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  5. Crow’s Feet Around The Eyes: Causes, Treatment And Prevention

Are the fine lines around your eyes getting deeper when you laugh or frown? You might be starting to get what is known as ‘crow’s feet’ around your eyes.

Crow’s feet come naturally with aging and some accept it as a part of the journey called life. However, sometimes you may develop crow’s feet prematurely making you look older than your years.

Irrespective of whatever stage you are in life, if you want those wrinkle lines on your face to smoothen down a little, this article can guide you through it. Read on to find out about the causes, treatment and prevention options for crow’s feet.

What Is Crow's Feet?

When you laugh, smile, squint or frown, the muscles around your eyes get to work. As the skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of the face, the activity of these muscles leads to the formation of fine lines from the corners of your eyes.

With age, the elasticity of your skin reduces slowly, leading to the deepening of these lines to form crow’s feet in the region around the eyes. These lines can be of two types:

  • Static: These wrinkle lines are visible at all times even when the facial muscles are at rest.
  • Dynamic: Here, lines appear when you make a facial expression such as a smile.[1]

When Can You Start Getting Crow’s Feet?

A variety of factors influence the age when the crow’s feet on your face start getting pronounced. However, it is common to see the appearance of these lines anywhere between your mid-twenties or early thirties.

Who Gets Crow’s Feet?

Since we cannot imagine a life without a smile, laugh or frown, everyone is susceptible to these lines on the face. But there is no reason to despair, as these are natural signs of aging and quite harmless.

What Does It Mean When You Get It At Teenage?

There is no specific age at which you can start having crow’s feet. Too much sun exposure, smoking or your genes might be responsible for the premature appearance of crow’s feet on your face.

Causes Of Crow’s Feet Around Your Eyes

Skin Aging

One of the main causes of crow’s feet is skin aging, which may be due to chronological aging or photoaging. Listed below are a few factors that contribute to the deepening of these lines as your skin ages:

1. Reduction of skin-friendly proteins

The presence of certain proteins such as collagen and elastin renders firmness and elasticity to your skin.

Collagen is present in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the skin and gives it support. With age the overall collagen content of your skin decreases which leads to drooping of the skin and loss of firmness.[2]

Elastin on the other hand fails to retract upon aging, thus leading to loss of elasticity. Thus when your muscles go back to their resting position, the skin still stays wrinkled.

2. Lowering of sebum secretion

Aging also leads to a decreased secretion of sebum. Sebum provides an oily layer around the skin which contributes to hydration and protection. Lowered sebum content makes the skin dry, which in turn makes it more prone to crow’s feet.

3. Less fat content of skin

Fat is stored in the skin in the dermal white adipose tissues (dWAT), which supports the skin and prevents sagging.[3] The dWAT content of the skin is reduced due to aging which weakens the skin and contributes to deeper aging lines.

4. Lesser GAGs and PGs

Other than proteins, the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and the proteoglycans (PGs) present in the skin also play an important role in upholding the structural firmness of the tissue.[4] Reduction in the GAGs and PGs with age is another factor that can make crow’s feet more pronounced.

Prolonged UV exposure

Excessive exposure to UV rays from sunlight or tanning beds can lead to the appearance or worsening of crow’s feet.

Genetics

You may be genetically predisposed to premature aging of your skin or excessive dryness which can lead to the formation of these lines around your eyes.

Lifestyle

Unhealthy life choices such as poor diet, insufficient sleep or smoking can contribute to the appearance of crow’s feet on your face.

Treatment Options

woman getting a face lift with botox

Depending on your age and the severity of the crow’s feet on your face, you can choose from the various options available for treating them.

1. Topical Medications

A range of prescription as well as over-the-counter medications are available which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Creams containing retinoids, antioxidants like vitamin C and peptides are commonly used for topical application.

While the prescription wrinkle creams are more effective in reducing crow’s feet, than the non-prescription ones, it may take anywhere between a few weeks to a month to get visible results.

2. Injections

Injections of an appropriate dose of Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) in the muscle band around the eye is one of the most popular treatments for the reduction of wrinkles. This chemical stops the muscle around the eyes from contracting and thus reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

You have to get the injection from your dermatologist and it can take upto 3 days to show any visible results. This treatment is most effective in young adults who have started to get crow’s feet. Results can last upto 3 months.

Maintenance doses may be required to prevent reappearance of wrinkles. It is very important to discuss the dosage and long term effects of this treatment with your doctor before opting for it.

3. Dermal Fillers

Soft tissue fillers typically contain collagen, fat or hyaluronic acid and are injected directly into the areas of crow’s feet. These fillers support your skin which reduces sagging and thus the wrinkles. The effect of these fillers is also temporary. You should check with your doctor about the possible adverse effects before starting this treatment.

4. Laser resurfacing

In ablative laser resurfacing, a beam of laser is used to remove the outermost layer of your skin, to reveal the underlying smoother and younger looking skin. This procedure also promotes collagen production which makes your skin more firm and supple.

Laser resurfacing has to be performed at a doctor’s clinic and can take several days to heal. You may need to take antibiotics and pain medication. While it is definitely more effective than injections in removing crow’s feet, it cannot remove sagging skin or deeper wrinkles.

5.Surgery

An eyelift surgery or blepharoplasty can be opted for, especially in older adults, to reverse the aging effects around the eyes. Due to the loss of protein and fats, the eyelids may droop and deep crow’s feet can appear around the eyes. [5]

Surgery is performed on the upper, lower or both eyelids as per the need of the patient. This procedure has more permanent results that can last for years and even improve the patient’s vision.

