I'm protective of my skin. I'm like helicopter parent protective of my skin. It started when I was 13 and I would wear my jacket over top of my head to shield my face from the sun. My friends thought I was crazy, I knew they were right, and I did it anyway.
When I was 16 I went on some acne meds that suggested I avoid the sun. Oh boy! Medical advice that told me to do something I was already doing, but now with clout! Seriously nothing more awesome than being able to justify what has always been neurotic behaviour with announcing it's doctor's orders. I took the liberty of spending even more time in the shade. I crossed the street if the trees on the other side seemed to offer more cover from the sun. I'd plot walking routes according to the time of day and tall buildings and trees to stay out of the sun the most.
As a kid I was slathered in sun screen at my daycare (Which I was stuck attending till I was 10, which is another story for another day), and my mom was militant about SPF. My dad in contrast used to burn his skin on purpose to "build a good foundation." He used to get my brother and I to peel off his sunburns. I think it had a bit of an effect on me. In addition to having a strong aversion to the sun, I now greatly enjoy picking at things.
By the time I left high school, I was preoccupied with premature aging. We're talking creams, facials, moisturizers with SPF, masks, the works. And all while avoiding the sun. I never took up smoking for the sole reason of not wanting to damage my skin. Plus it was smelly and tastes like sour wet dog. But even if it made my soul sing, the skin damage alone would have put the kibosh on that. I brought home some expensive anti-wrinkle cream in college and weeks after asked my college boyfriend if he noticed anything different about my skin, and said I'd been using this cream. He said it worked miracles on my terribly wrinkled 20-year-old face. I probably had that one coming.
It's not that I'm afraid of looking old... exactly. It's not even that I'm against natural aging. It's just that it's the one thing that I've been aware of my whole life, whereas every other natural thing about getting older I simply assumed would just not happen to me. Gaining weight? Pfft, as if. Gray hair? Ha! Maybe when I'm 50! (That's another story, a dark tale of woe)
But getting wrinkles, now there is a battle I'm going to be prepared for. And wouldn't you know, I have the beginnings of crows feet and a nice long line in my forehead. It hardly seems fair.
Mr. Sun, you win this round. But it's not over.