Causes of Crow's Feet & What Can Be Done About Them

What are crow’s feet? They’re those pesky little lines that start at the outer corner of the eyes and branch out like rays of the sun. Some people call them “smile or laugh lines” or “character lines” that have been etched onto their face through years of living, but no matter what you call them, they’re generally perceived as a sign of aging and they’re something that a lot of us can easily live without.

Crow’s feet are classified as static or dynamic. Static crow’s feet are always on the face as if they’re etched in stone. They’re there no matter what, even if you’re sleeping. On the other hand, dynamic crow’s feet appear with muscle movement. For example, if you smile or squint, the lines appear but as soon as you relax the face they soften.

What Causes Crow’s Feet?

Crow’s feet are caused by genetic and lifestyle factors, including:

  • Sun exposure: Too much sun exposure will affect skin elasticity, leading to premature aging. If you want to avoid having your dynamic crow’s feet turn into static wrinkles sooner than later, you’ll want to load up on sunscreen before you expose your face to the sun.
  • Squinting: Let’s face it, everyone squints. We squint when the sun is in our eyes, when we’re trying to read small print, and when we’re laughing. These facial expressions are a normal part of everyday life, but repeated squinting will cause dynamic wrinkles to develop into static ones.
  • Smoking: Aside from increasing our risk for a number of diseases, including cancer, smoking also damages the collagen and elastin in the skin around the eyes. Not only that, but this unhealthy habit also deprives the skin of oxygen. So, there’s no way around it. If you want to slow down the aging process, your only option is to quit.
  • Estrogen: When a women goes into menopause; her estrogen levels can decline. Since estrogen helps maintain skin’s collagen and elastin levels, menopause can compromise the skin’s elasticity, causing crow’s feet to become deeper. If you’re going through menopause, you may want to ask your doctor about hormone therapy, which could help combat the effects of low estrogen.

What can you do? To start, make sure you eat a clean diet and drink plenty of water. To follow a good anti-aging skincare routine, be sure to wash your face daily, exfoliate regularly, wear sunscreen, and invest in a quality retinol eye cream. But there’s only so far that a good diet and skincare routine will take you.

Depending on how pronounced your crow’s feet are, non-surgical treatments like laser resurfacing or injectables like Botox or Dysport should do the trick. To learn which “tool” is right for you, we invite you to contact us to meet with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Yuly Gorodisky.

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