How to prevent crow's feet if you're not into injectables and all that stuff.

As we age, most of us folk kinda want the same thing on the skincare front: to smooth those fine lines around our eyes (also known as 'crow's feet' - cute!).

And while some of us are keen to crack down on anti-wrinkle injections and fillers to get the job done, others rely on skincare and facials... and kind of just float around trying to work out WTF is legit. 

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we talk about the product that makes eye bags disappear. Post continues below. 

Cause it's the wild west out there when it comes to skincare brands and their giant, fluffy claims - it can be super hard to know what's actually worth spending money on. 

Like, waaay too hard for the average Joe. 

If you're being a little shy and have no clue what crow's feet actually are, here's how dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald from Complete Skin Specialists describes them: 

"Crow's feet are deep wrinkles around the eyes caused by a combination of the underlying muscle contraction and a loss of the integrity of the overlying thin skin around the eyes." 

These lines usually start appearing in the mid-to late-30s, but you can get them even earlier if you're super lucky! "The muscle movements are obviously necessary for smiling and closing the eyes but are exaggerated by squinting in the sun and also frowning excessively," adds McDonald.

Okay, we good? Great!


Now, if you're iffy about going down the injectable route and you're looking for easier everyday methods, there are some tricky little ingredients and tips out there that you can try instead.

And to make sure we're giving you total no BS advice, we've asked four different experts to tell us *exactly* what works when it comes to preventing lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

1. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

Sooo... this one is major, friends. All four of our skin experts said this was the NUMBER ONE thing you need to do if you want to prevent crow's feet. But jokes on them because we're all already doing this anyway HAHA, right? You guys?

"The thinning of the skin is mostly caused by UV exposure over many years. We know that UV light is the number one cause of photo-ageing or premature thinning of the skin," said McDonald.

If you've been dodging your SPF application for, like, forever... well, shit. Get on it.

"You can prevent the severity of fine lines around the eyes by limiting factors that breakdown the collagen production, such as limiting sun exposure," said aesthetic practitioner Sarah Hudson from Skin By Sarah Hudson

"Wear SPF daily, under your makeup and on-top of your moisturiser. Remember, even if you work indoors, you will still be exposed to UV rays for short periods of time." 

Please read that last sentence again. And again. And then do it. Because being indoors means nothing. Zilch. If you're going to be outside or near a window at some point in the day, slap that SPF on.


If you hate wearing sunscreen around your eyes, the Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Sun Stick, $49.80, is both super cute AND super handy for applying SPF in those tricky areas, minus the sting. 

Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Sun Stick. Image: Supplied. 

Also, while you're at it, you should totally treat yourself to some nice shades and wear them! Everywhere.

"Wear sunglasses as often as possible including when you're hanging washing on the clothesline, grabbing a coffee or taking the children to school. All this exposure adds up in the day leading to a breakdown of collagen," said Hudson.


If you're a total squinty Sue 24/7, skin expert Dr Giulia D'Anna from Dermal Distinction said, "If you find yourself squinting at your phone or screen, get your eyes tested. Also, use a blue screen protector or turn down the brightness of your screen to help your eyes."

2. Reach for active ingredients.

"In order to treat and repair fine lines and wrinkles that have already occurred it is best to look for high-quality skincare with antioxidants and retinols, which will prevent excess collagen breakdown and stimulate collagen repair, respectively," said McDonald.

Look for high-quality skincare that includes ingredients like AHA's, vitamin A, peptides and antioxidants. "Daily use of active serums such as vitamin C and vitamin A (retinol) can aid in collagen production and help increase cell renewal promoting a younger skin," explained Hudson. 

If you're a newbie to this kinda thing (actives), take it slow.

"When you first introduce serums to this area, be mindful to introduce slowly, such as twice a week for the first one to two weeks, then increase to every second day," said Hudson. 

Once you're all confident and pleased with how good your eye area can tolerate active ingredients, Hudson said you you can step it up.

"Daily use of vitamin C and nightly use of vitamin A can help to reduce the deeper lines."


We reckon La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol B3 Serum, $69.95 and The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, $21.90 are some good options to start with.

La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol B3 Serum. Image: Supplied. 

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%. Image: Supplied. 


If you're experiencing issues or are confused with what kind of products you should go for, it's always worth hitting up an expert for their opinion. 

"It's important to make sure the products you are using are suitable for the eye area as the tissue can be more delicate or sensitive," said cosmetic physician Dr Sean Arendse from Flawless Rejuvenation.

"Having a skin consultation with a trained dermal clinician is recommended to make sure you get the right products for your skin."

3. Keep your eye area hydrated.

So, here's the deal. If the skin around your eyes is all dry and thirsty, those lines and wrinkles are going to look a helluva lot more prominent. The key? Add moisture.


"Moisturise and use a heavy duty eye cream. Look for eye creams that have ceramides, as the eye area has no oil glands," said Dr D'Anna.

Wha? Because the skin around your eyes has very little active oil glands, hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane and ceramides are great for drawing in and sealing in the moisture. 

