Some people maintain their youthful looks because of genetics, while others seek the aid of skin-care products. And for those who can afford cosmetic surgery, a face-lift may help stifle the effects of age.
But no matter what method you practice to prevent the signs of aging, one thing that is virtually unavoidable is crow's feet -- especially if you like being out in the sun. Located at the outer corners of your eyes, the fine lines resemble the imprint a crow would make if it planted its foot there.
According to WebMD.com, crow's feet are often caused by sun exposure, and expand and get deeper over time. They're most noticeable when a person squints his or her eyes, or cracks a smile, as the skin bunches up to reveal the wrinkles.
TheDermBlog author Dr. Jeffrey Benabio said that crow's feet are likely the first wrinkle a person forms, and they can surface as early as your 30s. In medical terms, Benabio explained on his blog, "Crow?s feet overlie the large muscle that surrounds your eye called the ocularis orbis. When you squeeze your eyes tight, you are contracting this muscle, forming wrinkles that radiate from the corners of your eyes to your temples."
Perhaps the biggest culprit behind crow's feet is sun exposure. According to Benabio, over the years "solar radiation in the form of UVA light damages elastin and collagen leading to lax skin that hangs loosely instead of clinging tight to the underlying muscles." From there, sagging skin leads to wrinkles.
Some people are naturally protected from ultraviolet radiation and, effectively, developing crow's feet, Benabio said, by having more natural pigment in their skin. As a result, people with darker skin tend to have fewer crow's feet than those with lighter skin.
Apart from avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight, there are other ways to avoid developing crow's feet. Smokers, for example, are more likely to develop crow's feet earlier than others because they tend to squint more to protect their eyes from being irritated by smoke.
Even you can learn to puff a cigarette without squinting your eyes, Benabio pointed out that the physical effects of smoking can lead to wrinkling in general. Smoking, he said, by "damaging collagen and elastin fibers and by depriving the skin of blood flow and oxygen."
Another major cause of crow's feet, said Benabio, is menopause. Estrogen, he said, "helps prevent wrinkles by maintaining your skin's collagen, elasticity, and hydration." However, since the level of estrogen is decreased after menopause, women are more likely to develop crow's feet. One way to counteract the effects of estrogen loss, Benabio said, is hormone replacement therapy. This will help the skin maintain its thickness and elasticity.
Just because people develop crow's feet, doesn't mean that there aren't ways to conceal them. According to BeautyTipsOnline, cheap remedies include over-the-counter eye creams, which can reduce puffiness and fine lines.
The site warned of claims that these creams can completely remove wrinkles, but said there are definitely benefits "if you apply them regularly because the outer eye area is usually very dry and creams and gels add much-needed moisture."
The site said collagen injections are often taken to fill out wrinkles, and Botox is another viable option, at least for those willing to spend a bit more money to conceal their crow's feet. Botox injections, the site explained, causes "temporary paralysis, weakening the muscles, causing them to relax, thus eliminating wrinkles."
If you go the Botox route, the site said you can expect to see the full benefits within a couple of weeks of the injections, and the treatment will last for approximately three months.