Sometimes called smile lines, crow's feet are the wrinkles that appear around your eyes when you smile.
While some people don’t like the look of crow’s feet on their skin, we like to think that crow’s feet are the badge of a happy person – since crow’s feet around the eyes are often created when you smile and laugh.
In this article, we will review what crow’s feet are, how you get them, and how to minimize crow’s feet around the eyes if that’s an area that concerns you.
What are Crow's Feet?
Crow's feet, also known as smile lines, are the wrinkles that form around the corners of the eyes. They are caused by repeated muscle contraction.
Crow’s feet are a natural part of aging and occur in many people over the age of 30. Of course, many factors can contribute to how pronounced the fine lines around the eyes become.
In general, as you age, your skin does not produce as much collagen and elastin fibers. This loss of elasticity can make fine lines and wrinkles in the skin more pronounced.
Many lifestyle factors can exacerbate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Some detrimental lifestyle factors include lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and smoking which depletes collagen levels in your skin. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause puffiness and sagging under the eyes which can also contribute to crow’s feet around the eyes.
The best way to fight crow’s feet is through preventative measures like avoiding prolonged exposure to sunlight and using moisturizer and sunscreen every day!
Crow's Feet vs. Smile Lines
Sometimes people refer to crow’s feet as smile lines because they are created when you grin and laugh.
However, smile lines more often refer to the nasolabial folds extending from the nostrils to the corners of the mouth. Smile lines are also created when you smile, laugh, and talk.
Dynamic Lines vs. Static Wrinkles
Crow’s feet and smile lines are both created by facial expressions or dynamic movements of the face – often smiling, laughing, and talking.
Over years of repeated movements – and the natural loss of collagen and elastin in the skin – dynamic lines caused by facial movement can become etched into the skin as fine lines and wrinkles. The lines that are seen in the surface of your skin when your face is at rest are called static wrinkles.
As mentioned above, age-related changes in the skin make static wrinkles around the eyes more common with advanced years. In addition, there are many other factors that can contribute to your skin holding onto dynamic lines as static wrinkles.
Lifestyle factors contribute to the premature breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. What you eat, drink, and apply to your skin can affect the texture of your skin – no matter what your age.
How the Skin Around the Eyes is Different
Even though your skin is one continuous organ, the skin’s structure changes in different areas of your body.
In contrast, the skin of your eyelids is only a few cells thick. In addition, the skin around the eyes lacks oil glads leaving the delicate eye skin more prone to dryness.
Because the skin around the eyes does not produce the same moisturizing and protective oils and it is the thinnest skin of the body, the skin around the eyes may show degenerative changes sooner than other areas of the face and body.
How to Smooth Crow’s Feet
Many people – and some dermatologists – will tell you that the only way to treat crow’s feet around the eyes is with Botox.
Botox works by using a neurotoxin to paralyze the muscles around the eyes. Since the muscles cannot contract while smiling or laughing, dynamic lines of facial expressions are not formed.
However, some people may be wary of injections so close to their eyes. Other people feel that the lack of dynamic lines during facial expressions looks unnatural.
Fortunately, there are less invasive treatments for crow’s feet around the eyes.
Best Skincare for Crow’s Feet
Not all skincare products are suitable to be used around the eyes.
For example, retinols and products with added fragrance can be irritating to the thin skin around the eyes. Look for products that are specifically formulated to be used around the eyes.
When trying new skincare products and eye creams, start slowly over the course of a few days to a week to see how your skin may react. Consult with your dermatologist if necessary.
Fortunately, Frownies has a few gentle, plant-based products that were created specifically to address your concerns around the eyes.
Frownies Facial Patches for Corners of the Mouth and Eyes
Frownies Facial Patches are wrinkle patches made with unbleaced craft paper with a water-actived, plant-based adhesive.
The most popular facial patches are Frownies Facial Patches for the Forehead and Between the Eyes. However, Frownies also makes Frownies Facial Patches for the Corners of the Eyes and Mouth.
Frownies Facial Patches for the Corners of the Eyes and Mouth are the same formula as the original wrinkle patches, just cut into different shapes.
Frownies Facial Patches for the Corners of the Eyes and Mouth include a triangular shape and a butterfly shape. These shapes are specifically designed to smooth crow’s feet around the eyes and smile lines around the mouth.
When using Frownies Facial Patches around the eyes, be sure to apply on bony areas only! As discussed above, the skin around the eyes is extremely thin and delicate. While Frownies Facial Patches are safe to use on facial skin and HRIPT certified, the wrinkle patches may be too harsh to the skin around the eyes.
Frownies Facial Patches use a principle similar to Botox – Our patches prevent you from making facial expressions that create dynamic lines in the skin.
While the immobilization on the facial muscles only occurs while wearing the wrinkle patches, over time, the facial patches retrain your facial muscles to lay flat and not to create wrinkles around the eyes.
We suggest wearing Frownies Facial Patches every night for 30 days for best results.
Take precautions to apply Frownies Facial Patches on the orbital bones.
Luckily, Frownies does have additional products that are gentle and safe to use on the delicate skin of the eye area.
Frownies Apple Serum
In addition to using Frownies Facial Patches for the Corners of the Eyes and Mouth, the skin around the eyes requires excellent skincare.
