What Are Crow’s Feet and How to Treat Them

Man with Crow's Feet under his eyes What Are Crow’s Feet and How to Treat Them

Wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process. As we get older, multiple factors contribute to fine lines and wrinkles, creating a perfect storm for aging skin. One of the most common areas to show our age is around the eyes.

How to Identify and Treat Crow's Feet

What Are Crow’s Feet?

“Crow’s feet” is the term given to those fine lines around the eye area. These tiny wrinkles might also be known as “smile lines” since they’re the ones that form when we grin. While these little wrinkles may not trouble you much when you’re smiling, they’re definitely bothersome when they become permanent features of your face.

Most people seek dermatological treatment for crow’s feet when they become noticeable when the face is at rest. These are considered “static wrinkles,” meaning they’re always visible. If these little lines only appear while smiling, they’re deemed “dynamic wrinkles” and probably don’t need treatment yet.

What Causes Crow’s Feet?

The simple answer is that the aging process itself causes crow’s feet. But what’s really happening to the skin during the development of static crow’s feet? Collagen and elastin, two proteins found in the skin’s supporting structure, decrease in production as you age. These proteins are primarily responsible for giving skin its plump, firm appearance.

Skin also thins as you get older, and nowhere is this more apparent than the eye area. The skin around the eyes is already tissue-paper thin, which is why rubbing your eyes or pulling on the skin when applying makeup can hurt your appearance in the long-run. When the delicate skin around the eyes is thinning, it’s more susceptible to forming wrinkles.

It’s not just smiling that causes your eye area to wrinkle. Virtually every facial expression you make involves contracting the tiny muscles of the eye area. The bottom line is: you probably can’t avoid crow’s feet by avoiding smiling. But there are certain things you can do to both prevent and treat these fine lines.

Preventing Crow’s Feet

It’s important to have a solid anti-aging skincare routine in place. Taking care of your skin by cleansing, toning, and moisturizing it properly is key. A high-quality eye cream can also make a huge difference. Apply your eye cream very gently using your ring finger -- it’s the weakest finger on the hand so it applies the least amount of pressure to the delicate eye area.

Be sure to take other anti-aging precautions in your lifestyle. Using sunscreen, getting enough sleep, drinking water, and limiting alcohol will all help prevent premature aging of the skin. But even your best efforts may not be enough to totally prevent crow’s feet. Fortunately, there are several treatment options.

Treating Crow’s Feet

No matter what new products, treatments, or technologies come out, there’s one option that consistently ranks on top for treating crow’s feet: Botox. This injectable is easy (it takes about 15 minutes per treatment with no downtime) and safe (it’s the only FDA-approved treatment for wrinkles.) It’s extremely effective, but it will require ongoing treatments for maintenance.

Other popular options for getting rid of those little lines around the eyes are dermal fillers. These injectables, like Juvederm and Restylane, use hyaluronic acid to plump the skin through hydration and lubrication, softening the appearance of wrinkles. Touch-up treatments are also necessary with dermal fillers.

If you’re sick of showing your age and want to talk through options for treating your crow’s feet, give Vanguard Dermatology a call. We serve patients in the greater New York City area and offer a variety of simple, in-office treatments to address your anti-aging needs.

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