Crow’s feet are a natural result of the aging process, as the skin loses elasticity and wrinkles deepen.

At home, a good skincare regimen combined with a healthy diet and hydration routine can help slow the development of pesky crow’s feet. Cosmetic procedures such as dermal fillers and Botox can also help produce more significant, although often temporary, results in lessening the overall appearance of crow’s feet.

Common Causes of Crow’s Feet

crow's feetYour body naturally changes as you age. One such effect is that the skin begins to lose its elasticity, gaining more give. This can create wrinkles, especially around moving parts, such as your eyes and mouth.

Because of this, many older people begin to develop crow’s feet, which become more prominent as they continue to age.

Treatment Options for Crow’s Feet

While crow’s feet have no impact on a person’s overall physical health, many people would rather not have them. Several treatment options exist that can help reduce or even remove crow’s feet, although even these treatments may not prevent them from faintly showing and growing more prominent as you continue to grow older.

One option for combatting crow’s feet is dermal fillers. This is the practice of injecting gel-like substances under the skin, helping to give targeted areas of the body a fuller appearance.

These are approved fillers:

  • Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Calcium hydroxyapatite
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA)

All of these fillers slowly get absorbed by the body except for PMMA, although repeated injections regularly can supplement that loss. You should never get fillers not approved by the FDA, as their safety cannot be guaranteed regardless of whatever claims a facility may make.

The FDA has also approved Botox treatments, which work by using the botulinum neurotoxin to target and temporarily paralyze certain muscles in the face, reducing the visibility of wrinkles. While it was used for similar purposes before its 2013 approval, and even off-label for crow’s feet, the FDA finally approved it for crow’s feet after a study showed its efficacy.

Treatment Risks

Dermal fillers exist on a wide spectrum of risk. When injected by a professional with fillers approved by the FDA, the risks are minimal.

In most cases, the biggest concern is a potential allergic reaction, but these are other common risks:

  • Redness or rash
  • Itchiness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Swelling

One of the most serious risks of dermal fillers, although relatively rare, is accidentally injecting the filler into a blood vessel. This can cause skin necrosis, stroke, or blindness, which can be permanent.

Used improperly, botulinum neurotoxin is very dangerous to the human body. However, the dosages recommended for cosmetic purposes are much smaller than those that can cause botulism, and Botox is injected by trained professionals. While major incidents are rare, the procedure has been linked to these issues:

  • Facial weakness
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Brow drooping
  • Localized pain
  • Swelling
  • Reddening
  • Bruising

In the majority of cases, these symptoms are temporary.

At-Home Options & Prevention of Crow’s Feet

Preventing crow’s feet indefinitely isn’t possible, as the skin naturally declines in elasticity as we age. However, some practices may help slow the development of crow’s feet.

While it is mostly a theory, one logical explanation for how they develop is through repeated facial expressions, such as frowning, smiling, and squinting, repeatedly folding the skin along creases that eventually develop into wrinkles.

Dr. Gary Goldenberg, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology, told O, The Oprah Magazine that he recommends anti-agers like retinol and glycolic acid. That same article also suggests hyaluronic acid if you find the other options too harsh.

Other treatments for crow’s feet include chemical peels, laser resurfacing treatments, and topical creams, like retinoid topicals. Oftentimes, treatment for crow’s feet involves a multipronged skincare approach.

A Note on Aging

Many cosmetic practices exist to slow the effects of natural aging, of which crow’s feet are one result. While it is common practice to attempt to slow the effects of age on your skin, keep in mind that it is also healthy to accept that your body changes with time. Because of cultural pressures, some people obsess with trying to stay young and may spend large amounts of money or try medically unregulated methods to try and change their bodies.

A healthy skincare routine strikes a balance between accepting yourself while also making choices that can keep your skin as healthy as possible. The occasional cosmetic procedure, when approved by the FDA and performed by a professional, can improve the aesthetic appearance of your skin, provided you acknowledge the risks.

Crow’s Feet Prevention & Treatment FAQs

  • What is the best treatment for pesky crow’s feet?

    At this time, the most permanent crow’s feet treatment is PMMA filler suspended in bovine collagen, which isn’t absorbed by the body. This combined with a well-rounded skincare routine that utilizes products like anti-agers has the potential to reduce the signs of crow’s feet and delay the deepening of any wrinkles you have developed.

  • How do you prevent crow’s feet from worsening?

    It isn’t possible to completely prevent crow’s feet from worsening; wrinkles are inevitable with age at this time. However, a vigilant skincare routine and making an active effort to stay hydrated and eat well can help delay the more obvious signs of aging, including crow’s feet.

    Cosmetic procedures can also help, but you consult a dermatologist to see what they recommend for you.

References

Aging Changes in the Face. (July 2020). MedlinePlus.

Botox Now FDA-Approved for Treating Crow’s Feet. (September 2013). CBS News.

Dermal Filler Do's and Don'ts for Wrinkles, Lips and More. (February 2022). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

You're Older, Wiser, and More Beautiful: The Science Behind Aging Gracefully. (April 2002). O, The Oprah Magazine.

8 Fixes for Crow's Feet, Puffiness and Undereye Issues. (November 2017). O, The Oprah Magazine.

The information provided on this page should not be used in place of information provided by a doctor or specialist. To learn more, read our Privacy Policy and Editorial Policy pages.