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The Blog How to Get Rid of Crow’s Feet and Eye Wrinkles

As we age, those pesky crow’s feet wrinkles start to appear at the outer corners of our eyes. While they’re a natural part of the ageing process, many of us would prefer to minimise their appearance. 

Fortunately, there are several effective treatments available to help reduce the appearance of crow’s feet. From topical treatments such as creams and serums to more visibly efficacious procedures like anti-wrinkle injections and laser resurfacing, here we’ll explore the various options for tackling that stubborn eye creasing. 

Let’s take a closer look at each approach, so you can decide which method aligns best with your goals. Say goodbye to crow’s feet and hello to a more youthful, radiant appearance around your eyes. 

What are crow's feet?

Crow’s feet, or eye wrinkles – the ones that radiate from the outer corners of the eyes – are an inevitable part of the ageing process for most people. 

As we grow older, our skin loses elasticity and moisture, making it more susceptible to creasing and wrinkling, particularly in areas that experience a lot of muscle movement like the eyes and mouth. 

Crow’s feet are often viewed as one of the first noticeable signs of facial ageing. For some, they are embraced as being symbolic of a life well-lived; full of expressions and emotions. 

But for many others, the appearance of crow’s feet is an instant giveaway to their diminishing youth, and prompts the use of anti-ageing creams, injectables like anti-wrinkle, laser treatments or other cosmetic procedures to minimise these prominent, telltale wrinkles. 

Why do crow's feet appear?

The main cause of crow’s feet is repeated squinting, smiling, laughing, and other expressions that crease the skin around the eyes over many years. 

Every time we smile, for example, the orbicularis oculi muscles around the eyes contract, creating temporary folds and lines. As skin loses elasticity with age, those temporary creases become etched more permanently into the surface as crow’s feet. 

While simply getting older is the primary factor, there are some lifestyle contributors that can accelerate the development of crow’s feet as well. Excessive sun exposure breaks down the skin’s collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for firmness and elasticity. 

Likewise, smoking impedes circulation and robs skin of vital nutrients. Dehydration and lack of quality sleep can also deprive skin of the rejuvenating mechanisms it needs to recover from daily creasing. 

Crow’s feet appear around the eyes primarily due to repeated muscle movements and a loss of elasticity in the skin as we age. 

Here are the main reasons why these wrinkles develop: 

Facial expressions and muscle use
The skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate. Every time we smile, squint, laugh or make other expressions, the orbicularis oculi muscles around the eyes contract and cause temporary creases and folds. Over many years of making these expressions, the creases eventually become etched into the skin as permanent crow’s feet wrinkles. 

Loss of elasticity
As we get older, our skin loses elasticity due to a decrease in collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin are proteins that keep skin firm, supple and able to bounce back into shape after being creased. With less of these proteins, the skin cannot properly rebound anymore after muscle movements, allowing creases to become permanent wrinkles. 

Sun exposure
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin at a faster rate. This accelerates the loss of elasticity and the formation of wrinkles, including crow’s feet around the eyes which are a common area of sun exposure. 

Smoking impairs circulation and robs skin of oxygen and nutrients like vitamin C that are vital for collagen production. This contributes to premature wrinkles and sagging skin. 

Inherited skin characteristics also play a role in the timing and prominence of when crow’s feet develop, as some people inherently have higher or lower collagen/elastin levels. 

Overall, it is the combination of muscle movements from expressions over time and the natural ageing process that causes these telltale wrinkles to appear.

How common are crow's feet?

Crow’s feet are one of the most commonly occurring facial wrinkles.  

This type of wrinkle is extremely common and a normal part of the ageing process that most people experience to some degree as they get older. 

In your 20s and 30s
Crow’s feet typically start becoming noticeable in this stage of life, though some develop them earlier or later depending on factors like skin type, sun exposure, and facial muscle usage. Particularly in Australia where UV exposure is extreme, a greater percentage of people in their 20s develop crow’s feet wrinkles. 

In your 40s and 50s
By this age, it’s estimated that over 60% of people have visible crow’s feet wrinkles and lines that have formed at the outer corners of their eyes.  

In your 60s
For this age group, the prevalence increases to around 80–90% of people having moderate to prominent crow’s feet wrinkles and facial lines. Crow’s feet wrinkles tend to be more pronounced in people with lighter skin tones compared to those with darker complexions. Excessive squinting, sunbathing without UV protection, smoking, and dehydration can all exacerbate and accelerate the formation of crow’s feet wrinkles. 

While the depth and prominence of crow’s feet vary from person to person based on genetics and lifestyle factors, most adults can expect to see crow’s feet as an unavoidable part of getting older. However, with a combination of skincare and cosmetic treatments, we can slow and delay the occurrence of eye wrinkles, and disguise or even temporarily erase their appearance. 

Are eye wrinkles more common in men or women?

Women are often more prone to developing deeper crow’s feet at an earlier age than men due to differences in facial structure and skin composition There’s also evidence suggesting women might express emotions more through eye movements than men do. 

Let’s take a closer look at why crow’s feet wrinkles tend to affect women more prominently and at an earlier age compared to men: 

Facial structure and skin differences
Women typically have smaller facial bone structure with less fatty tissue around the eyes. This means the thin, delicate eye area skin has less padding underneath when creating expressions. Additionally, women’s skin tends to be thinner overall with less collagen density. These facial structure and skin composition differences make women more prone to developing visible creases and lines around the eyes over time.  

