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What Is Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type And Why Is It Important? Everything You NEED To Know!

Chhavi PorwalChhavi Porwal  |  May 16, 2019
What Is Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type And Why Is It Important? Everything You NEED To Know!

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The world is full of colours and skin types and we have discovered uncountable ways of categorising them but have you heard about the Fitzpatrick Skin Type scale yet? What is Fitzpatrick skin type? Fitzpatrick skin typing happens to be one of the most effective ways of classifying different types of skin. It’s a numerical classification scheme for various skin tones. Based on how your skin reacts to the sun or ultraviolet (UV) light, your Fitzpatrick skin type can be determined which further can prevent skin cancer.

Once you grade yourself on the Fitzpatrick scale, you will have a better idea of how to care for your skin. It also helps you assess and prevent the triggers that might damage your skin. 

The scale of Fitzpatrick skin type, also known as Fitzpatrick skin phototype, is an efficient, accurate tool that’s recognized the world over. It is a tool that’s used in dermatological research and it helps approximate the skin cancer risk on the basis of human skin pigmentation. The system was developed in 1975. 

As per the data, the skin types can be segregated in six parts. However, it is important to remember that the categories are based on anecdotal evidence. So while self-assessing, there is a possibility that you might not find yourself in one particular group.   

Different Fitzpatrick Skin Type

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart

Things You Should Know About The Six Fitzpatrick Skin Types

Want To Protect Your Skin From The Sun Damage Learn Everything About Fitzpatrick Skin Types!

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Fitzpatrick skin types are useful in assessing the health of your skin. What’s my Fitzpatrick skin type? If you understand your skin type as per these six groups, you’ll be able to protect your skin from sun damage in the best way possible. And avoiding sun damage will further reduce the risk of skin cancer. It’s always better to keep a check on skin cancer so it can be prevented or diagnosed at an early stage, especially in the places where the sun is stronger and can damage the skin.

Each skin type has different characteristics and is prone to different risks. There are some basic ones that you must be aware of. The six Fitzpatrick types and associated skin, hair and colour are numbered according to how much melanin is present in the skin. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 1 are:

  • Ivory skin before sun exposure.
  • Light blue, light grey or light green eyes.
  • Naturally red hair or blonde.
  • Burns in the sun.
  • Peels due to sun exposure.
  • Freckles appear.
  • Doesn’t get tanned.

Risks

  • Sun damage.
  • Skin ageing.
  • Melanoma and other skin cancers.

For Protection

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Limit exposure to the sun and find shade while walking in the sun as much as possible.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face from the sun.
  • Wear sun-blocking UV glasses.
  • Get your skin checked from doctor annually.
  • Keep a monthly check on your head to toe skin.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 2 are:

  • Fair before sun exposure.
  • Blue, grey or green eyes.
  • Naturally blonde hair.

Risks

  • Skin burns and peels off when exposed to the sun.
  • Freckles often appear.
  • Tans poorly.
  • Skin cancer.

For Protection

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Limit exposure to the sun and find shade while walking in the sun as much as possible.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face from the sun.
  • Wear sun-blocking UV glasses.
  • Get your skin checked from doctor annually.
  • Keep a monthly check on your head to toe skin.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 3 are:

  • Darker white skin but with golden undertone.
  • Brown or hazel eyes.
  • Naturally light brown or blonde hair.

Risks

  • Occasionally burns when in the sun.
  • Occasionally tans in the sun.
  • The skin may have freckles.
  • Skin cancer.

For Protection

  • Limit exposure to the sun.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Get your skin checked annually by a doctor.
  • Check your head to toe skin every month. Carefully look for unusual growth. The most common type of melanoma amongst deeper skinned colours is acral lentiginous melanoma. It appears on the areas not exposed to the sun and mostly remains undetected until cancer has spread in the body, so keep a close check. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 4 are:

  • Olive or light brown skin.
  • Dark brown eyes.
  • Naturally dark brown hair.

