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Fitzpatrick Scale- What Skin Type Are You?

13/02/2018

 In 1975 Dr Thomas Fitzpatrick developed a way to evaluate a persons response to UV exposure in terms of the degree of burning and tanning! (hence the name).

This system became known as the Fitzpatrick scale and since has been widely used by Doctors, nurses and practitioners to help determine the best and strength of certain treatments like laser and chemical peels.

The Fitzpatrick Scale

The Fitzpatrick skin type system specifies six skin types. Starting from type 1 (skin that never tans and always burns) to type 6 (which always tans and never burns).

Skin Type 1 - Imagine Emma Stone - Red, fair hair. Green or blue eyes, pale skin with freckles. Burns very easily and never tans. Very sensitive to UV exposure.

Skin Type 2 - Imagine Margot Robbie - Blonde, darker blondes, red hair. Green, blue, grey and hazel eyes. Pale skin. Burns easily, rarely tans. Fairly sensitive to UV exposure.

Skin Type 3 - Imagine - Demi Moore - light brown, dark blonde, chestnut hair. Brown, blue, hazel, green, grey eye colour. Neutral skin colour. Skin is defined by gradual tan, sometimes burns. Sensitive to UV exposure.

Skin Type 4 - Imagine Mila Kunis - brown, dark brown, medium brown hair shade. Hazel or brown eyes. Skin is naturally tanned, olive.

Skin Type 5 - Imagine Beyonce - dark brown to black hair. Brown eye colour. Darker complexion, which never burns tans easily and quickly darkens. Minimally sensitive to UV exposure.

Skin Type 6 - Serena Williams - black hair, dark eye colour. Dark and deep skin colour, defined by the absence of burns and the ability to obtain a dark tan with ease. Minimally sensitive to UV exposure.

 

How Skin Types React To UV

Skin Types 1-4

Light and dark skins react differently to exposure. In lighter skins, signs of sun damage include wrinkling and sagging, thread veins and solar lentigines among many others. For those who are a skin type 1 with red hair, they produce pheomelanin and that is largely ineffective in protecting the skin against UV rays, lighter skins are also more likely to show ageing before their darker skinned counterparts. Dark skinned clients usually look more youthful for longer, they have inherent protection meaning ageing is much more delayed then it would be for Caucasians.

Skin Tyes 5-6

When it comes to darker skin types how the skin reacts to sun exposure is dictated by the amount of melanin. Those with skin type 6 mainly produce all eumelanin and that is very dark and highly effective at blocking UV rays and protecting the skin against UV damage. But it is a common mistake that clients with skin types 5/6 do not need sun protection. Whilst darker skin types have fewer issues with wrinkling and sagging they are prone to pigmentation, often seen as sun spots or melasma.