Hormone changes
As women go through hormonal shifts like menopause, their oestrogen levels drop significantly. Oestrogen helps maintain skin elasticity and hydration. The decline in oestrogen leads to faster breakdown of collagen and elastin around the eyes, allowing crow’s feet to set in deeper. 

Increased facial expressions
Multiple studies have shown that women tend to smile, laugh, and animate their eyes/face more frequently than men on average when expressing emotions. This increased usage of the orbicularis oculi muscles around the eyes contributes to earlier and more pronounced crow’s feet wrinkles in women. 

Makeup habits
The process of applying and removing eye makeup can involve repetitive squinting, raising of the eyebrows, and tugging on the delicate eyelid skin over many years – motions that may enhance crow’s feet formation over time. 

Sun exposure
Some research indicates women may spend more time in direct sun exposure without proper protection, leading to increased photoaging and elasticity breakdown in the eye area skin from UV radiation. 

The combination of inherent facial structure differences, hormonal influences, expressive habits, some makeup practices, and potentially more sun exposure all contribute to women developing more prominent crow’s feet at an earlier age compared to their male counterparts – generally speaking. 

How to treat crow’s feet and eye wrinkles

Anti-wrinkle injections 

Anti-wrinkle injections for crow’s feet can prevent new wrinkles from developing as it prevents the muscles from repeatedly moving which causes wrinkles to form in the first place. 

Anti-wrinkle injections work to temporarily remove eye wrinkles by inhibiting activity of the muscle responsible for their formation. Once the product has been administered into the muscle underneath your skin, it works to ‘relax’ the facial muscle, temporarily preventing it from contracting and drawing your skin together to form a crease. The outer layer of the skin is then smoothened resulting in a visible reduction of lines. 

Laser resurfacing 

Skin resurfacing with fractional non-ablative laser, such as Fraxel, can take years off your appearance. Targeting fine lines, sun damage and pigmentation, this is a non-invasive, resurfacing laser therapy that creates a controlled micro-damage to your skin to encourage new collagen and elastin growth. 

By rejuvenating the skin at a cellular level and creating a regenerative effect for skin, the outer layers – where crow’s feet and other wrinkles show – can be smoothed and refreshed, reducing the severity of these lines. 

Chemical peels

This medical-grade skin treatment not only works to resurface the skin, revealing fresh and youthful skin with a smoother texture, but it also deeply hydrates the skin, which we all know is crucial to preventing lines and wrinkles. 

Chemical peels are most effective when you stick to a short course of peels – usually about 3 peels, each spaced a month apart. They work to activate collagen production and speed up skin cell turnover and renewal. This spurs a regenerative effect for the skin, which results in smoother, softer texture with a visible reduction in fine lines. 

Topical treatments

Topical treatments such as face creams, serums and other skincare products can help to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes through a few different mechanisms, such as:

Exfoliation and increased cell turnover. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or lactic acid help remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells. This exposes the fresher, smoother skin underneath and stimulates cell renewal for a more youthful appearance. Retinoids like retinol – or even better, retinal – also increase cell turnover. 

Collagen stimulation. Vitamin C serums, peptides, and retinoids can penetrate the skin and signal fibroblasts to produce more collagen. Increased collagen results in plumper, more elastic skin that is resistant to wrinkling. 

Hydration. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that draws moisture into the skin. Well-hydrated skin appears smoother and reduces the look of fine lines. Emollient ingredients like ceramides and fatty acids also hydrate. Choose a product specifically for eyes when targeting crow’s feet, as these will be formulated for the delicate skin in this area. 

Muscle relaxation. Anti-ageing creams with ingredients like acetyl hexapeptide-8 are designed to temporarily relax facial muscles and prevent them from creasing the skin as deeply when making expressions. 

UV protection. Applying broad spectrum sunscreen daily protects against further collagen or elastin breakdown from UV exposure that worsens crow’s feet. 

Keep in mind, topical treatments can only do so much for deep-set wrinkles. Their effects are relatively superficial compared to professional treatments.

Results also vary based on the quality of ingredients, skin type, and how consistently the products are used over time. Managing expectations is important; reducing crow’s feet with topical treatments alone is difficult once these lines have fully formed. 

Tips for preventing crow’s feet

  1. Limit your time in the sun
    Ultraviolet rays break down collagen and elastin, accelerating wrinkle formation. Minimise direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours, and wear protective clothing when possible.
  2. Wear a daily sunscreen
    Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your face every day, even when indoors, to shield skin from damaging UV rays.
  3. Stay hydrated and get plenty of exercise
    Proper hydration and circulation from exercise nourish skin cells and promote collagen production, helping maintain elasticity and delaying crow’s feet development. 
  4. No smoking or vaping
    Smoking and vaping restrict oxygen and nutrient flow to skin cells, leading to premature ageing and deeper wrinkles around the eyes over time.
  5. Keep a morning and nighttime skincare routine
    Gently cleanse, exfoliate, and apply targeted anti-ageing serums and moisturisers morning and night to support skin renewal and prevent environmental damage. 

As seen on

Contour Clinics on Ten
Contour Clinics on Cosmechix
Contour Clinics on OK! Mag
ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Contour Clinics on Stay At Home Mum
Contour Clinics on Triple J Hack
Contour Clinics on Costhetics
Contour Clinics on Phalloboards
Contour Clinics on Mums of the Shire

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