Skin Types

Fitzpatrick skin typing

Fitzpatrick skin typing is a way of classifying skin types with specific reference to the risk of sunburn. Also known as the Fitzpatrick skin phototype, scientists developed the Fitzpatrick skin type system in 1975. It remains a useful way to determine skin type and skin cancer risk.

Experts established the Fitzpatrick skin types by asking people how their skin reacted to the sun. The results showed clear trends that allowed researchers to identify six different skin types, according to how much melanin was present.

Skin Type 1

Very pale white skin, often with green or blue eyes and fair or red hair. Burns without tanning.

Skin Type 2

White skin, often with blue eyes. Burns and does not tan easily.

Skin Type 3

Fair skin with brown eyes and brown hair. Burns first then tans.

Skin Type 4

Light brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. Burns a little and tans easily.

Skin Type 5

Brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. Easily tans to a darker colour and rarely burns.

Skin Type 6

Dark brown or black skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. Never burns but tans darker.

Aesthetic Practitioners use the Fitzpatrick scale to help determine how the client’s skin will respond to a treatment. It enables us to treat the client’s skin safely and avoid any adverse reactions such as burns and hyperpigmentation.

Skin types 1-3 have the least amount of melanin and can tolerate high energies during laser treatments. Skin types 4-6 have more melanin, so they have a greater risk and need to be treated with caution or may not be suitable for some treatments.