Fitzpatrick Skin-Type Scale - Use the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart to calculate your skin type
Posted Jan 26 2009 4:53pm
One fundamental property of the skin is its ability to respond to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). In many persons and populations these responses are clearly adaptive where the first response, erythema (redness), is both a signal to the sunburned person to stay inside and also a sign that the immune system is active and the healing process has begun.
Neomelanogenesis (tanning) is the second pigmentary response, which is adaptive in facilitating the development of darker skin on exposed regions of the body protecting against future UVR exposures. The degree to which a person or population responds to UVR is highly variable. For example, a person of Northern European ancestry with the classic ‘red hair and freckles’ phenotype experiences a severe burn but obtains only a minimal tan even after repeated exposures; alternatively, another person of the same ancestry may experience no burning reaction and obtain a substantial tan after only one exposure.
Skin response was found to be important clinically when treatment protocols were established in the 1970s for phototherapy regimes for psoriasis and other skin conditions. In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick and coworkers put forward a classification scheme to assist in determining the initial doses of UVA in PUVA treatments.
In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, developed a classification system for skin typing. This system was based on a person's complexion and responses to sun exposure. Today, this classification system is also used to aid practitioners in the care of their patients. For successful laser and light therapy, it is necessary to determine your correct skin type.
One of the important parameters for the success of laser treatments is the correct typing of the skin.
Skin type is often categorized according to the Fitzpatrick skin type scale, which ranges from very fair (skin type I) to very dark (skin type VI). The two main factors that influence skin type and the treatment programme devised by physicians are:
Reaction to sun exposure and tanning habits
Skin type is determined genetically and is one of the many aspects of your overall appearance, which also includes the colour of eyes, hair, etc. The way skin reacts to sun exposure is another important factor in correctly assessing skin types. Recent tanning (sun bathing, artificial tanning or tanning creams) has a major impact on the evaluation of your skin colour.
The Fitzpatrick Skin-Type Chart
You can use this skin-type chart for self-assessment, by adding up the score for each of the questions you’ve answered.
At the end there is a scale providing a range for each of the six skin-type categories. Following the scale is an explanation of each of the skin types. You can quickly and easily determine which skin type you are. In addition, you need to identify another aspect of your skin type. That is whether you have oily, dry, normal or sensitive skin. In order to do this visit ‘What’s my Skin type’.
What is the colour of your eyes?
Light blue, Grey, Green
Blue, Grey or Green
What is the natural colour of your hair?
What is the colour of your skin (non exposed areas)?
Pale with Beige tint
Do you have freckles on unexposed areas?
Total score for Genetic Disposition: _____
Reaction to Sun Exposure
What happens when you stay in the sun too long?
Painful redness, blistering, peeling
Blistering followed by peeling
Burns sometimes followed by peeling
Never had burns
To What degree do you turn brown?
Hardly or not at all
Light colour tan
Tan very easy
Turn dark brown quickly
Do you turn brown within several hours after sun exposure?
How does your face react to the sun?
Never had a problem
Total score for Reaction to Sun Exposure: _____
When did you last expose your body to sun (or artificial sunlamp/tanning cream)?
More than 3 months ago
2-3 months ago
1-2 months ago
Less than a month ago
Less than 2 weeks ago
Did you expose the area to be treated to the sun?
Total score for Tanning Habits: _____
Add up the total scores for each of the three sections for your Skin Type Score.
Skin Type Score - Fitzpatrick Skin Type
TYPE 1: Highly sensitive, always burns, never tans. Example: Red hair with freckles
TYPE 2: Very sun sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally. Example: Fair skinned, fair haired Caucasians
TYPE 3: Sun sensitive skin, sometimes burns, slowly tans to light brown. Example: Darker Caucasians.
TYPE 4: Minimally sun sensitive, burns minimally, always tans to moderate brown. Example: Mediterranian type Caucasians.
TYPE 5: Sun insensitive skin, rarely burns, tans well. Example: Some Hispanics, some Blacks
TYPE 6: Sun insensitive, never burns, deeply pigmented. Example: Darker Blacks.
Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.