What Causes Crow’s Feet?

by Gio

causes of crow's feet

It happens to everyone.

One day your face is nice and smooth, the next you look in the mirror and… What the heck are those lines around your eyes?!

Hello crow’s feet! Those annoying buggers are the first fine lines that start to appear on your face. Like, in your 20s! Isn’t that too young for wrinkles?!

You know what they say: knowing your enemy is half the battle. Here are the main causes of crow’s feet and how to deal with them so you can keep them off your face for as long as possible:

1. Unprotected Sun Exposure

Nothing damages skin more than UV rays. They destroy elastin fibers and decrease the production of collagen, both of which are essential to keep your skin young and elastic.

Healthy skin may wrinkle up a bit when you smile or squint, but it goes right back into its smooth shape afterwards. But, when you start losing too much collagen and elastin, it can’t do that anymore. It becomes loose, saggy, and wrinkled. 🙁

The Fix

Wear sunscreen EVERY single day, come rain or come shine. Those sneaky UV rays can penetrate through clouds and windows, and even get reflected on snow. Don’t think you’re safe just because you can’t see the sun!

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36.00): available at Sephora.
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF47 ($25.00): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce For Sensitive Skin And Children ($42.00): available at Neiman MarcusNordstrom and Sephora

Related: Why Mineral Sunscreens Are The Best For Sensitive Skin


Related: Should You Wear Sunscreen While Driving?

2. Squinting

UV rays aren’t the only thing that robs you of collagen. Its production naturally slows down with age. From the age of 21, you lose 1% of collagen every year!

At first, you don’t notice it. The loss is so minimal, your skin snaps back into place after squinting. But fast forward a few years later and squinting has etched permanent lines around your eyes. 

The Fix

Squint as little as possible. Give up smoking and wear sunglasses on sunny days.

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Replenish Lost Collagen

3. Smoking

I don’t have to tell you smoking is bad for you. You know that.

But did you know smoking is another thing that reduces collagen and elastin in your skin? If you’ve read this far, you know how essentials those proteins are in keeping wrinkles off your face.

That’s not even the worst of it. Smoking decreases blood flow, too. Put simple, this means  your organs (skin included!) don’t get the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly.

Oh, and the squinting. You’re doing way more of that. No wonder smokers age much faster than their non-smoking friends.

The Fix

Give up smoking. I know, easier said than done. But, it’ll be worth it. You’ll live longer while looking younger.

Related: The Ugly Truth: The Effects Of Smoking On Skin

4. Menopause

Did you know estrogen and collagen are connected? You lose the one, you lose the other.

Guess what? You lose a lot of estrogen when we go into menopause. So, yeah, wrinkles are gonna get worse. 🙁

The Fix

You can’t prevent menopause. The best you can do is discuss hormonal therapies with your doctor. They can work well for some people and have severe side effects in others. Make sure you get all the info you need before making your choice.

The Bottom Line

Now you know what causes those dreaded crow’s feet, you  keep them off our faces for as long as possible.

How do you prevent crow’s feet? Let me know in comments below.

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