, how do you get rid of crow’s feet? Read on to find out.
Related: How To Get Rid of Wrinkles
What are Crow’s Feet
Most people realize that crow’s feet are the fine lines and wrinkles that live at the corners of your eyes. That’s typically where the understanding ends. For a skin condition that is so common—inevitable even—many people are unaware of what’s really going on with their skin and why crow’s feet are so common and difficult to manage.
Crow’s feet are one of the first signs of age and typically the most visible. You’ll see the first indication of crow’s feet appearing much earlier in life than other common characteristics of aging skin like sagging, wrinkles, and dullness. The reason for this is that the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and weakest making it extremely susceptible to premature aging.
Generally, we talk about crow’s feet as a singular skin condition but there are actually many dynamics that are involved. Specifically, there are two main types of crow’s feet that are identified as dynamic lines and static facial lines. Crow’s feet that are classified as dynamic lines occur because of the muscle movement under the skin. The expressions of squinting, smiling, and frowning is what causes this type of crow’s feet to appear. Static facial lines are the type of crow’s feet that are always present no matter the action. These crow’s feet are there even during times when the face is resting like during sleep. Static facial lines are the type of crow’s feet that people associate with aging skin.
Crow’s Feet Causes
When it comes to understanding how crow’s feet are caused, it’s important to first know that, this is a sign of age that is virtually unavoidable. There are things that attribute to crow’s feet appearing earlier in life and ways to help reduce their appearance but, most crow’s feet causes are simply unavoidable aspects of life.
In general, all signs of age including crow’s feet, appear on the skin due to the production decrease of essential proteins and a slower skin cell regeneration process. The essential proteins collagen and elastin are needed to help skin retain its elasticity and strength so once their production is slowed, skin begins to sag and become less firm. And with the eyes having the least amount of fatty tissue, crow’s feet are first to appear.
Crow’s feet causes that are within our control are overexposure to the sun, free radical damage, and even smoking. Sun exposure is a well-known culprit of premature aging in the skin and not protecting the eyes when out in the sun will lead to quicker and more visible crow’s feet. Free radicals are another well-known cause of aging in skin and when not combatted, they can cause extensive damage. Smoking, along with its many other negative health disadvantages, is another cause of premature aging in skin and the cause of early crow’s feet.
Even if you went above and beyond to protect the skin around your eyes from sun exposure, free radicals, and avoiding harmful activities like smoking, you’d still encounter crow’s feet at some point in your life. The crow’s feet causes that are out of our control are simply the constant facial expressions we do on a daily basis. Whether that’s laughing or smiling, squinting or straining your eyes to see, or even frowning or expressions of anger, over a lifetime and with a reduction in collagen and elastin, crow’s feet will eventually appear.
The easiest way to prevent crow’s feet is to smile and squint less. Remember, facial expression is the primary cause of crow’s feet.
How to get rid of Crow’s Feet
Here is a list of crow’s feet treatment options:
Preventing & Treating Crow’s Feet
With the general causes of crow’s feet known, there are people who still look for ways to prevent crow’s feet for good. And while there is no magic product or procedure that can grant that wish, there are a few good skincare habits you can develop to prevent crow’s feet for as long as possible. Sunscreen is your first defense against signs of premature aging in skin. Making sure to apply sunscreen daily, even on days where it isn’t sunny is crucial to preventing crow’s feet from appearing prematurely. Another defense is incorporating a collagen boosting eye cream in your late twenties, early 30s to hold off the signs of crow’s feet for as long as possible. And always using facial products that are antioxidant rich to protect the skin from environmental free radicals is another way to combat the appearance of crow’s feet. Taking care to follow each of these good skincare habits can help your skin and eyes look more youthful, longer.
Once those first signs of crow’s feet finally do appear, all is not lost. There are countless products, treatment, and procedures that can help reduce the appearance of crow’s feet with small improvements and dramatic transformations possible. Treatment options for crow’s feet vary from over-the-counter topical products to simple noninvasive treatments to more intense skin procedures. The common goals for all crow’s feet treatments are to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and help prevent them from becoming deeper and more visible. The right crow’s feet treatment option for you will depend on your needs, budget, and personal preference. We’ll discuss each one in detail including their pros and cons.
Crow’s Feet Eye Creams
The simplest method to get rid of crow’s feet is an over-the-counter or prescription grade topical cream. Crow’s feet creams will contain ingredients like retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids that work to prevent collagen breakdown and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Most over-the-counter crow’s feet eye creams are sufficient enough to see improvement in the skin, but for those with more stubborn crow’s feet, your dermatologist can prescribe something similar with higher doses of the main anti-aging ingredients.
Pros: When incorporated into your skincare routine and used on a consistent basis, crow’s feet creams are highly effective. They will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help skin the around the eyes look more youthful
Cons: Crow’s feet creams aren’t able to prevent new wrinkles from appearing and they aren’t able to boost your skin’s collagen and elasticity. They also can be pretty pricey for an option that has to be used daily.
Botox for Crow’s Feet
A more dramatic option for getting rid of crow’s feet is Botox. Crow’s feet Botox are botulinum toxin injections that help relax the muscles under the skin. This procedure helps to smooth crow’s feet making their appearance less visible. Botox is FDA approved and should only be done by a licensed doctor.
Pros: Crow’s feet Botox injections are a very quick and noninvasive treatment that can be done in a matter of minutes with results that can up to three months. Being such a simple procedure, there isn’t generally a recovery time so you can get the crow’s feet injections in an afternoon and go about your day with ease and immediate results. Most people see a noticeable difference within a few days.
Cons: A Botox injection for crow’s feet can be a bit uncomfortable as it’s done with a needle and comes with some possible side effects like soreness, bruising, and headaches. Botox is also pretty expensive ranging anywhere from $300 – $500 and would have to be done a few times a year to continue its effectiveness.
Alternative cosmetic injections include Xeomin and Dysport.
How about fillers? We don’t recommend fillers (such Juvederm and Restylane) for crow’s feet. Fillers are effective on static lines that are a result of collagen loss.
Laser Treatments for Crow’s Feet
Another option for treating crow’s feet is CO2 fraction ablative laser resurfacing surgery. This laser treatment for crow’s feet involves using laser technology to remove layers of the skin, helping new skin cells to move to the surface. Newer lasers such as Fraxel are also also suitable.
Pros: Laser treatments for crow’s feet can be effective and lasts the longest out of any other treatment. By removing the top layer of skin and enabling the new skin cells to appear, skin is able to look healthier and more youthful for an extended period of time. When done correctly, laser treatment for crow’s feet can last up to a year However, results are usually minor.
Cons: While laser treatments are potent, it comes with the most risks and is accompanied by some recovery time. Laser treatment can cause pain, swelling, bleeding while the skin heals from the treatment. They can leave scars, especially with darker skin types. Results rarely meet patients expectations. It’s also extremely expensive with quality laser treatments costing anywhere from $1,700 – $2,500.
Typically, a combination of treatments are required to achieve the desired results.