But just be aware - if a skincare product has claims like 'plumping' slapped on it, it's usually too good to be true. Dr McDonald said this effect is usually only a short term kind of thing. 

"Moisturises and eye creams containing hyaluronic acid will temporarily plump up the skin around the eyes for a more hydrated smooth appearance," said Dr McDonald.


4. Don't rub your eyes.

We know you're tired. We all are. But you're just going to mess up the delicate skin around your eyes and then come back and ask what you should do (don't worry, we'll still help you).

Not only can rubbing your eyes exacerbate lines and wrinkles, but it can also cause discolouration under your eyes (by increasing melanin production). 

This sounds so extra, but next time your eyes are itchy try applying a cold pack or something chilly. Or, just shut them for a bit. 

5. Get around eye masks.

Eye masks are good for posting on Instagram and all that jazz, but they actually work, too! How nice is that? 


"Peptide sheet masks or biocollagen eye masks are brilliant in this area, too. The more moisture, the better. Again, this area has no oil glands, so it is very vulnerable to being super dry and forming fine lines," said Dr D'Anna.

At night, Dr D'Anna suggests applying an eye mask to keep the area hydrated. "Silicone pads can be used at night to help keep the eye area moisturised and protected. Something like Wrinkles Schminkles Eye Wrinkle Patches ($42) can help (or a similar product)."

Wrinkle Schminkles Eye Smoothing Kit. Image: Supplied. 


6. Swap your usual pillowcase for a silk one.

OoOo! Look at you, you fancy thing! This one isn't just for fun, though, we swear. Because it turns out regular old pillowcases can be a real b*tch when you're sleeping, pulling at your skin and causing creases.

No good.

Watch: While we have you, you should totally check out these 7 easy ways to improve your skin while you're sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

The ideal way to avoid this is to sleep on your back, but many of us just CANNOT. Even for the sake of our skin. So, the next best thing is to get your hands on a silk pillowcase. 

"Silk pillowcases can help avoid the eye area pulling against rough sheets. You can also buy silk eye masks for sleeping at night which can be really helpful too," said Dr D'Anna.

Okay, gimme some options!

"Look for 100 per cent mulberry silk pillowcases, like LOVE SILK," recommended Hudson. "Mulberry Silk helps skin to retain its natural moisture, leaving the skin silkier upon waking. It also helps to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles caused by the lines of a pillowcase when you wake in the morning." 


We're also fans of Slip Silk Pillowcases.

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Hair coach @nakawunde knows what's what! #SlipSquad

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However, keep in mind that switching to a silk pillowcase isn't a cure-all kind of thing when it comes to preventing crow's feet. 

"I think silk pillowcases used consistently and for a number of years could possibly have a positive effect on the skin in some capacity, however I myself haven't seen sufficient data or evidence to support these claims or comment on what benefits we could see," adds Dr Arendse.


7. Consider non-invasive in-clinic treatments.

If you need to break out the big guns, it may be worth seeing a dermatologist to look at in-clinic treatments, like skin needling, laser and chemical peels. 

Sounds scary, we know, but most of these treatments involve minimal downtime, and you can usually go back to work and do your thing straight after.

"We recommend professional in-clinic treatments such as skin needling, chemical peels or lasers to rejuvenate and resurface the skin's surface. Over time, these treatments will aid in collagen production reducing the severity of fine lines and wrinkles," said Dr Arendse.

Before you get too excited and book in ALL the treatments, keep in mind that these are by no means a quick fix. You'll probably need to have a series of treatments to see results, so consult your skin expert and take a peak in your wallet to make sure you're prepared for the journey.

"The key here is having regular treatments," adds Dr Arendse. "Consistency will provide significant and long-term results."

Want a little tidbit on what these treatments involve? 

Skin needling

Having your face pricked with hundreds of tiny needles just doesn't sound like a good time, but it's actually so worth it. We're not massive fans of needles either, but the ones they use for this kind of treatment are so tiny you'll hardly feel a thing.


"Skin needling is an excellent option and works by triggering the body’s natural wound-healing process. The result? A growth in new collagen and an increase in skin volume," said Hudson.


"Energy-based devices, such as lasers or radiofrequency, are effective at regenerating the skin around the eyes by causing increased collagen protection and skin repair," said Dr McDonald.

Laser treatments basically work by tricking your body into thinking there is a small wound on your skin. The body then reacts by producing more collagen to heal the wound. So cheeky, right?

"Lasers that create a thermal response in the dermis help to stimulate new collagen production, such as Laser Genesis. This is an excellent option as there is no downtime and it promotes a vibrant healthy glow in the skin," adds Hudson.

Chemical peels

It may sound intense, but chemical peels are the sh*t when it comes to smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. They usually remove dead skin cells to help freshen your appearance and even out skin texture.

"Gentle medical grade peels can also be used around the eyes to stimulate skin renewal," said Dr McDonald. Have a chat with a skin specialist to check out your options.

Feature image: Getty

Do you have any ~extra~ tips for preventing crow's feet? Go on, tell us! Share with us in the comment section below.