Frownies newest product is our Apple Serum. Frownies Apple Serum contains stem cells from the swiss Uttwiler Spätlauber apple that is known for it’s longevity and shelf-life.
The stems cells from this particular apple have been shown in research to:
- Decrease the depth of wrinkles around the eyes
- Improve the texture of the skin
- Increase the longevity of human stem cells in the skin
- Stimulate cell turnover and proliferation
- Protect the skin from UV damage
Frownies Apple Serum has a luxurious silky texture that absorbs quickly into the skin.
After using a gentle cleanser such as Frownies pH Balancing Face Wash, use your ring finger to pat a few drops of Frownies Apple Serum under your eyes and around the corners of your eyes twice per day.
Apply moisturizer and SPF overtop of Frownies Apple Serum.
Frownies Apple Serum may also be applied to any other areas of concern for you including around the lips, neck, chest, and back of your hands.
Frownies Under Eye Gels
Frownies Under Eye Gels are a great way to deeply hydrate the skin around the eyes and smooth the appearance of crow's feet.
Frownies Under Eye Gels are made of cactus collagen and can be reused up to 5-7 times until your skin has absorbed the entire eye gel.
To preserve your Frownies Under Eye Gels between uses, we recommend placing the eye gels back into its tray and spraying with Frownies Rose Water Hydrator with hyaluronic acid. The tray can then be placed in an airtight container, such as a ziplock bag, and be placed into the refrigerator.
Frownies Eye Cream
With similar plant-based skincare ingredients to Frownies Aloe & Oat Gel Moisturizer, Frownies Eye Cream is gentle enough to use on the delicate skin around the eyes.
Oils found in Frownies Eye Cream are especially beneficial to the thin under eye skin that does not contain oil glands. The noncomedogenic oils in Frownies Eye Cream are deeply nourishing but don’t clog pores.
Oils in Frownies Eye Cream include oat oil, meadow foam oil, daikon radish oil, and rose hip oil. These oils are high in essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and vitamins A, C, and E.
The aloe vera gel base of the eye cream locks in moisture to hold in the deeply hydrating oils and create a protective layer for the skin under the eyes.
In addition, Frownies Eye Cream contains green tea and caffeine which help to reduce puffiness around the eyes and under eye bags.
In addition to Frownies plant-based skincare products, we recommend addressing some other factors to help smooth the appearance of crow’s feet and all wrinkles around the eyes.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is the easiest way to keep your skin hydrated and will help reduce puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, and other signs of premature aging.
Drinking enough water also improves your skin's elasticity as water is the main ingredient of collagen and elastin in the skin!
Get a Little Shut-Eye
Did you know that adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night? But most adults to not get anywhere near this amount of rest. Luckily, daytime naps can help but do not take the place of quality sleep overnight.
Inadequate sleep will result in under eye bags, dark circles, and fine lines around the eyes.
Remember, the skin around your eyes is thinner than any other place on your body. Therefore, the under eye skin tends to show damage, stress, and premature aging sooner than other areas of the body.
The capillaries under your eyes also sit closer to the skin’s surface. These blood vessels can create the “dark circles” under your eyes which are especially prominent when you lack proper sleep.
Not getting enough shut-eye can also increase muscle tension in the face, including around your eyes. A furrows brow while you sleep can lead to 11s between the brows, crow’s feet around the eyes, and tension headaches.
Plus, lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol and can lead to premature aging which is detrimental to your health overall – not just your outward appearance!
Apply Sunscreen to Your Face Daily
The best treatment for crow’s feet around the eyes is prevention.
After your normal morning skincare routine, apply sunscreen or an SPF moisturizer every day. It is best to apply sunscreen all over your face, neck, chest, tops of your ears, and backs of your hands.
Sunscreen not only limits UV damage that causes fine lines and wrinkles, but it will also protect you from dangerous skin cancers.
Eat Colorful Meals
In addition to drinking water and getting sleep, the best thing you can do for your skin – and overall health – is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Some of the top micronutrients for smooth, healthy skin include Vitamins A, C, E and K; minerals zinc, copper, and selenium.
The simplest way to ensure you are getting enough of these vitamins and minerals is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal!
Aim for five different colors of fruits and vegetables per day. Different colored plants contain micronutrients in varying quantities.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Green (lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, peas, asparagus)
- Yellow (yellow peppers, pineapples, bananas)
- Orange (carrots, oranges, pumpkin)
- Red (strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers)
- Blue and Purple (blueberries, purple cabbage, blackberries, purple grapes)
- Brown and White (white potatoes, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms)
For more information on the best foods for healthy skin, check out this Frownies Blog “It’s Easy to Eat Your Way to Healthier Skin!”
Crow’s feet and wrinkles around the eyes can be annoying. You may feel that they are unsightly and make you look older than you really are.
The good news is that there are many ways to reduce or even eliminate the appearance of crow's feet and fine lines around your eyes – make healthy lifestyle choices and use effective, plant-based skincare products!
For personalized skincare recommendations, please contact Helen Morrison, Director of Brand Strategy and the great-great-granddaughter of the inventor of Frownies Facial Patches.