Crows feet are wrinkles that radiate from the outer corners of the eyes. They are among the first signs of aging to appear.
In most people, crows feet develops during their mid 20’s. However, they can appear earlier or later for others depending on how well they have taken care of their skin.
Crows feet are often referred to as “laugh lines” or “character lines.” Some people feel okay about having them. And others are motivated to get rid of these aging signs.
What Causes Crows Feet To Appear?
Crows feet lines occur from a combination of factors
- Contraction of the orbicularis oculi muscles
- Diminished skin elasticity
- Depleted fatty tissue layer around the eyes
As we get older, our skin loses its elasticity and its suppleness. This is due to genetics and environmental factors like sun damage and smoking. Research shows that premature aging of the skin is mostly due to environmental causes.
UV rays from the sun cause oxygen molecules in the skin to lose an electron. They become unstable as “free radicals.” To achieve stability, they steal electrons from other molecules in the skin. This propagates a chain reaction of tissue damage. Collagen and elastin protein fibers are affected in particular.
Smoking can also facilitate the development of crows feet wrinkles. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels causing the skin to be depleted of oxygen, water and nutrients. This also impairs the skin’s softness and elasticity.
When this happens, the muscle contractions around our eyes become more apparent when we laugh and smile.
Wrinkles that are seen when the face is moving are called dynamic wrinkles. Over time, as the skin becomes less elastic, these creases become engraved on the skin as static wrinkles. These lines are seen when the face is at rest.
Which Treatments Can Get Rid of Crows Feet?
Botulinum toxin injections are the most popular treatments for crows feet. Real changes are usually seen within a week or two after the treatment.
Botox for Treating Crows Feet Wrinkles
Like other muscles in the body, the orbicularis oculi receive signals from nerve fibers. When these nerves release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, the muscles then contract.
Botox blocks this release. Without this chemical input, the orbicularis oculi muscles stay in a relaxed state. And the crows feet wrinkles are less visible.
This Los Angeles patient received Botox for fine crows feet lines. The pictures of the patient before her treatment show that these wrinkles developed into static creases. Her procedure was successful in removing these lines. This is probably because her skin still has good elasticity.
Another patient from Los Angeles received Botox for deeper crows feet lines. Botox was able to improve the appearance of these wrinkles, making them less pronounced.
Q&A – When to Expect Results from Botox
Dysport for Crows Feet
Dysport is also a botulinum toxin. It has a more simple molecular structure than Botox with fewer proteins surrounding the core. In some patients, this makes it easier to be accepted by the body, giving better results.
One study (performed by the Maas Clinic in San Francisco) compared the performance of Dysport to Botox specifically on crows feet. Although both injections were able to reduce the appearance of these wrinkles, the results of Dysport outperformed Botox.
This patient has used Botox on a regular basis. But he decided to try Dysport for various wrinkles including crows feet. Here are before and after pictures.
According to his testimony, he received much better results with Dysport compared to Botox. He said that he noticed improvements within hours after his treatment.
In general, Dysport should be considered if Botox does not give the results desired by the patient and vice versa.
Click here to read more about the Botox versus Dysport debate.