The term “crow’s feet” refers to lines that radiate from the corners of the eyes, which are particularly visible when a person smiles. There are various treatment options for people interested in removing crow’s feet or techniques for lessening their appearance.

The delicate area surrounding the eyes is vulnerable to developing signs of aging. Lines or wrinkles, such as crow’s feet, can be dynamic or static. Dynamic wrinkles appear when muscles contract during facial expression and speech. Conversely, static wrinkles are visible when the face is resting but may become more obvious with muscle contraction. Over time, dynamic lines become static.

If a person wishes to treat crow’s feet, many available options include topical creams and Botox. People can also use various techniques to cover and conceal crow’s feet.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between age and crow’s feet, treatment options, concealing them, and prevention tips.

The eye area, or periorbital region, is particularly susceptible to the signs of aging. Skin aging is a natural process. It occurs as skin gradually loses supportive collagen and elastin fibers that help keep it firm. As these proteins begin to disappear, the skin becomes looser and does not retain its shape as easily.

Natural aging, facial expressions, exposure to UV light, and smoking are some factors that can affect the skin’s elasticity and can lead to wrinkle formation.

Crow’s feet are small wrinkles that appear around the eyes. When the orbicularis oculi muscles in the eyelids contract to open and close, it can highlight the appearance of crow’s feet. These muscles also contract when a person smiles.

A person may consider various treatment options or combinations, depending on the severity of their crow’s feet, the desired outcome, and their doctor’s advice.

Topical creams

Creams containing vitamin A and its derivatives, such as retinol, are popular for addressing signs of skin aging. They are highly effective in slowing down the aging process.

Retinols stimulate collagen production, which may reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.

A person can buy low-strength retinol over the counter (OTC). Stronger options, such as tretinoin, require a prescription from a doctor.

Botox

Botox comes from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is the same toxin that causes botulism.

Doctors can use tiny doses of Botox to temporarily smooth facial wrinkles, including crow’s feet. The injections work by paralyzing specific muscles or blocking nerves. Depending on the treated area, they are effective for around 3–12 months.

Learn more about Botox here.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels are also known as chemexfoliation or chemical exfoliation. They can help diminish the appearance of crow’s feet. The process involves applying a chemical substance to the skin to eradicate the old, upper layers of the skin, regenerating new, smoother skin.

Doctors may use various chemicals to peel the skin, including trichloroacetic acid (TCA). They classify chemical peels according to how deeply they penetrate the skin, from very light peels with up to 20% TCA to deep peels with more than 50% TCA.

The effects and recovery time depend on the type of peel and its depth. Light peels may require little recovery time, while deeper peels may take several weeks for the skin swelling and redness to subside.

Learn more about chemical peels here.

Dermal fillers

Dermatologists may recommend injectable dermal fillers to treat crow’s feet. The most common fillers contain hyaluronic acid (HA), such as Juvéderm or Restylane.

HA exists naturally in the body, including in the joints, eyes, and skin. In the skin, HA attracts water and encourages hydration, reducing the appearance of fine lines, folds, and wrinkles. A person should notice the effects of HA immediately.

Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing removes the upper layers of skin with a laser to improve the appearance of wrinkles and crow’s feet. The laser heats the skin, promoting collagen production and smooth, even healing.

A doctor usually administers medication to help the individual relax and ease the pain. Following the procedure, the doctor dresses the treated area, and healing takes 3–10 days, although complete healing may take several weeks.

Find out more about laser resurfacing here.

While there is limited scientific research into concealing crow’s feet, anecdotal evidence suggests ways to help conceal crow’s feet when removal may not be possible. These include:

  • Moisturizing daily: Apply hydrating eye cream before sleeping and applying makeup.
  • Priming before makeup: Silicone-based primers may help fill lines and create a smooth finish.
  • Using light concealer and foundation: Heavy, caked makeup makes lines more noticeable. Instead, use a few dabs of concealer and a light to medium coverage foundation.
  • Avoiding loose powder: Powder can settle into wrinkles and make them more pronounced.
  • Using a lip color: Opt for dramatic lips instead of highlighting the eyes with false eyelashes and dark eyeliners that draw attention to crow’s feet.

Developing crow’s feet is a natural part of aging, but some factors may help limit their severity:

  • Wearing sunscreen: UV rays accelerate signs of aging. Therefore, people should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all skin not covered by clothing. Also, add a hat and sunglasses to prevent squinting.
  • Moisturizing: Use a moisturizing cream to trap water in the skin, reducing fine lines and making the skin appear younger.
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking contributes to wrinkles and lines, so quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke can help keep skin younger looking.
  • Following a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can enhance overall well-being and reduce the signs of aging.

The eye area’s delicate skin is vulnerable to the signs of aging, including crow’s feet. These lines radiate from the corners of the eyes and are more obvious when a person smiles.

There are various treatment options for crow’s feet, including topical creams, Botox injections, and chemical peels.

People can also lessen their appearance with regular moisturizing and makeup techniques, such as using silicone primer, avoiding heavy concealer, and emphasizing the lips instead of the eyes.

Additionally, a person should wear sunscreen, quit smoking if relevant, and follow a healthy diet to minimize the appearance of crow’s feet and other signs of aging.