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The eyes are the windows to the soul. They’re also one of the most delicate areas of the face, and one of the first spots that you’ll see signs of aging a.k.a crow’s feet.
Crow’s feet are perfectly normal - and a natural sign of aging - but, while some women choose to embrace their lines, others want to turn back the clock. Here are the products and tricks that really work.
To know how to treat crow’s feet, it’s important to first understand where they come from and why they develop.
Crow’s feet develop over time when the orbicularis oculi muscle - or the circular muscle around the eyes - contracts over time as we smile, laugh, squint, or frown. Ultimately, this causes pull lines in the skin, and these lines get deeper over time. On top of that, the skin around the eyes is thinner and susceptible to environmental damage, and it has fewer oil glands, which makes the skin drier and less moisturized. In other words, it’s the perfect wrinkle-creating storm.
More generally, though, keep in mind that wrinkles form from repetitive actions, which weaken collagen and elastin fibers in the skin over time. Plus, we naturally produce less collagen and elastin as we age.
Once crow’s feet really set in the face, they can be hard to get rid of with topical products. That’s why the most effective - and least expensive - course of action is prevention.
To this end, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Botox can be used for preventative treatment of crow’s feet. Since it keeps the muscles from contracting, it can prevent lines from deepening over time. That said, it doesn’t address the lack of volume or collagen. This is where fillers can come into play since your doctor can add collagen directly into the skin.
Plus, keep in mind that needles aren’t the only way! If you’re skittish with getting injected - or you just don’t want to get poked - you can apply botulinum toxin
(aka botox) topically for the same results.
Regular exfoliation is also great for both preventing crow’s feet and minimizing any small lines that have already formed. The reason here is simple: exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, helping to reveal fresher, smoother skin underneath.
Here, you have two main options: chemical exfoliation and physical exfoliation. On the chemical side, the best option is glycolic acid.It’s widely studied and recognized as the most effective AHA, and regular exfoliation with glycolic acid can actually add volume to the dermis (you can find it in a brightening cleanseror a concentrated serum here).
When it comes to physical exfoliation, remember to choose your particles wisely. Many popular scrub particles - like walnut shells and apricot pits - can actually cause microtears in the skin, which can exacerbate acne, redness, and inflammation. Equally as bad, microbeads found in many pharmacy brands wash into waterways, majorly harming fish and the environment.
That’s why you need to look for a physical exfoliant with skin-friendly, environmentally safe ingredients like:
Collagen is a super important protein that’s necessary for skin health, joint health, and movement. As our skin ages, it loses both elastin (stretch) and collagen. This, combined with repetitive movements like blinking, squinting, or smiling is a major cause of fine lines and crow’s feet.
Replacing this collagen, then, can help turn back the clock. Here, look for ingredients like Matrixyl 3000.
Peptides are proteins found naturally in skin that communicate with cells to trigger collagen production. When topical skincare peptides are applied, they signal your body to produce new collagen. This minimizes wrinkles and plumps skin. Look, specifically, for the anti-aging peptide Matrixyl 3000. It’s composed of two proteins that can trigger the formation of several important skin components, including elastin and collagen.
Once crow’s feet develop, one thing that can really help is skin tightening. This can be accomplished using radiofrequency devices. These emit radiofrequency waves - or thermal energy - deep into the skin, which increases circulation around the eyes and ultimately visibly reduces the appearance of crow’s feet.
A whopping 90% of age-related skin damage and changes to the skin - including fine lines and wrinkles - is caused by UV-related damage. 90%! So the best thing you can do to combat that damage is protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
That’s right, we’re talking about sunscreen. As a rule of thumb, you should look for a sunscreen that’s:
And of course, don’t forget about sunglasses to physically block UV rays and prevent squinting.
7. Try Microneedling
Lastly, if you’re looking for a solution you can find in the dermatologist’s office, consider microneedling. By making microholes in the skin, microneedling actually stimulates collagen production, thereby minimizing the appearance of fine lines.
Alternatively - or for deeper lines - you could try lasers like Fraxel.