Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale: Skin Phototypes and Skin Conditions

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ftizpatrick skin tone scale

What’s Your Score on the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Scale?

Determining your skin tone and undertone helps for picking makeup like foundation. But there’s a bigger reason to check out the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale. Your particular skin tone can play a role in the condition of, as well as how you care for your skin. From wrinkles, to hyperpigmentation to acne, here’s what the Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype Scale has to say about how your light skin or dark complexion can make you more likely to face common skin issues:

What’s the Meaning of Fitzpatrick Skin Type? Why is it Important?

Fitzpatrick Skin Classification was developed by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD in 1975, as a scale to assess the reactivity of different types of skin to Ultraviolet light. Six different categories (Fitzpatrick I-VI) were created, which correlated with the level of skin pigmentation (melanin) and sunburn following sun exposure. Fitzpatrick I corresponds with the lightest of skin complexions, while Fitzpatrick VI corresponds with the darkest skin. The scale remains a commonly used tool by dermatologists and practitioners of aesthetic medicine to determine the best skincare treatments for different skin types.

What are the Six Fizpatrick Skin Types on the Classification Scale?

Fitzpatrick Type 1

  • The palest complexion with least melanin (ivory skin)
  • Light blue, gray or green eyes
  • Light blonde to red hair
  • Typically, Northern European, Nordic or Scandinavian descent
  • Most susceptible to Ultraviolet sun damage
  • Always burns, never tans, prone to freckles

Fitzpatrick Type 2

  • Pale skin to fair complexion
  • Blue, grey or green eyes
  • Blonde hair
  • Typically, Northern European, Scottish or Celtic descent
  • Usually burns, tans minimally, may be prone to freckles

Fitzpatrick Type 3

  • Fair skin to beige complexion with warm undertones
  • Typically, hazel or light brown eyes, although can have any color eyes
  • Dark blond to light brown hair
  • Typically, Southern European descent
  • Mild burns, tans uniformly

Fitzpatrick Type 4

  • Olive tone (cool undertones) to light brown complexion
  • Typically, brown eyes, although can have hazel eyes
  • Brown hair
  • Typically, Mediterranean, Hispanic or Latino descent
  • Burns minimally, always tans well

Fitzpatrick Type 5

  • Dark brown skin
  • Brown to dark brown eyes
  • Brown to black hair
  • Typically, Middle Eastern, Asian or Native American descent
  • Very rarely burns, tans very easily

Fitzpatrick Type 6

  • The darkest complexion with the most melanin (dark brown to black skin)
  • Dark brown to black eyes
  • Dark brown to black hair
  • Typically, African or Eastern Indian descent
  • Least susceptible to Ultraviolet sun damage
  • Never burns, always tans darkly

What are Common Skin Conditions by Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Scale Type?

For the most part, skin conditions are color blind. However, the amount of melanin in your skin can determine your susceptibility to everything from aging to hyperpigmentation (sun spots, age spots and brown or dark marks) to acne. Here’s more:

Skin Phototype I and II:

  • UV Sensitive, more skin cancer risk
  • Prone to dry skin
  • Prone to sun spots and freckles
  • Thinner skin and less collagen production than other phototypes
  • More prone to Rosacea
  • Prone to photoaging (sun damage)
  • More likely to develop fine lines and wrinkles with aging

Skin Phototype III and IV:

  • More collagen and sebum production than paler skin
  • Skin discoloration, such as scarring, under eye circles or bruising, greater than paler skin
  • Thicker skin makes skin more susceptible to visible scarring
  • Larger pore size than pale complexions
  • Less prone to photoaging
  • Skin more likely to sag with aging
  • Later onset of fine lines and wrinkles

Skin Phototype V and VI:

  • UV Resistant, less skin cancer risk
  • Acne-prone skin with larger pore size
  • Prone to skin pigmentation issues, such as uneven skin tone or blotchy skin
  • Prone to Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) following skin inflammation, including acne, rashes or eczema
  • More prone to melasma
  • Thicker skin makes skin susceptible to keloid scarring and issues with skin’s texture
  • Least prone to photoaging
  • Latest onset of fine lines and wrinkles, due to thicker skin and increased collagen production

Where Can I Find a Fitzpatrick Skin Type Questionnaire or Quiz?

It’s easy to find out whether you’re a Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1 or Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6 by taking a Fitzpatrick Skin Type questionnaire, quiz or calculator online.

How Does the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale Help with Skincare

The Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale has particular relevance for determining the efficacy of laser treatments by skin type. Specifically, the scale is used to select the proper setting for the laser, in order to avoid adverse effects, such as darkening spots that should have been faded or eliminated. This is particularly meaningful in the area of laser hair removal and photofacial IPL treatments. It has similar application for facial chemical peels, among other treatments.

BaDoes Smooth Synergy Have Experience with My Skin Phototype?

Our experienced skin care professionals are highly skilled and experienced in taking your Fitzpatrick skin type into consideration, when creating an individual treatment plan that’s right for you. Call us at 212-397-0111 to speak with an Expert in Beauty about your specific skincare concerns. We offer a full range of skincare and beauty treatments for every skin type and tone on the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale, and can tailor treatments to meet your personal skincare goals..


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