It was bound to happen.
Yousee a picture of yourself smiling in a group photo, when you spot them.
You tell yourself, “No, this can’t be happening. Not to me, I’m too young. I still have years ahead of me.”
Then you zoom in, and horror descends over you as those tiny lines confirm what you never deigned to believe could be true. You have……
While crow’s feet are a totally natural part of the aging process for pretty much every human being who ever lived, when they start showing up around your eyes at a young age, they can seem like they add years to your face.
A 2006 study by Aveeno found that 84% of women notice wrinkles around their eyes as the first signs of aging.
Don’t fret, dear friends. I’m here to get to the bottom of those pesky little wrinkles and share my favorite tips to ward off their visit for a little longer.
Exactly what are crow’s feet, and what causes them?
Crow’s feet are the fine lines and wrinkles that branch out from the outer corners of your eyes toward your temples.
Facial wrinkles can be broken down into two types:
Static Wrinkles – These are the wrinkles that happen over time due to gravity and the loss of fat, collagen and hyaluronic acid, all of which are responsible for providing volume and structure to your face. Hey volumizers, how come you get to knock off early?
Also, like your favorite bathing suit, your skin loses elasticity with age (So long, bikini bottoms. You served us well). Static wrinkles, or what we would simply call “ageing,” occur naturally regardless of how or how much you move your face.
Dynamic Wrinkles – Speaking of facial movements, that’s how these wrinkles are formed. Dynamic wrinkles are the result of repeated facial movements like squinting, smiling or furrowing your brow.
When you contract your facial muscles to, say, express joy over the fact that those shoes you ordered online come with free shipping, your skin stretches to assist. When you’re young, your skin has more elasticity so it bounces right back. As we get older, our skin (much like our bodies after a rough night) don’t bounce back as easily, and dynamic wrinkles stick around.
The skin around the eyes is quite thin, so it tends to lose collagen and elasticity first.
Also, there are less sebaceous glands around your eyes. Researchers at the Kagoshima University and the Jichi Medical University in Japan found in a 2015 study that skin with less of these oil-secreting glands reveal wrinkles more dramatically.
The top section of this image (B) shows thin skin with a larger number of oil-secreting glands resulting in shallower wrinkles. The bottom image (C) shows deeper wrinkles forming in thin skin- much like the skin around your eyes – with smaller glands.
This is how crow’s feet are born.
So, you’re saying I should stop smiling?
Yes. In fact, stop moving your face altogether. (Read: sarcasm).
Absolutely not! We should all be smiling and laughing as much as possible. When you move your face to make expressions over and over throughout your life, these repeated motions will eventually form creases in your skin. So if you plan on being a functional person who interacts with other functional humans and enjoys life, you can’t avoid it happening to some degree.
And, if you think you can cheat the system by trying to limit your facial movements, it also happens while you sleep, smarty pants.
But I’m still young. Why do I already have crow’s feet?
Actually, most people start noticing the presence of crow’s feet in their mid to late 20’s.
Also, many of us don’t put sunblock around our eyes because of the burning sunscreen can cause. If you’ve ever been caught in that sandy hands plus burning watering eyes combo, I feel your pain, sister.
But, don’t worry. There are some measures you can take to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and things you can do to prevent them from getting worse.
My Tips to Send Crow’s Feet Walking
Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Make sure to use your SPF especially one made for the delicate area around eyes.
Pro tip for applying sunscreen around the eyes:
Apply on the orbital bone below the eye (think about where you put eye concealer). Products, including sunscreen, generally absorb quickly into the eye area. Only a small amount is needed for absorption.
SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 provides broad spectrum sun protection and is formulated to avoid irritation so it won’t get into your eyes and set them on fire. It goes on smoothly and includes a universal tint to unify the skin tone around your eyes and cheeks.
If you have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation, look for physical or mineral-based sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. This Coola Mineral Matte Face SPF 30 Cucumber Sunblock is great for all over face and neck sun protection. It is chemical free and offers a silky, matte finish.
Another double whammy option is to use a concealer that includes SPF protection.
This one is one of my favorites. Image Skincare Conceal Flawless Foundation SPF30 is a concealer/foundation hybrid that contains sun protection and helps defend skin against free radical damage and signs of ageing. It’s also a lightweight formula that offers amazing coverage.
Also, get a pair of good sunglasses preferably with UV protective lenses. Rocking your sunnies will not only protect your eyes, it will cut down your squintability factor. Wearing a chic wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes on sunny days will help too!
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. (Not sorry.)
But seriously, make sure you’re keeping the delicate skin around your eyes from drying out. As we learned, there aren’t many oil-producing glands in that area, so thin skin is more vulnerable to wrinkles.
And it’s never too soon to start! If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to use eye cream. The best way to dodge premature eye wrinkles is to prevent them altogether.
I, personally, started wearing eye cream when I was 20, and I highly recommend doing the same. Future you will thank your young self for being wise beyond your years!
Pro tip for applying eye cream:
Apply a pea-sized amount under on the side of each eye and gently spread over skin using your ring finger. Careful not to allow eye products to spread on cheeks as they could cause irritation or even a pimple to pop up!
I also recommend making eye cream part of both your morning and evening skin routines. Apply after your daily and nightly moisturizer for max benefits.
When skin around the eyes becomes dried out, using products that contain hylaronic acid, which is a natural water binder found in our skin cells, can help rehydrate skin and reduce fine lines around our eyes.
My Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum contains hylaronic acid to bind moisture to skin and providing 10x the hydration! Skin is plumped and fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. I love this serum, and I’m so glad I get to share it with you!
We need to make sure that our skin gets moisture from the inside as well.
When we’re dehydrated, we get fatigued and this can definitely show up around our eyes. Plus, under-hydrated skin allows fine lines and wrinkles to become more apparent because your body will suck moisture from your tissues in an attempt to balance hydration.
Consult the handy dandy chart below or use an online hydration calculator to estimate how much water you should be drinking. There are even apps you can download on your phone to track your water consumption and send you reminders to meet your H2O goals.
Using a light exfoliator around the eyes sheds dead skin and encourages new cells to form. These plucky young cells provide your skin with more volume which fills wrinkles.
For the delicate skin around your gorgeous eyes. I recommend treatments that remove dead skin cells gently with ingredients such as chemical peels or enzymes, rather than physical scrubs
Eminence Organics Naseberry Eye Exfoliant is great for sensitive eye skin and offers gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and impurities. It also soothes irritation and redness and removes dark circles and puffiness. It is truly a bestie for your eyes.
Discovering crow’s feet around your eyes at a young age could be upsetting, but there are some things you can do to reduce their appearance.
We should also remember that crow’s feet, or laugh lines, are the lasting result of every time we’ve smiled and giggled or cracked up. They’re like little joy badges.
So whether you choose to minimize your crow’s feet, or let them wrinkle for all to see, you can keep smiling with confidence knowing that you are beautiful!
What are some of your favorite ways to treat crow’s feet? Share them in the comments section!