Preventing Crow’s Feet

The tiny lines that develop in the corners of the eyes—commonly known as crow’s-feet—are one of the first visible signs of the aging process. In fact, eye area concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, dehydration and pigmentation often reveal a person’s age before the rest of the face.

Natural facial expressions are one of the main contributors to crow’s-feet; thus, they are largely unavoidable. Caused by tiny muscle contractions that occur as we smile, laugh and squint, crow’s-feet eventually settle around the eyes and deepen as these movements are repeated over time.

Extrinsic factors such as environmental pollutants, sun exposure and smoking all weaken collagen and elastin, the integral parts of the skin’s support structure that keep it smooth and firm. As collagen and elastin are depleted, the skin loses its elasticity and tiny lines become more pronounced.

When it comes to crow’s-feet prevention, sunscreen is a crucial first line of defense. The right sunscreen won’t irritate the sensitive skin around the eyes, and should contain ingredients like growth factors to enhance skin appearance and antioxidants to guard against free radical damage.

Every patient ages differently, and we customize our care based on their concerns. Though many patients often wish to concentrate treatment on the eye area, we can often achieve a more youthful-looking result by treating the entire face. For example, a series of professional chemical peels can address both crow’s-feet and hyperpigmentation all over the face, giving the skin increased clarity and an overall youthful appearance.

Daily use of a moisturizing eye cream helps keep the fragile area around the eyes hydrated and supple. I recommend SkinMedica’s TNS Eye Repair®, which contains a blend of growth factors and peptides that work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

At our office, we use Dysport to open up the eye area and give patients a refreshed look. When properly injected, neurotoxins like Dysport and Botox paralyze the muscle contractions that cause wrinkling; however, new muscles can still work, allowing the eyes to maintain their expression so the face doesn’t look frozen.

We have also had success with Thermage, a skin tightening procedure that uses radiofrequency to heat deep layers of the skin and stimulate collagen production. With its specially designed hand-piece and small tip, Thermage can safely be used all around the eye area and offers significant improvement in crow’s-feet with very little downtime.

Take smart and easy precautions to protect the fragile skin around your eyes: Apply (and reapply) sunscreen, wear proper sunglasses that are large enough to protect the periorbital area and last, learn to embrace your lines—you’ve earned them!