Anyone else starting to notice crow’s feet around their eyes? We feel you. Whether you’ve just noticed a hint of fine lines forming around your eyes, or you’ve been dealing with them for a while, you probably want to know how to get rid of them. Because while we’re all for embracing the whole ageing thing, let’s face it - if there are things we can do to get rid of those unwanted laugh lines, we’re probably going to try.
If you would like to minimise the appearance of crow’s feet, dermal therapist Dr Giulia D'Anna from Dermal Distinction filled us in on everything we need to know about preventing and treating crow’s feet.
What are crow’s feet?
“Crow’s feet are the lines and wrinkles that radiate out from the corner of the eye. They are the result of the eye muscle creasing the skin whenever we squint, smile or even rub our eyes. The muscle involved is called the orbicularis oculi and it is a very thin, but circular muscle that pulls the skin in around the eye,” explains Dr D’Anna.
What causes fine lines around the eyes?
As we age, our skin starts to lose elastin and collagen, and sun damage, hormones, free radicals and facial expressions escalate the process, causing the lines around the corners of your eyes to get deeper and longer. “Crow’s feet will first start to show up in some form in our late 20s, but usually settle in to become a more permanent fixture of our face in our late 30s. Both the skin and muscle in this area are very thin, and very prone to sun damage, dehydration and other damage. So it does not take much to create crepey skin in this area,” says Dr D’Anna.
How to prevent crow’s feet from forming
We’ve had it drilled into us time and time again: wear sunscreen every day. Sun exposure causes ageing, which includes wrinkles like crow’s feet. Nix the early signs of ageing with sun protection steps like wearing a hat, protective clothing, sunglasses (squinting permanently creases the corner of our eyes) and a high SPF sunscreen.
“Wear sunscreen every day and don’t rely on just the sunscreen in your makeup to protect this area,” says Dr D’Anna. “Daily application of a SPF30+ is perfect.” We like mesoestetic mesoprotech sun stick* because it’s perfect for everyday protection and is great for getting in around your eye area. Remember to always read the label and use only as directed.
Another simple way to prevent new lines from forming is to boost your skin’s moisture levels. Make sure you drink plenty of water and use moisturising eye care products morning and night to help hydrate and nourish the skin around your eyes. “Eye cream will really help to nourish and replenish the hydration levels around the eye. I love Cosmedix Opti Crystal Liquid Crystal Eye Serum - a tiny bit goes a long way and it is perfect for nighttime, too,” she adds. We also like endota Organics™ New Age Triple Defence Eye Cream because it’s packed with hydrating ingredients like cucumber extract, vitamin E, squalane and evening primrose oil.
You might also want to add overnight eye masks into your weekly routine to ensure your eye area remains ultra-hydrated and crease-free. “Not only do they hydrate the eye area, but they also help prevent your pillow from creasing or pulling at the skin,” says Dr D’Anna. Try Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask.
How to treat crow’s feet
According to Dr D’Anna, anti-wrinkle injections are one of the best and most effective ways to get rid of crow’s feet. Anti-wrinkle injections work by relaxing the muscle that causes crow’s feet to form. “This really is so effective with no downtime or very little in the way of risk. The treatment takes about 10 minutes to perform, and begins being effective within 48 hours,” says Dr D’Anna. “In some people it may take up to 14 days to be fully effective.”
While they don’t remove crow’s feet permanently, results usually last for three to four months. “I love performing a muscle brow lift for my patients. I love the effect of this as it makes the eye appear open, and you look and feel so awake,” says Dr D’Anna.
Skin tightening devices use radio frequency waves, which emit thermal energy deep into the skin. Not only does this treatment help tackle sagging of the skin, but it also works to soften and lift lines around your eyes. It uses radio frequency waves, which emit thermal energy deep into the skin. While you may be able to see a noticeable difference after one treatment, you usually have to undergo a course of sessions to see optimal results. “Skin tightening treatments can help prevent and lift droopy eyelids and tighten the skin around the eyes, too. The best treatment for you very much depends upon the condition that your skin around your eyes is in, your skin type, and your current skin care regimen. For the best advice, I would always recommend that you seek the advice of a dermal therapist.”
Laser resurfacing is another effective option for improving the appearance of crow’s feet. You can either get non-ablative laser (which targets the tissue, not the skin’s surface), or ablative laser (which removes the top layer of the skin and creates open wounds). The fractional lasers used in non-ablative lasers will use lower energy than ablative lasers, and treat the layers of the tissue under the skin without damaging the surface. The heat from the laser promotes collagen production, which helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes. With ablative laser treatments, the upper layers of your skin are removed to promote collagen production. The increased collagen production helps the skin around your eyes heal in a smooth and more even way. Downtime and results differ between treatments, so it’s best to chat to a dermatologist or dermal therapist about which one is right for you.
Chemical peels work to improve the appearance of crow’s feet by removing the outer layer of old skin to reveal new, smoother skin underneath. Great for overall skin rejuvenation, there are generally three different types of chemical peels – superficial peels, medium-depth peels and deep peels. The intensity, results and downtime involved is pretty different depending on which type of peel you get. However, your dermatologist will be able to examine your skin and help you choose the type of peel that’s right for you. Want to find out more? Check out our article on everything you need to know about chemical peels.
Microneedling treatments either use a dermaroller (which is like a handheld paint roller with tiny needles around the roller’s head), or an in-clinic device such as Dermapen, to create tiny punctures in the skin. These pinpricks cause your body to kickstart the skin’s healing mode, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. If you want to find out more about the treatment, check out our article on the benefits of microneedling.
Skin care products
If cosmetic procedures aren’t your thing, look for skin care products that plump up your skin. The best eye product for the job is one that contains peptides. Peptides are like a small chain of proteins that relax facial wrinkles and stimulate new cell growth – they’re kind of like a skin care version of injectables. We recommend checking out freezeframe REVITALEYES – it not only tackles wrinkles around the eyes, but also works to brighten the under-eye area (it contains vitamin C and an anti-dark circle peptide) as well as decongest and depuff under-eye bags.
Dr D’Anna says hydrating masks aren’t just good for preventing crow’s feet, they also help minimise the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes. “A really hydrating facial mask can help to hydrate and soften these tough lines. One I love is Aspect Hydrating Mask. It really helps to improve the skin, feeling so soft. When you look for a mask, it should contain hyaluronic acid, and also jojoba, too. Both are so nourishing for the skin.” We also like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque.
Looking for the best way to cover up expression lines and dark circles with makeup? Check out our article on the nifty tricks to disguise crow’s feet.
What’s your go-to treatment to tackle crow’s feet? Share with us in the comment section below.
* Contains active ingredients Bemotrizinol (7% w/w), Octyl methoxycinnamate (5% w/w), Ethylhexyl triazone (5% w/w), Homosalate (5% w/w), Octocrylene (5% w/w), Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (4,5% w/w). See pack for full ingredients list and detailed application instructions. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Wear protective clothing, hats and eyewear when exposed to the sun. Prolonged high-risk sun exposure should be avoided.
Main image credit: Getty
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.