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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Crow’s Feet Begone!

You don’t have to give up laughing and smiling in order to keep around-the-eye wrinkles at bay.

One of the first signs of aging crops up around the eyes as little lines better known as crow's feet. These are caused by thinning skin and loss of collagen and elastic tissue as we age, explains Dr. Jessica Wu, dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face. What's to blame? Sun, free-radical damage, years of eye muscle contractions when you squint and smile, and smoking. But it's never too late to prevent crow's feet from getting worse. Here, some eye-opening secrets.

1. Rub on the retinols.

Over-the-counter products with retinols and prescription retinoids can help smooth lines and make them less noticeable. “Numerous studies show that retinoids stimulate collagen production, making the skin thicker, stronger and more resistant to wrinkling,” says Wu. To avoid irritation, start with a pea-size amount once a week, working up to everyday use.

2. Stay hydrated.

Skin gets drier as we age, which just makes crow’s feet -- and most wrinkles -- stand out more. Regularly apply facial lotion or cream. Since skin around the eyes is the most sensitive, be sure to use a product made for the eye area.

3. Smooth skin from within.

“Eating plenty of protein is important since this is what collagen and elastic tissue are made of,” explains Wu. Put healthy omega-3 fats -- found in salmon, sardines, walnuts and avocados -- on the menu too, since they help skin hold onto moisture and produce its own natural oils.

4. Wear sunglasses.

“Sunglasses help block UV rays from reaching the skin and breaking down collagen,” says Wu. “They also prevent squinting and frowning in the sun, which contributes to crow’s feet.” Though you don’t have to spend a lot for a good pair, make sure your glasses protect against UVA and UVB rays.

5. Don’t skip the sunscreen.

You may remember to put sunscreen on the rest of your face, but many people skip the eye area -- a no-no since this skin is thin and susceptible to damage. “If you have sensitive skin or eyes, use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are less likely to produce fumes and sting,” explains Wu.

6. Make up right.

It's almost impossible to make crow’s feet disappear with makeup, but you can certainly make them look better. First, use a primer to help fill in fine lines, says Wu. Let it set for a few minutes, then use a cream eye shadow instead of powder. (Powder can settle into creases and make them stand out more.) Choose a light nude or pearly taupe shade, which will help camouflage shadows and brighten up your eyes.

About the Writer

Michele Bender is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Real Simple, More, Glamour, Self and iVillage. Michele also co-authors and ghost-writes books, several of which have been best-sellers. Her most recent one is Curly Girl: The Handbook. She is a frequent contributor to Completely You.

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