How to Smooth Crow's Feet
Crow’s feet—those etched wrinkles that begin at the outer corner of the eye area and fan out—got their name due to the fact that the pattern they form resembles a crow’s foot, and sadly, they really do.
Unlike fine lines, which tend to "plump up" and respond amazingly well to superbly formulated moisturizers, crow's feet are much less responsive. They are more stubborn because facial expressions are strongest and consistent in that area, just like they are on the forehead. The areas of the face that move the most age the fastest.
As a result of all this, it can be more difficult to minimize the appearance of crow's feet. So while there are no skincare products that can remove crow’s feet (sorry, we could mislead you like other companies do and say there are but then we wouldn’t be true to our mission). We give you facts, not fantasy, there are things you can do to make a difference. Following our skincare recommendations will get you the best results possible.
What You Can Do
Aside from not smiling, and we certainly don’t want you to do that, the number one thing you must do every day to help prevent crow's feet from starting is to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater around your eyes (and the rest of your face, too) every day. This is because most signs of aging on the face, including crow's feet, are largely caused by cumulative sun damage. This exposure results in a loss of firmness and an increase in wrinkles, including those etched lines you'd rather not see.
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for the eye area, look for SPF products that contain the mineral actives of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, which are generally mild enough for use in that area.
Along with daily sun protection, it's critical to follow a gentle skincare routine with products that are loaded with superior anti-wrinkle ingredients such as antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients. These are the types of essential substances skin needs twice a day to maintain its integrity and help defend it against environmental assault. These remarkably beneficial anti-aging ingredients help minimize other visible signs of aging too, like uneven skin tone. You’ll find these ingredients in certain eye creams, including our RESIST Anti-Aging Eye Cream, as well as in state of the art facial moisturizers that can also be used around the eyes.
Of particular note when it comes to ingredients are niacinamide and retinol. There is a lot of new and exciting research about how retinol (vitamin A) and niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) work on skin. They partner with other components of skin to visibly improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness, as well as prime the skin against moisture loss and increasing suppleness and feeling of firmness. They really are astounding.
If your current facial care routine doesn't contain a product with niacinamide or retinol, a good way to add these important ingredients is with our 10% Niacinamide Booster and our CLINICAL Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream. Both can work beautifully with your current skincare routine.
Many people don’t think of exfoliating as being part of their anti-aging skincare routine, but the research is clear that it is a major element. We don’t mean using a scrub or a too-aggressive cleansing brush which actually damages skin. Rather, applying an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliant around the eye area will work to improve skin texture, plump skin, minimize an uneven skin tone, and yes, diminish the appearance of those crow’s feet! This article has much more detailed information about how to exfoliate skin, as well as details on its multiple benefits.
These are the steps you can take right now to immediately improve the appearance of crow's feet, and at the same time help keep new ones from showing up. For more anti-wrinkle information, check out the Recommended Articles section below.
References for this information
PLos One, December 2014, issue 12, e8021
Dermatoendrocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
Indian Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2012, issue 5, pages 335-342
Clinical Interventions in Aging, December 2006, pages 327-348
Cosmetic Science, July-August 2006, pages 261-277
Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 31, Part 2, 2005, Discussion 865
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2004, pages 88-93
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, October 2003, issue 5 supplement, pages 33S-39S
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!