The term crow’s feet is used to describe little wrinkles on both sides of the eyes. It is also referred to as ‘laugh lines’. Think of the number of times the fragile skin surrounding your eyes have been hit by the intense and harsh rays of the sun or how many times it has contracted when you smile or squint and still stood firm. With time your skin succumbs to nature’s toll on it and starts to wrinkle. Soft and fragile body parts have less collagen, therefore they tend to shrink and wrinkle first. Since the skin surrounding your eyes fall into this category, it will develop lines first.
When you smile, you will notice lines from the sides of your eyes to your forehead. If those lines disappear after smiling, they are just smile lines. If they remain even when you are not smiling, then you have crow’s feet. This is a common occurrence in people between 35-40 years, though it may occur earlier in some people.
The Major Causes of Crow’s Feet
Smiling: It is possible to smile repeatedly in few minutes, if you are happy or in a good mood. You can’t keep tabs on the number of times you smile per day. People smile differently. Some smile with their entire face muscle while others smile mostly with their eyes thus stressing the eye muscle. Those who smile often with their eye muscle, develop crow’s feet earlier than those who don’t. This is due to the constant contraction of the eye muscle.
Squinting: If you do not notice the tension in the surrounding eye muscles when you smile, you will definitely notice the strain when you squint. It is common for people to squint under sun or whenever they cannot see well. Continuous squinting leads to continuous contraction of the skin on the sides of the eyes. The harsh sun strips the fragile skin surrounding the eyes of moisture. These actions cause wrinkles and lines around the eye.
Sleeping: You may have noticed sleep lines on your face when you wake up. This is caused by the pressure exerted by the sheets on your skin. Sleeping on your face will give your face sleep lines and wrinkles. As your skin gets pulled on the pillow case, creases and folds occur.
Hormones: This is a very important factor in crow’s feet development. It cannot be controlled and will surely manifest. If you are from a family with a record of early wrinkling and aging, there is little you can do to change that. Crows feet is the beginning of the aging process on the face. You can only try to minimize it or go through cosmetic procedures that will diminish it.
How to Prevent Crow’s Feet
Crow’s feet is inevitable as you age, there is no getting around it. You may be able to delay it or diminish its appearance. However the following preventive measures can be taken to avoid the early occurrence of this wrinkle;
- Wear wide-brimmed hats to keep sun rays away from your eye region whenever you are under the sun.
- Wear sunglasses with shielded sides if you must step out under the sun.
- Use eye creams or sunscreens (specially made for the eye) daily, especially if you will be under the sun for the day.
- Wear glasses or contacts to help you see clearly and prevent squinting.
- Try not to touch, pull or rub the delicate skin surrounding your eyes.
- Remove eye make-up each night with specially formulated make-up remover mild on the skin beside the eye.
- Smokers develop crow’s feet early. Do not smoke if want to delay it. You should consider quitting if you smoke.
- Avoid smoke-filled rooms. If for any reason you have to be in such rooms, do not spend much time there.
- Engage in daily facial exercises. They generally reduce facial tension, make the face more relaxed and prevent early crow’s feet.
- Eat antioxidant rich foods and fruits. They prevent excessive oxidation due to free radical movement. They repair the skin and delay aging by preventing the occurrence of lines and wrinkles on the skin.
- Avoid foods that contain lots of simple sugars and fat. They lead to quick skin damage and unnecessary skin folds.
- Drink lots of water daily to avoid dehydration. The skin creases and wrinkles when dehydrated. If you must drink coffee, make sure to increase your water intake as coffee depletes the skin’s moisture.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a strong diuretic that strips the body of moisture, leaving it dried and wrinkled. Occasional red wine is safe as it contains a good level of antioxidants.
- Try to sleep for 6-8 hours daily to minimize the effects of hormones which cause stress in the body. If you are constantly subjected to stress, your skin will wrinkle easily starting with the fragile skin parts e.g. skin surrounding the eyes. A good sleep also increases the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a very strong hormone that repairs damaged skin and helps maintain skin elasticity.
How to Treat Crow’s Feet
Crow’s feet is something to embrace as you age. However it becomes worrisome when it comes early or becomes very pronounced. It can be treated in the following ways;
Use topical creams: Prescription and over-the-counter topical creams are used to treat and manage crow’s feet. Tretinoin is used to fight wrinkles as it stimulates new skin production. Many moisturizers are also effective against crow’s feet. They keep the skin hydrated, preventing early and unnecessary wrinkling of the eye skin. Using exfoliating creams remove the outer dead skin, leaving the new smooth skin without folds or wrinkles. These creams can only treat moderate crow’s feet but will only improve severe ones slightly.
Botox: This treatment is effective against early crow’s feet in people aged 30-50 years. It is not effective on deep eye wrinkles in older patients. Botox is injected directly into surrounding eye skin with a small needle. It makes the skin muscle relax and prevent contraction. This reduces the appearance of wrinkles and can even make them disappear completely. Botox will stop you from making facial expressions. The effect can last up to 3months.
Chemical peels: Crow’s feet can be improved by chemical peels. They promote younger and healthier skin with a suppler look. Chemical peels come as superficial, medium-depth or deep peels. When placed on the face it removes the outer layer of the old skin, leaving behind a smooth skin surface.
Dermal filters: Like botox, dermal filters can be injected into the skin with a small needle. There are different filters with some lasting more than others. Dermal filters are more effective against static crow’s feet that are visible even when the face is at rest. Consult your doctor to know which filter is best for you. The effects of dermal filters can last from 3-12 months or more.
Laser resurfacing: This removes the outer layer of the skin to reveal the smooth skin beneath it. Laser treatment is very effective for crow’s feet as it heats up several skin layers promoting collagen production. This is a serious process and is best performed by professionals with proper knowledge of the procedure. The effect can last up to 10 years. To achieve the best result, this procedure may be combined with botox.
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