Also referred, to as “age lines,” crow’s feet adds character when you smile, making you look clever and attractive, says psychologists. But come on, let’s be honest, when the skin around your eyes gets wrinkled when you laugh or smile – or in some cases, permanent etchings around the eyes – aren’t really cute when they reveal your age or worst, make you look older than your age.
For instance, hitting the big 4-0 is not a bad thing, but unfortunately, deep wrinkles like crow’s feet can give away your age easily even at times when you just wanted it to be just your little secret. While some people don’t mind crow’s feet popping up their faces, and others are taking positivity to new heights by calling these pesky lines “laugh lines,” the majority of us simply want them gone.
What Are Crow’s Feet?
Often known as a sign of aging, crow’s feet are the lines developed on each corner of the eyes that many people, especially women, find unwelcome and unsightly. These fine lines and wrinkles that you can clearly see when you look closely in the mirror resembles the shape of a bird’s feet, hence the name “crow’s feet”. The wrinkling is most visible when you smile, laugh, or even squint. You may call them “laugh lines,” “age lines” or “character lines,” but in reality, crow’s feet refer to the same, inevitable sign of skin aging.
The first signs of crow’s feet usually appear in mid-20s. They start as a small, shallow wrinkle, but they eventually go deeper and bigger as people age. There are many factors that may lead to the causes of crow’s feet. And if you started preventing them in their early stages, then you might be able to prevent them from taking a toll in your life, and affecting your sense of self and confidence.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, there are two main types of crow’s feet: Dynamic Lines and Static Facial Lines. Dynamic Lines are crow’s feet that were produced by actions of underlying muscles, such as frowning, smiling or laughing. On the other hand, Static Facial Lines are permanent etchings in the skin (as what was mentioned above) that are always present even if you are asleep and these actual lines are usually an aftermath of long history of squinting, frowning and sun damage.
Causes Of Crow’s Feet
Crow’s feet have the same causes as wrinkles and sagging – and aging is one of the most influential factors. When you were younger, your skin is still composed of bountiful quantity of collagen and elastin. The mesh-like collagen network is the major fibrous protein that binds the skin together. Collagen is tough and is basically responsible for providing strength to the skin. On the other hand, elastin is also a fibrous protein but it highly resilient, giving elasticity to the skin. Elastin does its job when the skin stretches, pulled or pinched, and bounces back to its original form.
However, as you grow older, collagen and elastin begin to drop or get damaged, thus weakening your facial muscles. Damaged collagen or the diminishing levels of elastin and collagen make it hard for the skin stay firm, plump and youthful.
“We also lose collagen and elastin from the skin which is what makes us look older. The first place we lose fat from in the face is the undereye area and that, combined with the lines caused by smiling, laughing and squinting into the sun, is what causes those wrinkles to deepen as we age,” says cosmetic doctor Natalie Blakely via the Daily Mail.
“We lose 80 percent of our natural hyaluronic acid between the ages of 40 and 80,” she added. In a nut shell, what hyaluronic acid does is to keep skin hydrated by drawing water to the skin, locking it in and helping it prevent moisture loss.
The skin around the eyes is thin and does not have a gland to release oil, making crow’s feet as the first sign of skin aging to develop. Do not forget that repetitive motions can aggravate the situation such as squinting whenever you see a bright light.
2. Sun Damage
Another major contributor to making crow’s feet visible is sun damage. That is why it is important to take care of skin at an earlier stage to not only prevent crow’s feet, but also other types of wrinkles that may form over time.
3. Exposure To The Sun’s UV Rays
Not getting sun damage doesn’t mean your skin is protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. In fact, one of the major contributors of skin aging is a mere UV exposure from the sun. Going out under the sun without sun protection will stop the production of collagen, developing skin aging signs. Do not assure yourself that going outside without sun protection for a short period of time will be okay because sun exposure usually stacks up over time, thus giving the same ending.
4. Repetitive Motions
Doing exercises continuously and religiously can lead to the conversion of fat to muscle and the same goes for the development of crow’s feet. As we keep on doing our facial expressions over time, such as squinting and frowning, we increase the visibility of crow’s feet and wrinkles.
5. Smoking Cigarettes
Already known to negatively affecting the body and causing potentially fatal diseases, such as lung cancer or triggering an asthma attack, smoking cigarettes can deprive blood flow and oxygen in the body, damaging the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Smoking can also make us squint our eyes when the smoke reached our eyes. Smoking pipes and vapes can also contribute to the formation of crow’s feet due to repetitive squinting.
