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Crow’s Feet Remedies: Dermatologists Share the Top Ways To Prevent and Treat the Stubborn Wrinkles

From eye creams to patches to rollers, discover the easiest ways to fade these wrinkles fast

Used to be that those little lines that appeared at the corner of each eye once we smiled would disappear the second we dropped our smile. But now those lines keep on keeping on — even when we’re frowning at them! Thankfully, there’s many crow’s feet remedies that can be done to prevent these lines from deepening — and some that will help soften and erase the ones you’ve got. Read on for the easy techniques that help turn back the clock.

What causes crow’s feet?

Crow’s feet are the fine lines that extend out from the corners of the eyes. “They occur because of chronic folding of skin from smiling and squinting,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and an Associate Professor of Dermatology and the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “The skin around the eye system is the thinnest on the body, which is why crows feet are common and tend to develop at an early age.”

Close up photo of a mature woman's eye with crow's feet showing
Image Source/Getty

Mona Gohara, MD, a Yale-trained dermatologist based in Connecticut, adds that another culprit that contributes to the formation of crow’s feet: “Intrinsic aging: that means DNA!” With age, our levels of skin-firming collagen and elastin deplete, hence fine lines and wrinkles, she says. In addition to that, Dr. Gohara says, extrinsic aging is also a cause. This is unprotected daily exposure to UV light that contributes to fine lines. In fact 90% of the visible signs of aging come from daily unprotected exposure to UV light.

How to prevent crow’s feet

There are a few precautions you can take to prevent existing crow’s feet from deepening and keep new ones from forming. “First you want to keep the foundation of the skin as strong as possible which helps resist wrinkling,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Second, do what you can to prevent wrinkling of the skin to begin with.” The best way to achieve both of these is wearing sunscreen.

“Wearing at least SPF 30 or higher daily can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays and protect the skin from photoaging,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Dermatologic Surgery at New York Medical College. When outdoors, she recommends wearing sunglasses or a hat to help shield your eyes from the sun to prevent squinting.

Related: 13 Best Lightweight Sunscreens for Women Over 50

Woman with blond hair smiling. Her skin looks youthful and firm after learning about and using crow's feet remedies

The best at-home crow’s feet remedies

Most skin experts sing the praises of in-office treatments (more on this below) when it comes to reversing crow’s feet, but there are a few at-home options that can help. Keeping scrolling for the dermatologist-approved at-home crow’s feet remedies.

Crow’s feet remedy 1: Slather on an eye cream

Applying an eye cream is an easy way to treat crow’s feet, but it can be hard to pick one. Here, the best ingredients and the affordable creams recommended by dermatologists based on the degree of your crow’s feet.

1. For barely-there crow’s feet: hyaluronic acid

This acid, which is naturally occurring in skin but depletes with age, plumps skin to “fill in” lines and wrinkles. “Think of hyaluronic acid like a sponge that grabs onto water and pulls it into the outer skin layer,” says Dr. Zeichner. To get the benefits, Dr. Gohara suggests Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream (Buy from Amazon, $12.90). She says it offers an immediate plumping effect to minimize fine lines.

2. For moderate crow’s feet: ceramides

Dr. Engelman says to look for eye creams with ceramides, which are lipids that are naturally found in skin, to strengthen the skin barrier. This gives skin more structure, smoothing existing lines and preventing the formation of new ones. One we like: Paula’s Choice Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream (Buy from Paula’s Choice, $21).

3. For moderate to deep crow’s feet: argireline peptides

This type of peptide is commonly used in skin care products and is often referred to as Botox in a cream, says Dr. Zeichner. How it works: Argireline peptides absorb into skin and have muscle-relaxing effect that makes static wrinkles look press pronounced. The smoothing effects can be temporary, but it also spurs collagen production for long-lasting results. One to try: The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% (Buy from The Ordinary, $11.30).

4. For deep-set crow’s feet: retinol

Retinol is the gold standard ingredient to strengthen the skin, says Dr. Zeichner. The vitamin A-derivative works by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin fibers to reverse deeply etched in wrinkles. While retinol can be known to irritate sensitive skin, Dr. Zeichner recommends RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream (Buy on Amazon, $17.99). “This cream contains a stabilized form of retinol in a moisturizing formula specifically made for the eye area and does not lead to irritation.”

