Causes and Treatment of Crows Feet

crows feet is usually caused by smiling*

Lines around the eyes are among the first signs of aging skin. Crows feet, which radiate from the outer corners of the eyes, tend to develop when we are in our mid twenties.

What Causes Crows Feet

The question of what causes crows feet is almost like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg.

The most obvious answer is that that crows feet are caused by active muscles in our face which cause the creases to form in our skin as we smile. These include:

  • Ocularis orbis muscles, around our eyes
  • Levator labii superioris, around the side of the nose & cheek
  • Zygomaticus major and minor, near the corner of the eye to the side of the mouth

If you think about it, however we’ve used these muscles to smile since infancy. So to say that crows feet form because of overactive facial muscles accounts for only part of what actually happens.

We must also consider the fact that our skin loses volume and elasticity. So when we smile, creases will start to form in our skin, which develops into deeper, more permanent groves over time.

Crows Feet Wrinkle Treatments

There are different treatments available to help improve the appearance of crows feet, or even eliminate them altogether in some cases. The choice of treatment depends on various considerations such as the severity of the condition as well as preferences of both the patient and the dermatologist.

The two main forms of treatment for crows feet removal include:

  1. Botox or Dysport

Both Botox and Dysport are forms of botulinum toxins (which originate from the botulinum bacteria).  They are injected into the specific nerves that release a chemical called acetylcholine that normally causes facial muscles to contract. When these muscles are able to stay in a relaxed state,  the appearance of crows feet and other facial lines significantly diminishes.

  1. Laser Skin Rejuvenation

Many dermatologists recommend fractional CO2 lasers (e.g. Fraxel Re:pair) to treat mild to moderate instances of crows feet.  These lasers create numerous columns of focused light which penetrate the skin vertically. This process vaporizes the tissue within these treatment zones. The overall surface area of the skin shrinks and becomes tighter.

Fraxel Dual which helps stimulate new collagen, can also be used in the treatment of crows feet.

The number of treatments and overall outcome will vary from patient to patient.

Los Angeles dermatologist, Dr. Umar treated this patient with Botox.  Her procedure was intended to  address multiple signs of aging including the crows feet around her eyes. After her treatment, these lines were significantly reduced. Here is a before and after video which documents the overall process.

For more information on Dr. Umar’s services or to schedule a free consultation, please visit