As women grow older, they encounter a natural process in their lives called menopause. Simply put, it is the time when menstrual cycle stops and they cannot become fertile anymore. Menopause has no specific age to strike and is inevitable. However, in reality, it’s more than just about infertility; menopause can also change some aspects in woman’s body such as hormonal fluctuations, causing a drop in estrogen levels –which has a connection to crow’s feet.
Estrogen is a hormone responsible for a woman’s physical features and reproduction. Therefore, if a woman is experiencing a drop in estrogen, the maintenance of collagen, elasticity, and hydration of skin is disrupted, making crow’s eyes worse and more visible than ever.
Once crow’s feet are seen in the corner of the eyes, it is hard to get rid of them for good. So it is best to start paying attention and take care of your skin at an early stage to prevent them from coming out.
How To Prevent Crow’s Feet?
We now know that crow’s feet appear during our mid to late 20s age phase, and once they strike, we cannot prevent them completely anymore. However, the good news is impeding further development of crow’s feet and reduction of severity can still be done with these simple skin care tips and tricks. Check out what to include on your to-do list.
1. Always Smile
Frowning is a repetitive motion that can cause intense crow’s feet. So why frown over the simplest things? Loosen up and smile! It is better to be happy, positive, and relaxed than to worry about every little problem in your life.
2. Wear Sun Protection
The basic sun protection you can wear is sunscreen! Regardless of the season, weather or time of the day, slathering on sunscreen should always be in your skin care arsenal. Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 30 like Dermaxsol by Solvaderm Skincare. It not only provides your skin a protective barrier against UVA and UVB rays, but it also keeps your skin supple and moisturized.
In addition to sunscreen, you must also wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats when the sun is hot outside. Having sun protection while the sun is up will come in handy since it will lessen squinting.
3. Drink Lots Of Water
Staying hydrating definitely does wonders to our skin. Proper hydration will make your skin healthy and younger looking. Always make sure to drink eight glasses of water or more every day to stay hydrated.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is often placed on the bottom of the priority list because there are many other things to do in a day. But, depriving yourself of sleep or not getting quality sleep will make the skin look older than your age. Make sure to manage your time well to get that beautiful skin that you and your skin deserve.
5. Monitor Your Sleeping Position
You might be asking, how do sleeping positions contribute to the development of crow’s feet? When you are asleep, you have no control over your body movements so a repetitive sleep position can add or deepen etchings on your skin, especially around the eyes. For example, when you sleep sideways and a specific side of a face is being pressed on the pillow every time you sleep, you will notice when you wake up that there are markings on your face. Over time, wrinkles on that side can go deeper, be more visible, and it’s also possible that additional lines may suddenly appear.
6. Eat Right
Choosing the right food to eat on a daily basis will eventually help delay the aging process of the skin. Eat foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, so your body can be able to fight free radicals that cause skin damage and aging.
7. Reduce Stress
Stress is one of the culprits for many health illnesses, so it’s not surprising that it can also age your skin faster than its normal process. Learn to control and get over stress to not aggravate and speed up the aging process of the skin.
8. Use Eye Creams With SPF Protection
Another thing to use for protection is a hydrating eye cream. This will help keep the skin around the eyes plump, hydrated, and at the same time, it also protects the skin from sun damage. All this can help delay or diminish the appearance of crow’s feet.
9. Evade Toxin Exposure
Reducing exposures to pollutants, chemicals, household products, and cigarette smoke can contribute greatly to the development of crow’s feet and other diseases that these toxins may cause.
An unhealthy lifestyle will also likely contribute to the visibility of crow’s feet so make sure to prioritize taking good care of your skin and body.
How to Treat Crow’s Feet?
As we grow and age, there will come a time when crow’s feet will eventually appear. Fortunately, the growth of wrinkles and crow’s feet can be reduced and prevented. There are ways on how to treat crow’s feet, and here’s how:
1. Eye creams
There are creams that have active ingredients that fight wrinkles and crow’s feet, hence reducing its visibility. What these products do is hydrating the skin around the eyes and improving collagen production for firmer skin. Other eye creams available in the market contain antioxidants that fight free radicals and the harmful effects of the sun to our skin.
Other than eye creams, there are serums that can be a solution to your crow’s feet blues. A recommended product for this is Solvaderm’s Stemnucell. This stem cell dermal regeneration serum helps slow down the process of aging. Because it is a highly-concentrated serum, it can give your skin anti-aging benefits which include:
- Revitalization of the skin
- Slowing down the biological clock of aging
- Improving the production of collagen to make skin firmer
- Improving skin’s self-healing capability
- Has a line-erasing and anti-wrinkling effects
- Softening skin with its nourishing properties
Also, according to the Scientific Studies, Stemnucell is formulated “to delay the cellular degradation,” which is responsible for the “speeding up of the aging process.”