Crow’s feet remedy 2: Apply silicone patches

Dr. Engelman is a fan of eye patches, and her favorite are SioBeauty Super EyeLift (Buy from SioBeauty, $25.50). “They’re made out of medical-grade silicone and help minimize the appearance of crow’s feet and crepiness for younger, smoother-looking skin,” she says. That’s because the silicone draws moisture to the surface of skin for a plumping effect that “fills in” lines. Best of all, the patches can be reused 10 times — and wearing them overnight holds skin taut to prevent new crow’s feet.

Crow’s feet remedy 3: Try a dermaroller

A dermaroller, which is one of the crow's feet remedies recommended by dermatologists

Dermarollers (also known as microneedling) are handheld devices that contain tiny needles and is rolled onto the face. The tool’s needles create micro-channels or “injuries” that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to reduce crow’s feet. A dermaroller we like: Beauty ORA Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System (Buy from Dermstore, $38).

For a tutorial on how to safely use a dermaroller at home, watch the below video from @FiftyPlusBeauty on YouTube.

Click through to discover how one woman used Morpheus 8 microneedling to dramatically reduce a double chin.

Crow’s feet remedy 4: Wear a red light mask

Dr. Gohara recommends using a red light mask at night when skin is in recovery mode. Red light therapy (RLT) uses low-wavelength red light to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. And it’s been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, including crow’s feet. One we like: Skin Gym Wrinklit LED Mask (Buy from Skin Gym, $99).

Related: At-Home Red + Blue Light Therapy Can Regrow Hair + Rejuvenate Skin

The best in-office crow’s feet remedies

While at-home crow’s feet remedies can be helpful, in-office treatments are significantly more effective. Read on for the top options that are widely available at dermatologist offices and medical spas.

1. To soften crow’s feet: a chemical peel

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution (such as alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid or phenol) to remove the top layers of the skin. This reveals the smoother, younger-looking skin underneath. Peels also strengthen and tighten the skin by stimulating collagen production, says Dr. Engelman.

“To maintain results, light peels can be done every one to four weeks and medium-depth peels every six to 12 months,” says Dr. Engleman. “After a peel, the skin is often sensitive, red, and irritated and can be flakey for two to three days after.” On average, chemical peels range from $200 (for a light peel) to $6,000 (for a deep peel).

2. To firm crow’s feet: Botox injections

Botox is the most popular in-office treatment to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles like crow’s feet. “It smooths out dynamic wrinkles caused by repetitive facial expressions by preventing the nerve signals from reaching the muscles, therefore reducing the muscle contractions that cause these wrinkles,” says Dr. Engelman.

One thing to note with Botox is that it takes about three days post-treatment to see noticeable results and the effects last about three months. And the cost of Botox varies depending on the location of the treatment, the experience of the provider and the number of units (or syringes) used. The average cost of Botox is $466 per treatment, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

3. To plump crow’s feet: dermal fillers

This in-office treatment option consists of a hyaluronic acid-based filler being injected directly into crow’s feet to plump and smooth the creases in the skin. Dr. Engelman says dermal fillers work best for patients with static crow’s feet that appear when the face is at rest. The effects last typically from three to six months, but can last much longer, she adds. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the average cost of dermal fillers is $684 per syringe. But the pricing can range from $300 to $2,508 per syringe, depending on the type and amount of filler used. And there can be some downtime needed with dermal fillers as swelling, redness and bruising are common. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.

4. To smooth crow’s feet: resurfacing laser treatments

During these treatments, a laser is used to remove the top layers of skin to make wrinkles less aparent. “These can be used to stimulate collagen and create controlled wounds and take advantage of the skin’s ability to repair itself,” says Dr. Zeichner. With laser treatments, typically two to six sessions are needed to see the best results. It’s a pricier option as well since the average cost of a laser treatment is $2,509 per session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And downtime is often needed post-treatment as redness, swelling, bruising, and peeling are common within the first few days.

For more anti-aging beauty tips and tricks, click through these stories:

Dermatologists Weigh In on the Best Ways to Smooth Crepey Skin

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