Crow’s feet, also known as smile lines, are wrinkles that appear on the outer corners of the eye. They are caused by contraction of the muscles responsible for squinting, smiling, laughing or frowning. Initially, these wrinkles are only visible when you smile or laugh. However, over time, like all wrinkles, they become deeper. Ingrained Crow’s feet and smile lines are visible whether or not you contract the underlying muscles (ie even when you’re resting the muscles of expression). Crow’s feet can also extend upwards towards the temple and downwards to affect the cheeks when they are more advanced and as volume is lost in these areas of the face with age.
The main reason Crow’s feet or smile lines develop is due to loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. These proteins are the skin’s natural plumpers and provide elasticity. Hence losing them causes skin to become thinner and for wrinkles to become apparent. Loss of colllagen and elastin occurs naturally as we age. Of course, the other cause of the appearance of wrinkles is sun damage (or photageing).
First of all its important to start with basics like understanding your skin type and following a basic skincare routine. Simple lifestyle modifications such as sun protection, keeping hydrated and stopping smoking will also help slow down the development of these wrinkles.
Chemical Peels & Collagen Induction Therapy
There are a number of effective treatments for existing Crow’s feet and smile lines. The simplest option for very early signs of fine lines and wrinkles would be a course of chemical peels and/or microneedling. These resurface the skin and induce collagen and elastin production. Hence, over time these smooth out wrinkles and prevent them from developing further.
If you have Crow’s feet that are only evident on making expression, these can be treated very easily with Botox anti-wrinkle injections. For Crow’s feet or smile lines that are deeper (ie visible without making any expressions), then using hyaluronic acid dermal fillers would provide a better option.
For more advanced Crow’s feet or under eye wrinkles and tear trough deformities, a combination of different dermal fillers can offer a natural looking solution. If you have smile lines that extend deep onto the cheeks, then you might which to consider both cheek fillers and wrinkle smoothing with dermal filler in order to restore volume and lift the wrinkles. For co-existing under eye hollows and wrinkles, the addition of tear trough fillers would help to completely rejuvenate the under eye area.