3. Laser and Radiofrequency Treatments
With today’s modern-day technology, science has come up with ways on how to prevent this cosmetic concern. Laser and Radiofrequency treatments work to raise the activity of collagen production, reducing the visibility of crow’s feet and wrinkles.
The two most popular procedures being undertaken by patients are exilis insta-tighten facials and laser lifts and can be done within an hour. So good this may seem, once you have undergone science treatments, there can be certain risks that may be involved. Also, treatments like this are no doubt expensive and must be done after a specific number of months to keep crow’s feet out of sight.
4. Botox With Injectable Fillers
Mostly, doctors treat crow’s feet with a combination of Botox and injectable fillers. Botox is a drug that is applied to a specific area where muscle contractions are needed to be minimized, removing wrinkles in a specific span of time. Patients who underwent the treatment will have to wait around a week to see if there are still any visible lines. Once there are still lines found, they must be ready for the final step – injectable fillers. Same as laser and radiofrequency treatments, Botox can cost a lot of money and is only a temporary solution, meaning you will need to come back to your doctor after a specific number of months.
Frequently Asked Questions about Crow’s Feet
1. When Do Crow’s Feet Usually First Appear?
Crow’s feet can affect anyone. Surprising to many people, crow’s feet often appear as early as mid to late 20s. Although you think you’re still too young to get bothered by wrinkles, it’s best to make it your ritual to do a skin care regimen to prevent aging.
Keep in mind that every day we do a lot of things with our faces — we smile, laugh, squint, and frown — causing the skin at the corner of the eyes to fold or crinkle. Prevention is key to keep your skin looking smooth and young. The best time to prevent crow’s feet is during the teenage years. Start with low-key, simple skin care regimen, such as cleansing, moisturizing and applying sunscreen daily. As you grow older, you can work your way up to a more rigorous ritual, such as retinol, antioxidants and eye creams.
2. What Are The Main Factors That Cause Crow’s Feet?
Crow’s feet are a part of our natural growth process and are typically aggravated by our day-to-day facial expressions. Smoking cigarettes has also been a contributing factor because our normal reaction when our face is surrounded by smoke is to squint. Your sleeping position is also to blame since when we sleep on one side, we tend to add more pressure on specific parts of our face. You may not realize this, but the temporary lines start the permanent ones.
3. Does Dieting Have An Impact To Crow’s Feet?
As mentioned, crow’s feet are a visible sign of aging. A so-called anti-aging diet may help in slowing down the development of crow’s feet. Add foods rich in antioxidants, such as asparagus, fish oil, berries, and fish to your daily caloric intake. Moreover, you must also stay hydrated at all times to prevent dehydration, which may lead to dry skin and speed up the aging process.
However, according to WebMD, people who lose and regain weight, also known as yo-yo diet, are prone to developing facial wrinkles as losing weight and regaining it after some causes the skin to stretch, which may eventually result in skin damage. So if you are dieting, make sure to monitor and maintain your diet to prevent this circumstance.
4. Is Botox a Safe Treatment For Crow’s Feet?
Actually, Botox injections are generally safe once an experienced and licensed doctor performs it. However, just like any treatments that are deemed safe, Botox may still have certain side effects and risks and are not recommended for pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding.
The usual side effects that can be experienced are bruising, swelling, flu-like symptoms, and headaches. Another thing to watch out for when you want to get Botox injections is when it is injected into the wrong area or areas. Once this happens, the medication can spread to other tissues around the area and can cause cockeyed eyebrow or eyebrows, crooked smile, and drooping of the eyelid or eyelids.
Botulism-like symptoms may also develop if Botox has reached areas that it should not go to and may cause muscle weakness, trouble speaking and swallowing, bladder control issues, and vision problems.
5. Is It True That Botox Leaves Patients Feeling Depressed?
According to a study performed by a Cardiff University psychologist, people who got Botox injections to reduce crow’s feet tend to feel more depressed. The study, which had people who underwent Botox treatment for facial lines, revealed that the area of treatment for facial lines determined how depressed the patients felt. The patients who underwent Botox treatment for frown lines were feeling less depressed compared to patients who underwent Botox treatment for crow’s feet.
Dr. Michael Lewis explained on his paper that using Botox injections to reduce facial lines have an effect on how we feel and perceive the world.
“The expressions that we make on our face affect the emotions we feel; we smile because we are happy but smiling also makes us happy. Treatment with drugs like Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression. For example, those treated for frown lines with Botox are not able to frown as strongly. This interrupts the feedback they would normally get from their face and they feel less sad,” Dr. Lewis elaborated.
