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Crow’s Feet

Often the first sign of aging, what we not-so-affectionately refer to as “crow’s feet” are wrinkles that radiate out from the corner of the eyes and, apparently, resemble the scaly, splayed feet of crows.  Also called squint lines, these wrinkles become a problem when skin loses elasticity and collagen over time.  They may show up earlier for people who do not care for their skin and later for those who do (source: Discovery Health).

You are more likely to develop crow’s feet if you (1) smoke cigarettes and if you (2) spend a lot of time in the sun (source: DailyGlow.com).  Both of these habits prematurely age skin, and both of these force squinting, which in turn promotes the formation of crow’s feet.  Also, people frequently skip sunscreen around their eyes, exposing this thinner skin to sun damage (source: Glamour.com).

How can you prevent crow’s feet, or improve their appearance?  Try protecting your skin from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen.  Exposure to UV rays is among the most common reason that skin loses elasticity and collagen.  As already noted, if you smoke, this damage is multiplied.

Drink water to stay hydrated and keep moisture levels up.

Try eye creams that contain retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and copper peptides (source: Discovery Health).  If over-the-counter creams don’t give you the results you are looking for, you may try consulting with a dermatologist, who can prescribe creams with higher concentrations of these ingredients.

Ultimately, crow’s feet are likely to develop for all of us.  They are, after all, simply part of aging.  But a little prevention and care can go a long way to not looking like this:

Take another look at the picture above: how old would you guess this woman is?  Late fifties?  Sixty-five?  Older?

Nope.  She is a walking example of what glaring, squinting, frowning, and refusing to take care of one’s skin can do to rapidly and unattractively age one’s face.  She is actually in her early 40’s, but her haggard, rough, and leathery skin, especially the deep, pronounced wrinkles around and between her eyes, makes her look much, much older.

There are worse things in life, of course, than developing crow’s feet.  But if you can prevent or slow them down, or at least not end up looking prematurely old like the unfortunate woman above, why wouldn’t you?

Anatomy of a Pimple

File this under gross but fascinating (or at least helpful to know, in order to take care of your skin!) We can all see what a nasty pimple is doing to the surface of our skin, but ever wonder what is going on underneath, where we can’t see?According to Healthwise, “Pimples form when dead skin cells mix with excess oil (sebum). This mixture plugs the pore, causing swelling. Bacteria can grow in the mix and lead to infection and pus.”

Yes, any statement containing the word “pus” is gross, but here’s more, from Edward Willet’s Science Column: “Strictly speaking, neither a blackhead or a whitehead is a pimple, which is bigger, redder and more painful. A pimple forms when bacterial growth gets out of hand: the sebaceous gland eventually bursts, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. More white blood cells rush to the site to fight the inflammation; they, in turn, can mix with the oil, bacteria and dead cells to form the worst kind of pimple of all, a white-tipped pustule–which, for some reason, we want to pick at and squeeze, although we shouldn’t, because that just spreads the infection around and can cause scarring.”

Why shouldn’t you squeeze a pimple? Take a look at this:

According to Health Seakers, when you squeeze a pimple, the pressure can spread the infection, as seen in their diagram above. This infection spreads above the skin but also deep inside the pore, which can cause scarring. When scar tissue forms, it can appear as a pit or depression in the skin.

Great, now we know that pimples are gross, “pus” is a nasty word, and diagrams of pimples are not to be viewed just before lunch. Besides impressing your friends, how does this knowledge benefit you, especially if you have a big, red zit taunting you right now?

Never fear: click here for WikiHow’s advice on how to get rid of a pimple, and click here for tips to avoid acne in the first place.

To wrap up today’s lesson, make sure you don’t fall for common myths about acne:

#1. Popping pimples is the best way to get rid of them.

#2. Eating fried foods or chocolate causes acne.

#3. Stress causes acne.

#4. Getting a tan clears up acne.

#5. You can get rid of acne by washing your face more.

#6. If you want to avoid acne, don’t wear make-up.

#7. Using more medicine will get rid of a pimple faster.

Click here for the full-length article and explanations of each myth!