Crow’s feet are the wrinkles that form on your temple and cheek around your eyes. The best advice I have about crow’s feet, or any wrinkles for that matter, is to put off getting them for as long as possible. All wrinkles can be improved with cosmetics, but the more winkles you have, the more difficult and expensive it is to improve them.
- The most important thing you can do to minimize crow’s feet is avoid squinting. Contracting the large muscles around your eyes is a significant cause of these wrinkles. The more you contract these muscles the more your crow’s feet will develop (you can see clearly in this picture). The best way to avoid squinting is to always wear sunglasses when outdoors, even when it’s cloudy.
- Because ultraviolet light damages your skin’s delicate collagen, avoid excess sun exposure. Always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB light. UVA, the ultraviolet light responsible for winkles, passes though car windows. When you think about all the hours you spent driving, you’ll realize it’s a lot of time to make your crow’s feet worse.
- Unfortunately, you don’t have to be a lifeguard to develop crow’s feet. Most women (and men) don’t realize that they are squinting for eight hours a day at their desk. Be sure there is no glare on your computer monitor and that your glasses or contacts are the optimal prescription for you.
- And of course, don’t smoke. Ever. Smoking not only damages collagen, but also causes you to squint to keep irritating smoke out of your eyes.
If you are reading this post and you already look like the woman in the picture, then don’t despair, even the worst crow’s feet can be improved.
- There are countless creams that promise to smooth your crow’s feet, but few (if any) really deliver. My advice: don’t spend hundreds of dollars on super antioxidant creams. Antioxidants don’t treat wrinkles, they help prevent them and there are much cheaper ways to do that.
- Remember that all winkles look worse when the skin is dry and dull. Because of that, any cream that brings moisture into your skin and gives you a healthy glow will make your crow’s feet look better, even if they don’t actually treat the wrinkles. Find a moisturizer you like (I often recommend Olay Regenerist Eye Cream for about $17) and use it everyday for two weeks. This alone can give you results as good as a salon, but for a lot less money and effort. If you don’t believe me, then grab your digital camera and take a few before and after pictures of yourself. You’ll be amazed at how good a little moisturizing cream is at treating wrinkles.
- The one class of cosmetic ingredients that might be worth paying for are retinoids. Topical retinoids help crow’s feet by inducing new collagen growth in the skin. They are available in over the counter creams labeled as retinol and in stronger prescription strength creams such as tretinoin or Renova©.
- The most efficient way to treat crow’s feet though, is with Botox®. Botox works by weakening the obicularis orbis muscle. Because you cannot contract this muscle, the crow’s feet wrinkles won’t appear. This both minimizes the wrinkles you have and prevents new wrinkles from forming.
- Injectable fillers can also be used to plump up the crow’s feet lines, smoothing them out. They are good for crow’s feet that are visible when your face is relaxed and work best when used in conjunction with Botox.
- Lastly, surgical treatments such as chemical peels and lasers can improve crow’s feet by inducing a regrowth of collagen. Remember that a treatment that has minimal side effects (redness and peeling) will also have minimal results. Deep chemical peels and deep laser treatments give the most dramatic results, but also have the highest risk of side effects; often a week or more out of work is needed to allow your face to heal.
This post is written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD and is protected by Creative Commons Copyright.
Photo credit: Wendy House