“The new finding being reported today concerns the impact of treatments for crows’ feet. The muscles around the eyes are used when forming a real smile and so it was predicted that treatment of the muscles that cause these will reduce the strength of a smile. The results supported this prediction.”
With this results, Dr. Lewis said that he will also consider emotions that may also be affected by Botox treatment. Also, the study showed an increase in disgust and some forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
6. Are Eye Creams Effective To Use Against Crow’s Feet?
Generally speaking, premium-grade, hydrating eye creams are effective in diminishing the appearance of crow’s feet. However, be cautious when choosing an eye cream as there are many eye creams available in the market; some of them are effective while some are not. In finding the right eye cream to treat crow’s feet, make it a habit to check the ingredients. Your eye cream should have ingredients such as Eriobotrya Japonica extract, which is composed of anti-aging antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can contribute to slow down the process of aging.
Another key ingredient that you should look for is Oxidoreductases, an enzyme that helps antioxidant activity in the body, thus helping in slowing down the process of aging and promotes the greater overall health of the skin.
Finally, look for intense moisturizing ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane, which give the skin its much-needed hydration and prevent the development of crow’s feet.
7. What Do Experts Say About Crow’s Feet?
According to the Mayo Clinic, wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. No one can escape this progress since everyone will develop wrinkles at some point in their lives. A lot of people ignore this fact and take skin care regimen for granted. The face and neck usually take the consequences due to unprotected sun exposure over the years and these parts should have had a lot of focus during our younger, teenage years. Once you know how to take care of your skin properly, you can delay the development of wrinkles and crow’s feet.
8. Do Crow’s Feet Show Authenticity?
In contrast to statements that crow’s feet are an unwelcoming sign of aging, there was a study released that when crow’s feet are present when a person smiles, some people tend to judge the person to be more clever and genuine.
Psychologists asked their respondents that were divided into two groups — men and women — to say their impressions of the people smiling on photographs being shown to them. Respondents judged the people in the photographs to be intense, authentic, spontaneous, and are showing more amusement. Also, the research revealed that people are seen to be more attractive and more intelligent if crow’s feet are visible when they smile.
Unfortunately, the study revealed a surprising finding, a smile that reaches the eyes are not trustworthy than a smile that only touches the lips. “Hardly any other emotional expression has attracted as much scientific interest concerning its genuine expression than smiling,” Susanne Quadflieg, the person who did the study, said.
On the other hand, Naresh Joshi, a consultant ophthalmic plastic surgeon at London’s Cromwell and Chelsea & Westminster hospitals said that there are a lot of patients asking him to smoothen their wrinkles that show whenever they smile. Sad to say for these patients, he usually refuses and always telling his patients that it will make the smile look peculiar.
“People say to me: “I want to get rid of these wrinkles” and crinkle up their eyes but, when they are at rest, there is absolutely no wrinkle,” he said. “So, I tell them that it is a dynamic line, it is a line of expression, and they shouldn’t get rid of it.”
Questions That You Can Ask Your Dermatologist
Here is a set of questions that you can ask your dermatologist for your next appointment.
1. Which crow’s feet treatment will work best for me?
2. How much will the procedure cost?
3. How long is the duration of the procedure?
4. How long is the gap between each treatment?
5. What are the common side effects and complications that may happen?
6. Is the treatment painful?
7. What preparations do I need to do before treatment?
8. What are the risks of the procedure?
9. What should I expect after I undergo surgery?
10. How long is the recovery period?
And Here Are Some Questions You Can Ask Before a Crow’s Feet Procedure:
1. Is the doctor who will perform the procedure board-certified?
2. Did you already take my medical history?
3. Was the doctor able to show be before-and-after photos?
4. Was the clinic able to evaluate the right procedure for my skin type?
It is always a good thing to ask the important things before making big decisions in your life just to be sure and not to regret things later.
Everyone can’t escape this cosmetic woe. Wrinkles and crow’s feet will come out naturally as we grow older. Fortunately, there are ways on how to delay the appearance of crow’s feet. There are many treatments available in the market such as eye creams and serums, and there are non-invasive procedures that can be done by dermatologists. The most affordable option that you can use is an eye cream. However, you should know which brand to use since not all are effective enough to prevent the crow’s feet and give you the results that you want.
Other natural ways to prevent crow’s feet include having the right sleeping position, eating food high in antioxidants, and staying hydrated – to name a few. In case you have severe crow’s feet, a good eye cream and serum can usually resolve them, but it is best to consult a medical professional to evaluate your situation and treat the problem at the source.
Once you go to your dermatologist, do not forget to ask the right questions and know more about of the procedures to be undertaken to not have regrets once it all goes wrong. Remember, keep yourself informed as much as you can before taking any invasive or non-invasive treatments for crow’s feet.