Eye wrinkles (crow's feet to most of us) are a common and highly visible sign of ageing, but is there anything that can be done without succumbing to a stint in an unflattering surgical gown?
Firstly, the facts. As we get older our skin loses some of its elasticity as the elastin fibres start to wear out. We also start to produce less collagen under the skin, with the combination of these two things making the skin wrinkle and sag. The skin dries out as the sweat and sebum glands produce less and less, making it even more important to moisturise regularly.
Exposure to too much sun has its part to play as well, with collagen fibres damaged and abnormal quantities of elastin produced. You'd think this would be a good thing – more elastic skin is less likely to sag right? Wrong, unfortunately. Your body produces more of a protein called (deep breath) metalloproteinases to remodel the damaged skin, but this rebuilding process, when repeated, can cause new wrinkles to develop.
However the most common cause of crow's feet is the tiny muscles next to our eyes contracting as we change our facial expressions, so unless you don't ever plan to smile again, you're on to a loser trying to avoid them.
So, what are the wonder ingredients that can apparently lessen our lines and return us to the blissful smoothness of our misspent youth? They tend to contain a product that reduces or relaxes muscles or a product such as retinol, a vitamin A derivative that is clinically proven to improve the quality of the skin. As with stretch marks, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) may help to stimulate collagen and elastin production, but there's less clinical evidence available here.
The problem is that most over the counter products contain active ingredients in only very small quantities, making it unlikely that these will have a big effect on the skin.