What are Crow's Feet and How to Treat Them?

I started to notice crow’s feet forming the day I turned 30. Although they were subtle, they were there. Most of us naturally start to feel and see signs of aging as we creep up on 30—unless you’re Paul Rudd. Maybe Chris Pratt was onto something when he asked him if he’s been drinking baby blood during an interview with Variety.

Anyways, if you’re like the rest of us mere mortals, let’s get into all the dirty deets surrounding crow’s feet including the best treatments, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them!

 crow's feet  

What are Crow's Feet?

To put it simply, crow’s feet are the pesty wrinkles that form around the outer corners of your eye area. They start off fine, but if left untreated can result in deep-set crevices.

But not all crow’s feet are the same! Dr. Carruther’s and team share that there are four different line patterns your crow’s feet can take. Depending on which pattern you have, your doctor should tweak your treatment plan accordingly.

How to treat Crow's Feet?

If you’re like me, and most other women, your crow’s feet bother you. A 2015 survey, found that of all skin aging concerns, 82% of women would want to treat their crow’s feet first! So, let’s get into it. Do you already have the appearance of lines around your eyes and want the best bet for getting rid of your crow’s feet all together?

For the most immediate impact, in office treatments are the way to go! Don’t worry if you’re a bit squeamish, they don’t all involve needles. Below are the top five best treatments for crow’s feet.

crow's feet treatment

Botox

Botox is injected into the muscles surrounding the eye area blocking the nerve signals that allow the muscles to contract. This relaxation dramatically reduces the appearance of crow’s feet. A 2016 study of over 1,300 participants with moderate to severe crow’s feet found that 30 days after 24 units of Botox, nearly 50% of patients had zero to mild appearance of crow’s feet!

Fillers

Another great injectable to get rid of crow’s feet are derma fillers, especially if your crow’s feet are caused by general aging and not so much dynamic, expressive wrinkles. They’re made from acids like hyaluronic acid, and quite literally fill in your wrinkles by restoring volume to your skin, aka plumping! They typically last for around a year.

botox

A study released last month, injected Nucleadyn into crow’s feet of 28 participants and was found to be extremely effective in getting rid of crow’s feet after 18 weeks of injection.

Microneedling

Dating back the early 1900’s, microneedling has had a major resurgence over the past several years and I couldn’t be happier because it makes a great crow’s feet eye treatment! This in-office treatment includes hundreds of tiny pinpricks creating microscopic tears in your skin. In reaction to the trauma your skin goes into overdrove producing collagen—your natural filler!

Acupuncture today shares that “a single treatment with a micro needle roller containing 192 micro needles can increase collagen production in the skin by an average of 206%!”

Lasers

There are two types of laser treatments that can treat crow’s feet: the fractional CO2 laser and the Fraxel. The CO2 laser is like microneedling on steroids. It creates tiny holes that penetrate into the deepest layer of your skin to stimulate collagen production.

laser treatment for crow's feet

The Fraxel is the closets non-surgery alternative to a facelift! Much like microneedling and the CO2 laser, it also works to create trauma to the skin to stimulate regeneration. This laser will feel more similar to a sunburn, but literally zap away your crow’s feet! Honestly, the powerful impact of the Fraxel on overall skin appearance, lift, and wrinkles makes it one of my favorite crow’s feet eye treatment and facial treatment in general!

Acid peels

You might already be using AHA’s and BHA’s in your regular skincare, if so—yay you! In-office acid peels take chemical exfoliation to the next level because your dermatologists can apply MUCH stronger concentrations of at-home acids.

The chemical peel will fully remove the top layer of dead skin revealing the more youthful, less wrinkled skin below!

What's the difference between fine lines and crow's feet?

This is a bit of a trick question because fine lines can play into crow’s feet, and in general increase the appearance of aging in the eye area. Fine lines are caused by general aging (loss of collagen, hydration, elasticity, etc.) and gravity whereas crow’s feet are a result of muscle movement. Much like the wrinkles you see in your forehead and around your mouth, crow’s feet are a result of every expression we make as humans. Laughing, smiling, and squinting are big player’s in causing crow’s feet.

what are crow's feet?

Kim K and Courtney Cox have both been quoted on the record for trying to limit the amount of expressive movement they make with their face to avoid wrinkles! It might sound crazy, but that’s exactly the point of Botox. It semi-paralyses your muscles to soften your facial expressions and voila! Less wrinkles!

