The Truth About Crow's Feet And How You Can Avoid Them

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If you have a thing about doing a wrinkle spot check every now and then, you may notice a network of fine lines radiating out of the outer corner of your eyes at some point. Before you panic and start thinking about grandchildren and retirement happening in the next five minutes, stop and take a breath.

Crow's feet may be a thing you might associate with getting older, but Dr. Brant Skincare says they can start to happen anytime — even if you're still in your 20s. The skin around your eyes is simply more prone to wear and tear because it is thinner and it doesn't have any oil glands — so once its elasticity is compromised, it just doesn't snap back. 

Avoiding wear and tear isn't as easy as it sounds either, because as New York dermatologist Joyce Davis tells Elle, crow's feet happen naturally. "Free radical formation from sun and pollution can worsen the effects," she said. "We also see these beneath the eyes as a result of excessive smiling, and muscle contraction. As we age, the lines get deeper and longer." Even blinking contributes to crow's feet, because blinking 15 to 20 times a minute adds up to about 20,000 times a day — which sounds like quite a workout (via Harper's Bazaar).

What can you do to avoid crow's feet?

Now that we've established that crow's feet are inevitable, there are things you can to do keep the skin around your eyes happy. "You want to start wearing SPF 30+ daily," Davis said. "And if you're near or in water or very active, make sure you're wearing a waterproof formula. You'll also want to start moisturizing eye creams containing proven ingredients like niacinamide, retinol and vitamin C. Ones with hyaluronic acid can also help plump skin and fill-in fine lines." Don't forget to take care of your facial skin overall on a regular basis as well.

Women's Health further recommends using UV-protective sunglasses, which can block the sun's harmful rays and keep you from squinting (squinting, of course, also causes crow's feet).

But if the ultimate price for ageless looking skin means laughing and smiling less... we'll support you if you give that option a hard pass. Boston-based dermatologist Ranella Hirsch said (via Allure), "More than any other wrinkle, crow's feet are expressive. I often say, 'Trying to emote without facial expressions is like trying to text without emojis." And who wants to do that?