Ask the Expert: Can You Get Rid of Crow's Feet?
We’ve all gone through this: we look into the bathroom mirror one morning and find tiny, hair-thin lines surrounding our eyes. Although it may seem like it happened overnight, those small lines known as “crow’s feet” can gradually crease overtime, creating deep little wrinkles around your eyes that aren’t too hard to notice. While everybody has crow’s feet, some people have more apparent lines than others, which can make them look older than they truly are.
The good news: there’s hope! There are eye creams on the market that can help soften the appearance of eye wrinkles and crow’s feet. We tapped plastic surgeon, SkinCeuticals ambassador, and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Peter Schmid for answers. Read on to see if you can get rid of crow’s feet for once and for all—plus, our pick of the best eye creams for crow’s feet.
What Are Crow’s Feet?
Crow’s feet are often one of the first signs of skin aging that many of us experience—some of us even experience them as early as our late 20s and early 30s. This is because the skin around our eye area—called the eye contour—is the thinnest, making it more susceptible to internal and external factors that can cause signs of skin aging. Given the name because of their tell-tale appearance—fine lines clustered in the shape of a bird’s footprint—crow’s feet can first pop up as just a few faint lines, but with time, and neglect, may deepen.
What Causes Crow’s Feet?
We know you’re clutching with anticipation for an answer to your crow’s feet, but we should look at the causes of them first. “Lateral canthal lines, commonly known as the crow’s feet, are both dynamic (movement) or static (resting) wrinkles and lines,” says Dr. Schmid. “Dynamic muscle activity such as squinting serves to protect the eye from sunlight or foreign bodies, aid in focusing the sight better or reflect the emotions of happiness or pain. As ultraviolet light, environmental irritants, and the aging process take their toll, these delicate eye tissues lose collagen and elastin, eventually resolving in reduced tissue elasticity, irregularities, skin excess, wrinkles and folds.”
As Dr. Schmid explained, crow’s feet are often caused by repetitive motions of the eye skin, like squinting. They’re also expressive wrinkles that can give your face more personality when showing emotions. While we believe that everyone looks beautiful with their imperfections, we know that a lot of you would rather address your wrinkles. Additional contributing factors to crow’s feet can include:
UV Rays: UVA and UVB rays are typically the number one reason we wrinkle. These damaging rays break down the necessary collagen and elastin that gives youthful skin its plump-appearance and fast bounce-back rate. As those fibers break down wrinkles and sagging skin can start to appear. This is why wearing broad-spectrum SPF each day is so important. In fact, some eye creams are formulated with SPF so you can help to visibly diminish any existing fine lines while preventing new ones from forming.
Environmental Aggressors: Did you know that one of the leading causes of skin wrinkling is pollution? Pollution causes free radicals to form which—when separated from oxygen molecules—attach to and can breakdown collagen. Everything from city smog to second-hand smoke to car exhaust can lead to air pollution. To protect your skin, consider layering an antioxidant under your SPF each day. Antioxidants provide an alternate mate for the free oxygen radicals to latch on to—not to mention they can help you achieve radiant-looking skin!
Menopause: As if going through this life change wasn’t already bad enough—what with the hot flashes and the mood swings—did you know that menopause can also affect your skin? During menopause many women suddenly are deficient in their main estrogenic hormone, B-Estradiol. This deficiency can cause a break down in the supportive fat that lies beneath the skin’s surface, which can subsequently cause a sagging and wrinkled appearance.
Intrinsic Aging: While premature signs of skin aging are caused by external factors, intrinsic aging causes the signs of skin aging that occur simply by the passing of time. As we age our skin can lose moisture, it’s desquamation process (shedding of dead skin cells to reveal new) slows down, and the fibers necessary for youthful-looking, wrinkle-free skin can start to break down.
Preventing Crow’s Feet
While you can’t stop time from ticking or the sun from shining—and you certainly shouldn’t stop yourself from smiling—there are steps you can take to help reduce the likelihood that crow’s feet will prematurely make a mark on your skin. In addition to broad-spectrum SPF and antioxidants, you’ll want to incorporate a daily eye cream (that you can use at morning, a night, or both) into your skin care routine.
If your crow’s feet haven’t popped up just yet, you can take preventative measures to keep them at bay. “Preventing or minimizing the appearance of crow’s feet can be as simple as daily sun protection with broad spectrum SPF 50 such as the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense and the Physical Eye UV Defense, regular usage of polaroid eyewear and a medical grade skin care regimen that contains antioxidants,” says Dr. Schmid.
Can You Get Rid Of Crow’s Feet?
While there are ways to drastically reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, there aren’t really any ways to make them disappear completely. And that’s a good thing: because crow’s feet give expression to your face. So, embrace your beautiful crow’s feet the way they are!
But, if you feel like your fine lines are a little too noticeable and would like to reduce their appearance, there are definitely some steps you can take to help fade the look of eye wrinkles, according to Dr. Schmid. “The fundamental formula for crow’s feet reduction should always include quality topical skin care that rehydrates the skin, restores lipids and hyaluronic acid and minimizes wrinkles,” he says.
SKINCEUTICALS H.A. INTENSIFIER
To give your fragile skin the boost it needs, Dr. Schmid recommends using the SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, which acts as a multi-functional serum to help amplify your skin’s hyaluronic acid levels. The formula helps significantly reduce the look of crow’s feet, laugh lines, and marionette lines (those little lines that run from the corners of your mouth to your chin) while hydrating your skin for a smoother appearance and visibly improved texture.
SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, $98 MSRP
SKINCEUTICALS A.G.E. EYE COMPLEX
This three-dimensional eye cream is specially formulated to improve the visible effects of glycation around the eye area—read: the creping and sagging appearance of skin that often accompanies getting older—while simultaneously hydrating the delicate skin of your eye contour. Use once or twice daily to help improve the look of dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles.
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex, $96 MSRP