6. Microneedling

If you are looking for a minimally invasive procedure with fast recovery time, this might be your treatment of choice. Microneedling is done by a certified professional at a doctor’s office.

A device with multiple tiny needles is rolled across the areas affected by crow’s feet. This stimulates collagen production and kicks in the repair mechanisms of the skin. The new skin thus formed has more tightness and elasticity.

This procedure is very effective for prevention of crow’s feet or as a maintenance therapy coupled with other therapeutic procedures.

7. Home Remedies

If you do not want to spend a lot of money or prefer natural remedies, here are some ingredients from your own pantry that can help. These can work to reduce or prevent the appearance of crow’s feet on your face:

A. Aloe vera

The gel of this plant is rich in antioxidants, vitamins (A,C, E and B12) along with folic acid and choline, which moisturises and tones the skin, making it firm and supple. You can directly apply aloe vera gel on your face and leave it overnight. Wash it off with water in the morning.

B. Egg whites

Egg whites have potassium and magnesium that heals and tightens the skin, promoting repair of the lines caused by crow’s feet. For best results, apply two coats of egg white on your face. Ensure that the egg whites have been beaten well. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then wash your face properly with a cleanser.

C. Coconut oil

Being rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid, coconut oil repairs the damaged skin tissues and prevents sagging of the delicate facial skin. Rub a few drops of pure coconut oil around your eyes before going to bed to reduce and prevent the lines around them.

D. Avocados

These fruits have a high content of good fat, along with vitamins D and E. Have this with your salad. You can also rub a peeled avocado on your skin to stimulate the production of collagen and reduce wrinkles on your face.

E. Cucumber

Being rich in a lot of B vitamins, soothing cucumber patches on your eyes for 10 minutes a day can help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin around your eyes.

F. Papaya

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that removes dead skin cells and increases production of new cells. This helps smoothen the lines caused by crow’s feet on the face.

G. Honey and yogurt

Yogurt has lactic acid that gently exfoliates the skin, while honey is a natural moisturiser rich in antioxidants and antibacterial chemicals. Mix equal volumes of honey and yogurt in a bowl, and massage onto your face. Wait for 10 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water.

How Can You Conceal Crow's Feet?

woman getting a face lift with botox

While it is perfectly alright to have signs of graceful aging, you may use some of these tips to draw attention away from the wrinkles around your eyes.

1. Increase moisturisation

Step up your moisturisation routine to reduce the lines around your eyes. Use a heavy moisturizer before applying make up and a serum on your face at night before going to bed. However, ensure that you choose a product that suits your skin type.

2. Tone down concealer and foundation

Use a lighter version or lesser amounts of concealer and foundation. You do not want the foundation or concealer to settle heavily on the wrinkles to make them even more prominent.

3. Draw attention away from the eyes

Use lighter makeup on the eye. Opt for a thinner liner, less eyeshadow or mascara so that your eyes and the fine lines around it do not stand out as your most prominent features. Instead use a bold blush to highlight your cheekbones or a lovely bright lipstick to divert the attention from the eyes.

Tips To Prevent Crow’s Feet

1. Use sunscreen :

Since damage due to UV rays of the sun is one of the primary causes of skin aging, you should take careful precautions early on in life. This will help slow down the appearance of crow’s feet due to photoaging. Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, protective glasses and hats before stepping out into the sun.

2. Stay hydrated :

Keeping your skin well-hydrated can go a long way in the prevention of wrinkle lines as dry skin is more prone to losing elasticity and appearance of wrinkles. Drink plenty of water, and apply moisturisers with antioxidants and collagen on your face to keep crow’s feet at bay.

3. Facial exercises :

Simple facial exercises can help strengthen the muscle around your eyes, prevent skin sagging and in turn help prevent the appearance of crow’s feet. You can try these two exercises to strengthen the muscle around your eyes:

(a)Put your index and middle fingers on your brow. Now lift your brow up while pushing the skin down gently with your fingers. Do this for 10 times for 6 sets.

(b)Lift the skin over your cheekbones while making a big ‘O’ with your open mouth. The skin should feel tight, hold for a few seconds. Repeat 10 times.

4. Sleep right :

Poor sleeping postures can lead to the deepening of the wrinkle lines. Opt for gentler fabrics such as silk for your pillows to minimise the impact of the fabric on your delicate facial skin.

5. Change your lifestyle :

Lifestyle changes can make a difference too. Eat a healthy wholesome diet, get enough sleep and avoid stress to prolong the youthfulness of your skin.

6. Avoid smoking :

Smoking causes dehydration, which in turn speeds up the appearance wrinkles, so avoid the habit.

Can Crow’s Feet Make Your Face More Attractive?

Psychologists have found that crow’s feet on your face makes you appear as a mature and wise person, with a well-lived life. Since crow’s feet are associated with the plethora of emotions we express with our face, we subconsciously tend to relate these to a warm, happy and expressive personality.

So while it is perfectly alright to feel that the lines and wrinkles are not kind to your face, their very presence can make you appear as an approachable and dependable person to someone!

Difference Between Fine Lines And Crow's Feet

Fine lines are the first signs of skin-aging that start appearing in the delicate regions of our face. Crow’s feets, on the other hand, are more deeper and pronounced wrinkles that manifest over the years. Fine lines are usually easier to treat and require lesser maintenance if attended to at an early stage. When left untreated, the fine lines will deepen and lead to the formation of crow’s feet.

Wrapping

The appearance of crow’s feet is a result of skin aging due to multiple reasons. While the appearance of crow’s feet is a natural phenomenon, you might still want to opt for different procedures to prevent or treat them. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking good care of your skin can go a long way in delaying these wrinkle lines.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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