Risks

  • Often, doesn’t have freckles.
  • Often, doesn’t burn.
  • Tans often. 
  • Skin cancer.

For Protection

  • Limit exposure to the sun.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Get your skin checked annually by a doctor.
  • Check your head to toe skin every month. Carefully look for unusual growth. The most common type of melanoma amongst deeper skinned colours is acral lentiginous melanoma. It appears on the areas not exposed to the sun and mostly remains undetected until cancer has spread in the body, so keep a close check.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 5 are:

  • Brown or dark brown skin.
  • Dark brown eyes
  • Dark brown or black hair.

Risks

  • Freckles rarely appear.
  • Hardly burns in the sun.
  • Always tans.  
  • Skin cancer.

For Protection

  • Limit exposure to the sun.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Get your skin checked annually by a doctor.
  • Check your head to toe skin every month. Carefully look for unusual growth. The most common type of melanoma amongst deeper skinned colours is acral lentiginous melanoma. It appears on the areas not exposed to the sun and mostly remains undetected until cancer has spread in the body, so keep a close check.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

The basic characteristics of Fitzpatrick skin type 6 are:

  • Dark brown to black skin.
  • Brown-black eyes.
  • Black hair.

Risks

  • No freckles.
  • No burns.
  • Always develops a dark tan.
  • Skin cancer.

For Protection

  • Limit exposure to the sun.
  • Wear a hat with a wider brim to protect your head and face.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Get your skin checked annually by a doctor.
  • Check your head to toe skin every month. Carefully look for unusual growth. The most common type of melanoma amongst deeper skinned colours is acral lentiginous melanoma. It appears on the areas not exposed to the sun and mostly remains undetected until cancer has spread in the body, so keep a close check.

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart

You can use a Fitzpatrick skin type chart to self-assess your skin type. You just have to answer each question and keep adding the score. Once the process is complete, you’ll have a scale chart that will specify one of the six categories for you. It’s a quick quiz, so get started right away!

Genetic Disposition

Score  0 1 2 3 4
Select the colour of your eyes Light blue, light grey or light green Blue, grey or green Blue Dark brown Brown-black
Select the natural colour of your hair Red Blonde Dark blonde or chestnut  Dark brown Black
Select the colour of the non-exposed areas of your skin Reddish Very pale  Pale with a tint of beige Light brown Dark brown
Select the density of freckles on the non-exposed areas of your skin A lot Several Few Incidental None

Calculate the total score.

Skin’s Reaction To Sun Exposure 

Score 0 1 2 3 4
What happens when your skin is exposed to the sun for too long? Painful redness, blistering and peeling Blistering followed by peeling Burs sometimes followed by peeling Rarely burns Never burns
To what degree does your skin turn brown?  Hardly or not at all Light colour tan Reasonable tan Tans very easily Turns dark brown quickly
Do you turn brown within several hours of sun exposure? Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always
How does your face react to the sun? Very sensitive Sensitive Normal Very resistant Never a problem

Calculate the total score.

Tan Score

Score 0 1 2 3 4
When was your body last exposed to the sun or artificial sunlamp or tanning cream? More than 3 months ago 2-3 months ago 1-2 months ago Less than a month ago Less than two weeks ago
Did you expose the area to be treated to the sun? Never Hardly ever Sometimes Often Always

Calculate the total score.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale  

Add up the score of each section and choose the number from the scale below to know your skin type.

0-7 1
8-16 2
17-25 3
26-30 4
Above 30 5-6

Now that you have your score and know your Fitzpatrick skin type, start taking care of it accordingly against sun exposure.

Also Read: Gold, Oxy Or Fruit? Here’s The BEST Facial For Your Skin Type!, What Is Your EXACT Skin Type? Here’s How To Find Out… and Face Tales: The No-Makeup Makeup Guide For Different Skin Types!

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