Have you began to notice crow’s feet on your face? No, of course we’re not talking about a little black bird’s footprint – we’re talking about these crinkly fine lines that gather at the corner of your eyes and spread out at the temples, very much like the feet of a crow.
In our younger years, our skin is elastic and will return to its place after a squint, smile, frown or laugh. However, starting from our late 30s, we may gradually notice the appearance of crow’s feet at the corners of our eyes. As we age, these crinkly lines becomes deeper and more prominent to our dismay – and do not go away even after we stop laughing. This is a sure sign that our skin is beginning to lose elasticity, causing the skin to be unable to “spring back” from a wrinkled or creased state quickly.
Since the skin around the eyes is one of the thinnest parts of the body , it’s fragile and most affected. The skin around the eyes now has less support from its underlying structure, thus resulting in lines and wrinkles, along with other problems like sagging.
If your crow’s feet are becoming more obvious, it can only mean one thing: your battle with ageing has just begun.
“What are crow’s feet?”
Crow’s feet are wrinkles that occur when the circular muscle around our eyes contract – the orbicularis oculi muscle – on overlying skin.  As we age, there is a gradual loss of elastic fibers, resulting in looser skin. The eyelid and eye area are perhaps the first structures in the face to be affected by our ageing process. 
So, whenever your face crumples up with sadness, crinkles with joy or squint with exasperation – all these motions cause creases in the delicate skin around your eyes, breaking the collagen and elastin in your skin.  These repetitive facial movements over the years can result in frown lines and crow’s feet.
When you smile or laugh, the skin around the corner of your eyes naturally crinkles up and these are called laugh lines. They go away when you stop smiling. But if these lines still remain after you’ve stopped smiling or laughing, you know you’ve got crow’s feet.
“So… Should I stop smiling and laughing?!”
Well yes, unless you aspire to be a stoic human robot, devoid of all emotive expressions.
Of course, having no facial expressions would be most foolproof way to prevent unsightly crow’s feet. But we can’t and wouldn’t want that now, would we? Can you imagine a world with no laughter? I certainly can’t.
Besides laughing excessively, there are certain other habits that cause crow’s feet to form prematurely – and when it comes to these pesky eye-framing wrinkles, prevention is your best bet. Here are the seven things you should take note of to keep crow’s feet at bay.
#1. Squinting is really bad for you
Remember the orbicularis oculi muscle? It’s the muscle in the eye area that contract involuntarily whenever we make a facial expression. Frequent squinting overworks this same muscle unnecessarily and causes the fine lines around your eyes to be etched into your skin overtime.
Make sure you’re wearing the right prescription glasses and contact lenses so you won’t need to scrunch up your eyes to peer at things. Wear sunglasses whenever you’re out in direct, strong and glaring sunlight to prevent yourself from squinting excessively. Treat your eyes right by taking care not to strain them, and the thin and delicate skin around your eye area will benefit at the same time. And definitely make sure you don’t squint, ever.
#2. Always be wearing sunscreen
Dermatology rule of thumb: always be wearing sunscreen.
Especially so in tropical countries like Singapore and Indonesia, the sun’s UV rays can do more damage than you think. You should be incorporating a sunscreen of SPF 30 or more into your daily skin care routine.
People who expose their skin to sunlight are far more likely to get crow’s feet, other facial wrinkles and even skin cancer. Sun exposure causes premature wrinkling, a reduction in skin firmness and elasticity, breakdown in collagen… everything that causes crow’s feet!
#3. Make sunglasses your best friend
Sunglasses with UV-protection serve a double purpose: they protect your eyes and eye area from harmful UV radiation and help stop you from squinting. Your sunglasses also serve as a side bar that protects your outer eye skin area.
UV rays can cause irreparable damage to the cellular structure of your skin, causing it to dry out and wrinkles to form permanently.
A good moisturiser eye cream with ingredients like Vitamin A, hyaluronic acid and peptides can help to combat eye-area ageing issues. Vitamin A helps to stave off sun damage and stimulate collagen production. Hyaluronic acid is useful to soften the skin and keep fine lines at bay. Peptides pose as broken collagen, thus fooling the body into producing more collagen for the skin.
Also, did you know that exfoliation is also a helpful pre-emptive measure against crow’s feet? Due to the delicate and thin skin of the eye area, you may not have thought to exfoliate it; but regularly and gently doing so can help remove dead skin cells at your epidermis (top layer of your skin), forcing fresh skin to generate, thus smoothing out any budding lines.
#5. Eat a diet full of anti-oxidants & hydrate yourself
You are what you eat; and foods that are rich in anti-oxidants can help you. Examples of foods are: avocados, bananas, pomegranates, tomatoes, goji berries, coconut oil, cocoa, fatty fish and leafy greens. These foods are rich in Vitamin C, E and Omega-3 fatty acids to promote collagen production. With these nutrients in your body, your skin can also cleanse itself of harmful radicals, which is responsible for reducing proteins such as collagen and elastin.
Keeping yourself well hydrated by drinking lots of water is the most underrated beauty hack that exists. It not only helps with cleansing of toxins, but also with plumping up your skin. Best of all, it’s free-of-charge – both your skin and your wallet will thank you.
#6. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on the side of your face can cause creases and folds, also known as “sleep lines”. While most of them go away, frequent rubbing on the sides of your eyes can cause these temporary creases to form permanent wrinkles over time.
If you really cannot help squishing your face into your pillow while you sleep, swap out your pillowcase for a silk or sateen one – it would be gentler on your skin and cut down on those facial imprints that you’d make whilst asleep.
#7. Take a break on that smoke break!
Nicotine can reduce the collagen levels in the skin and cause your skin to age faster. Some research even showed that wrinkling the skin was more exacerbated with smoking than with outdoor sun exposure. 
These 7 tips to prevent pesky crow’s feet and facial wrinkles will go a long way in helping you slow down the skin-ageing clock. Eventually, crow’s feet is natural and if it’s due to excessive laughing and smiling, you must be doing something right.
If you truly want to keep crow’s feet at bay, remember this: preventive care is key. Share this article with a friend or family who’s nearing thirty and she’ll be sure to thank you later!
P.S. If you already have deepened crow’s feet and wrinkles that you want to get rid of, all hope is not lost – read our article for treatment options and how to deal with row’s feet and wrinkles.
 Vrcek, I., Ozgur, O., & Nakra, T. (2016). Infraorbital Dark Circles: A Review of the Pathogenesis, Evaluation and Treatment. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, 9(2), 65–72. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.184046
 Viterbo, F., Joethy, J. & Brock, R.S. (2016). Aesthetic and Non-aesthetic indications for Orbicularis Oculi Myectomy. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 40(4):466-74. doi: 10.1007/s00266-016-0638-5. Epub 2016 May 13.
 Pottier, F., El-Shazly, N.Z., El-Shazly, A.E. (2008). Aging of Orbicularis Oculi. Anatomophysiologic Consideration in Upper Blepharoplasty. Arch Facial Plastic Surgery. 10(5):346-349. doi:10.1001/archfaci.10.5.346
 Uitto, J. (2008). The role of elastin and collagen in cutaneous aging: intrinsic aging versus photoexposure. Feb;7(2 Suppl):s12-6.
 Daniell, H. W. (1971) Smoker’s Wrinkles: A Study in the Epidemiology of “Crow’s Feet”. Ann Intern Med. 1971;75:873-880.
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