How to prevent Crow's feet?

As you probably already know prevention is ALWAYS easier than correction, so if you hate your crow’s feet, check out the tips below to prevent them from worsening!

Some of my favorite dermatologists and nurse practitioners have told me that if I’m not going to be consistent with an effective skincare routine, then I’m just throwing away money on in-office treatments. Harsh, but true! Below are my fave skincare ingredients to prevent crow’s feet and premature aging in general.

  • Retinol: I won’t harp on retinol too much because there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before, but retinol is a hero ingredient because it encourages collagen production, increases skin’s elasticity and cell turnover!
  • Vitamin C: Another absolute superstar when it comes to anti-aging skincare, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reverse sun damage. Aka, reverse wrinkles! Enough said.

    how to minimize fine lines
  • SPF: Photoaging causes something like 80% of all aging. If you don’t do any other skincare, at least wear a 50+ SPF every day! If your eye area is sensitive to your regular sunscreen, many brands make SPF specially formulated for your eye area.
  • Topical botulinum toxin: Yes, topical Botox is a thing now! With the advances in nanotechnology, Botox can be applied on the skin and produce the same results as injected Botox. Collins shares that the topical Botox is actually most effective on crow’s feet!

As with anything, a holistic approach really is best way to go. So, I’ve compiled a list of lifestyle habits to help keep your crow’s feet at bay. I know I’m going to be very extra with all of these tips below, but even if you choose just a couple your future self will thank you!

  • Sunglasses: You’re probably starting to see a trend—avoiding and reversing sun damage is key to preventing wrinkles! A bonus is that wearing sunglasses reduces squinting, so this tip tackles crow’s feet from two angles.
  • Blue Light Blockers on Screens: Studies are starting to find that the blue light rays from our screens is causing similar damage that UV rays cause. Simply put your screens into blue light filter mode and buy blue light shields for your laptops, tablets and phones if possible!
  • Diet & Exercise: Eating a wide range of vegetables, fruits and foods provides all types of nutrients like antioxidants, omega-3’s, zinc and more which help maintain healthy, youthful skin! Research has also shown that exercising can help your skin produce collagen and hyaluronic acid.
  • Sleep on your back: You would be AMAZED at how many wrinkles regularly sleeping on your side or stomach can cause, and it makes sense. You’re pulling your skin in unnatural directions for up to 8 hours a night! Over time that seriously adds up and produces all types of wrinkles including crow’s feet!
  • Use a silk pillowcase: Okay so if you can’t sleep on your back and you’re never going to be a back sleeper (I get it, I’m not either!) you can use a silk pillowcase to help minimize the amount of friction and pulling your skin goes through at night. Some people also say it helps minimize the amount of moisture your skin and hair lose and prevents hair breakage.
  • Be Gentle When Touching Your Skin: Think: washing your face, removing eye makeup, drying your face, applying skincare. I cringe when I watch my husband abrasively touch his face—that’s a no no! You want to use gentle pressure to again prevent unnecessary friction and pulling of your skin. Over time your skin won’t snap back as quickly.

How to conceal crow's feet?

You might be feeling a bit defeated if you were looking for an overnight solution, but don’t worry! I’ve done some research and found some ways that you can help minimize and conceal your crow’s feet tomorrow morning while you’re getting ready. Below are my two favorite tricks:

  • Use Silicone Patches

There are several different medical grade silicone patches on the market created just for the crow’s feet area. Ideally, you’ll apply them before you go to sleep, but even if you only have 30-minutes to an hour in the morning they can subtly improve the appearance of your crow’s feet.

They work by pulling moisture up to the top layer of your skin resulting in a more plump, youthful look and some additional volume to fill your fine lines and wrinkles.

to treat wrinkles around eyes

  • Avoid Heavy Concealer and Foundation

You might be tempted to slather on makeup to hide your “problem areas”, but too much concealer and foundation can settle into your crow’s feet and have the exact opposite effect you’re striving for! Powder foundations especially are a huge no!

Aim for a lightweight, hydrating, liquid foundation—ideally one with hyaluronic acid—to help refresh your skin and restore some lost volume.

Like with any skincare routine, crow’s feet are very personal and unique, and your treatment plan should reflect that. So, whether you’re comfortable with a more aggressive approach, or want to stick with a natural treatment for your crow’s feet, there’s no wrong answer!