What are Crow’s Feet?
Wondering how to get rid of crow’s-feet? You’re not alone.
Personally, I prefer to think of these worrisome wrinkles as laughter lines (and consider them a sign of a life well-lived). But if you aren’t quite sold on the whole ‘love your wrinkles’ spiel, that’s totally fine too.
Interested in softening your laughter lines a little?
So, first thing’s first, what are crow’s-feet? As Dr Targett explains, they are “the lines that occur on the sides of the eyes” (as opposed to other lines in this area, such as vertical lines between the eyes).
According to the expert, they are caused by “the contraction of the muscle underneath the skin”, which is round and goes all the way around the eye. When we make an expression, it contracts, pulling the skin with it and creating “a sort of concertina effect”. As we age, our skin loses collagen and hyaluronic acid and becomes weaker, which increases the effect.
Ageing is obviously a given, but what other factors can contribute to the development of crow’s-feet? According to Dr Targett, these are the ones to watch out for…
What Predisposes us to Crow’s Feet?
1. Your gender
According to Dr Dawes-Higgs, males tend to have a thicker muscle around the eye, which means the pulling effect on the skin in this area is greater, causing crow’s feet. Sorry, boys!
2. Sun exposure
The more time you spend outside, the more likely you are to develop crows feet. Dr Targett explains this is because the sun “weakens skin” and “reduces skin elasticity”, which means it won’t bounce back as easily after it bunches up.
Similarly, working outdoors can also be a contributing factor. As Dr Targett explains, “If you’re a lifesaver, for example, you’re squinting into the sun more,” resulting in a more-frequent pulling effect on the skin.
3. Weight loss
If you tend to lose weight easily from your face, you could be more prone to crow’s-feet. This is because “your skin loses fat,” says the expert, which in turn “makes your skin look less smooth and your lines look more obvious”.
4. Your general mood
It doesn’t seem fair, but smiling a lot can be a contributing factor. In the same way as when you squint, your eye muscles pull on the skin around your eyes. As Dr Dawes-Higgs explains, the sad irony of this is that “often the women who are happiest on the inside don’t look happy on the outside,” because of their wrinkles (which can make them look tired and/or sad instead).
Prevent Crow’s Feet from Forming (or at least slow down their development a little)
1. Sun protection
We’re talking a high-SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and avoiding sun exposure in the middle of the day.
If you’re worried about using sunscreen around your eyes, try an eye cream that contains SPF instead.
2. Don’t smoke
We all know the catastrophic effect smoking can have on our overall health, let alone on our skin, so this one probably goes without saying.
3. Use a moisturiser
According to Dr Dawes-Higgs, “just using a moisturiser” can make a world of difference. Try an eye cream which is formulated to strengthen and smooth the skin surrounding the delicate eye area, so it is less prone to crow’s feet.
4. Retinol and fruit acids
Already got crow’s feet? Don’t panic. Dr Targett says certain anti-ageing skin care ingredients can help reduce their appearance. Retinol and fruit acids are her top picks . Alternatively, the expert recommends trying “superficial peels, to help strengthen the skin structure”.
5. Anti-wrinkle injections
While some of us would prefer to get rid of crow’s feet without botox, anti-wrinkle injections are arguably the quickest and most effective treatment option. According to Dr Targett, they work by “stopping the communication between the nerve and the muscle around the eye”, which reduces the pulling effect on the skin lying above. Dr Targett says that “with the right injection and the right dose, you can get a natural result” and soften the appearance of crow’s feet.
How Does Botulinum Toxoid Work to Treat Crow’s Feet?
The presence of lines and fine wrinkles at the side of the eyes are easily solved with just a few small injections with botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxoid works to relax the muscles under the skin which are responsible for the creases. When treated at the hands of an experienced SkinViva doctor or dentists, the effect is that the lines are significantly reduced or will disappear completely. The effect is temporary but you can expect results to last 3 to 4 months before further treatment is recommended.
Achieving Natural Looking Results
The crow’s feet area is typically treated with an average dose of 4 – 20 units, for women, and 10 – 30 units for men. Dr Targett will make a plan with you and work out exactly how much the treatment will cost BEFORE you get treated, making sure you know exactly what is going on to help avoid any surprises.
We prefer a very “natural” look and believe we should still have some crow’s feet when we smile, to retain the “twinkle” of the eye smile. Botulinum Toxid can be used to keep crow’s feet under control by preventing them from getting worse over time. Dr Targett will be able to adjust the amount needed according to the amount of lines, the structure of your face and the way you smile, whilst still retaining natural movement and expression.