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What Are Crow’s Feet Wrinkles?

By October 1, 2020August 4th, 2022Eyes

Causes, Prevention, and Treatment 

Crow’s feet wrinkles refer to the lines coming out from the corners of the eyes. The eye area is more delicate than the rest of the face and more susceptible to the appearance of the aging signs.
Crow’s feet wrinkles develop due to the muscle contractions we make all the time during facial expressions such as laughing, smiling, and squinting.

Figure 1 – Crow’s feet wrinkles form as part of the smiling process and are a natural part of ageing wrinkles, but the inevitable can be hidden and even delayed for longer to maintain a youthful appearance.

Why Do Crow’s Feet Wrinkles Affect Facial Aesthetic?

Crow’s feet wrinkles appear around the outside of the eyes. The skin in this area is thin and delicate; that is why crow’s feet wrinkles are among the early signs of ageing indicating that there is a reduction in the elasticity of the skin. Crow’s feet wrinkles usually appear in the mid-30s, but some people get them earlier.
Over time, the wrinkles around the eyes worsen and make people look older than they really are.

What Causes Crow’s Feet Wrinkles?

Sun Damage

The UV rays are beneficial when you expose your skin to them moderately. However, if you expose yourself to too much sun, it can cause damages in the structure of the skin.
The sun dries out the skin and makes the wrinkles deeper and more prominent.
The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate. It is affected by prolonged exposure to the sunlight faster than any other area. (1)

Facial Expressions

Smiling, squinting, frowning, and other facial expressions pull the skin and then loosen it by the action of the orbicularis oculi muscle (the muscle around the eyes). It is impossible to prevent your face from making facial expressions, that is why crow’s feet wrinkles are one of the most common ageing signs.
The skin loses its elasticity over time due to the reduction of collagen and elastin production. In other words, your skin is like a piece of fabric. When we are young, collagen keeps the skin flexible. When collagen production reduces, skin wrinkles when you stretch it. (2, 3)

Weight Gain and Loss

Gaining and losing weight can cause all types of facial wrinkles including crow’s feet wrinkles. When you put weight, the facial skin stretches. When the skin weight is lost, the wrinkles may appear. (4)


Smoking is one of the worst things that can happen to your face and skin. It decreases the amount of oxygen reaching the face, which leads to poor facial circulation. Your skin will find it difficult to fight the appearance of wrinkles.
In addition, smoking lowers the production of collagen and elastin and enhances the breakdown of the collagen in the face. (5, 6)


Crow’s feet wrinkles are part of the natural process of ageing. The reduction of collagen in the skin and loss of facial muscle tone will eventually lead to the appearance of all types of wrinkles. (7)

How To Prevent Crow’s Feet Wrinkles?

Cut Down Repetitive Facial Expressions

Cutting down your facial expressions does not mean stop smiling or laughing. The expression that can be reduced is squinting from the sunlight. Sunglasses are highly recommended to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles.

Replace Your Pillow

Getting enough sleep is essential for having smooth, radiant skin, but sleeping can also cause wrinkles. When your skin is pulled by the pillowcase, it forms skin creases.
Use a U-shaped travel pillow. The silk pillowcase will prevent your facial skin from getting pulled or wrinkled.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is great in protecting the skin against UV rays. There is a number besides SPF indicates how well it works in protecting the skin against the sun.
Wear SPF at least 30 to prevent the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles. (8)

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

To have beautiful, glowing skin, it all starts with what you eat. Studies show that antioxidant-rich foods such as coconut oil, walnuts, and strawberries can combat ageing signs such as wrinkles and fine lines. (9)


Exfoliation is highly recommended for minimizing the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles, especially if they already started forming. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells located on the top layer of the skin. This helps the skin to smooth the wrinkles out.

Figure 2 – Representative clinical photographs of the crow’s feet’s classification: (a) one with the face at rest (static wrinkles) and (b) one with the face at maximum smile (dynamic wrinkles).

How to Treat Crow’s Feet Wrinkles?

Use Topical Creams & Moisturizers

Many prescription and over-the-counter topical creams can fight the appearance of fine lines and all types of facial wrinkles. Try to find a topical cream that can induce the production of new skin cells.
In addition, using an antiaging moisturizer will improve the appearance of superficial and early wrinkles around the eyes. The results usually appear after 6 months of daily use. Deep crow’s feet wrinkles need other solutions. (10)

Botulinum Toxin (Botox Injections)

Botox injections are effective in treating crow’s feet wrinkles. Botox can smooth out crow’s feet wrinkles, especially if they are starting to develop. It is the best option for younger people who have superficial crow’s feet wrinkles.
Botox targets the muscles around the eyes. The injection lasts for 3 to 6 months. (11)

Chemical Peels

Chemical peeling is done by placing a chemical solution on the face to remove the dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. It improves the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles and leaves your skin healthier and younger. (12)

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are another treatment option for crow’s feet wrinkles. They are injected into the outer corner of the eyes using a small needle. Some fillers are better and more permanent than others. The effects can last from 3 to 12 months according to the type of filler. (13)

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing can remove the upper layers of skin showing new skin layers to look younger. It is the best option for deep crow’s feet wrinkles since it uses heat to promote collagen production.
The skin around the eyes heals in a smoother way.
The procedure can take weeks before complete healing. Your face may stay in dressing for days.
Laser resurfacing makes your skin tighter. People after resurfacing look 10 to 20 years younger.
The effects last for more than 10 years. It is usually combined with other techniques such as Botox injections to maintain the results. (14)

Figure 3 – A 58-year-old woman, smiling (left) before and (right) after multiple Botox injections.



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2. Fujimura T, Hotta M. The preliminary study of the relationship between facial movements and wrinkle formation. Skin Res Technol. 2012;18(2):219-224. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00557.x
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Dr Khaled Mahmoud

A medical researcher with more than 5 years of professional academic and medical writing experience. My main goal is to provide readers with evidence-based, data-driven, detail-oriented content to help them make the best choices.