Crows feet form after years of repetitive muscle retractions like smiling and squinting that literally stretch and etch the folds into the skin around the eyes. Most guys start to see these folds becoming permanent wrinkles around the age of 40. This can be either good or bad. Some men – Hopkins, Eastwood, Clooney – just look more dignified. Others just look old, which is why men have been turning to Botox in increasing numbers since the FDA green-lit the treatment last year.
"Botox blocks the nerve signals that speak to the muscles so when you do smile or squint," Dr. Whitney Bowe, one of the first Board Certified Dermatologists to offer the crows feet treatment, told Men's Journal. "Used early on, it keeps the muscles next to your eyes relaxed, lessening the amount of time it would have been embedding squinted wrinkles." That means that boulinum toxin type A can both turn back the clock and serve as a prophylactic against wrinkles.
Dr. Bowe adds that the main risks of botox treatments, the expressionless look that comes with relaxed muscles, isn't actually a problem when it comes to crows feet. Injected next to the eye, Botox doesn't cause any noticeable change in emotive facial structure because the wrinkles that form at the corners of the eyes when smiling aren't used to send any social signals. Which means that the procedure – Dr. Bowe describes it as safer than eating FDA-approved supplements – shouldn't be a big deal.
In that spirit, we gave Botox a try.
The procedure takes between five and ten minutes and consists of six to eight injections on the outer rim of the eye socket, at the edge of where a pair of aviators would shadow your face. The injections themselves aren't painful, but leave mosquito bite-sized red bumps that disappear a few minutes later. And that's it. We went back to work.
You shouldn't run out and get a facial, hit the gym, or drink your face off directly afterwards, but there are no serious restrictions. It felt a little numb in the area for about three days, which hardly kept us up at night. The only real effect was the lack of any skin crunching at the sides of our tired eyes. We noticed, but no one else said anything.
The effects last between 3 and 4 months and, surprisingly, dosages will decrease with every visit. "Botox trains the muscles to relax, so unlike drugs where your body builds up resistance, the muscle only becomes more and more used to not moving with every treatment," Dr. Bowe explains. While the treatment helps alleviate wrinkles, it will not take away dark circles or bags. For that you need something called "filler" which is different than Botox and will most likely leave you bruised after the procedure.
We had a positive experience. The only surprise was how little there was to the experience. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to get wrinkles over. [Botox for crows feet with Dr. Bowe are from $350 to $550; drwhitneybowe.com]