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6 Skin Phototypes

Fitzpatrick Skin Types

The skin phototype classification system was developed in 1975 by a Harvard Medical School professor, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick. The system divided human skin into 6 categories, which are determined by a direct dependency between skin color (constant amount of melanin pigment in the epidermis) and the effect of exposure to tanning. People with lighter skin, hair, and eyes are more sensitive to UV exposure. On the contrary, the more melanin in the skin, the darker the color of skin, eyes, and hair. This type of person is better able to tolerate solar radiation.

Phototype I — Celtic.

  • Skin — Very pale, sometimes translucent, milky white or porcelain tone, easily blushes due to nervous tension, often with many freckles. Representatives of this category have a peculiar feature - pale nipples. It is caused by the low content of melanin in this zone. This skin type is typical for Europeans.
  • Hair — almost always very blonde or red.
  • Eyes — blue, gray, or green.

Reaction to UV exposure: the highest level of photosensitivity. Since the pigment is produced in small amounts, people may experience signs of a first-degree burn (hyperemia and pain) within 15 minutes of being in the sun. Subsequently, it results in peeling skin and long-term residual hyperpigmentation. Even tan is almost impossible to achieve.

Recommendations: since this prototype is at the highest risk of developing skin cancer, it is advisable always to avoid sun exposure. If it is necessary to stay in the sun, you must use photoprotective agents.

Famous representatives of skin phototype I — Nicole Kidman, Claudia Schiffer, Renee Zellweger, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore.

Phototype II — Nordic, Aryan, Scandinavian, Germanic, East European, light European, light-skinned European.

  • Skin — light; few or no freckles. This phototype is also common in Europeans.
  • Hair — various shades of light brown or light blond color.
  • Eyes — blue, gray, green, rarely light brown.

Reaction to UV exposure: a relatively high level of photosensitivity. Burns easily (after about 20 minutes of sun exposure). The skin tans poorly and the tan does not last.

Recommendations — it is possible to get a golden skin tone in the case of infrequent and short sunbathing sessions (no more than 10 minutes) during "safe hours" (until 11 a.m. and after 4 p.m.).

Celebrities — Charlize Theron, Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz, Marilyn Monroe.

Phototype III — Central European, dark European, mixed, dark-skinned European.

  • Skin — slightly dark, with an olive or ivory tint, almost no freckles.
  • Hair — brown, dark blond, rarely black.
  • Eyes — gray, brown.

Reaction to UV exposure: tans easily and quickly, creating a moderate dark shade; however, burns due to excessive primary exposure to the sun (more than half an hour).

Recommendations — a rational insolation regime, especially in the case of sudden relocation to southern latitudes.

Representatives — Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Hurley, Natalie Portman, Christine Davis.

Phototype IV — Mediterranean, South European.

  • Skin — dark, olive, no freckles. The phototype is typical for residents of Latin America, Asia, the Caucasus, and the Mediterranean.
  • Hair — dark brown or black.
  • Eyes — brown, dark brown or black.

Reaction to UV exposure: the skin has high natural protection (about 40 minutes); it quickly gets a deep and permanent tan. Burns rarely, but long-term exposure to high doses of ultraviolet radiation can cause photoaging.

Celebrities — Monica Bellucci, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria.

Phototype V — Middle Eastern, Indonesian, Asian.

  • Skin — dark, dark brown with yellowish tint; no freckles. The phototype is found mainly in residents of Southeast Asia and many Latin American countries.
  • Hair — dark brown or black.
  • Eyes — dark brown or black.

Reaction to UV exposure — a high level of natural skin protection, almost never burns (it happens under very intense and long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation). The acquired tan is almost invisible when compared with natural pigmentation.

Famous representatives — Nicole Scherzinger, Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu.

Phototype VI — African American, African.

  • Skin — dark brown or bluish-black. The phototype is inherent in people from the African continent and Australian aborigines.
  • Hair — black.
  • Eyes — dark brown or black.

Reaction to UV exposure: the natural protection from UV exposure can be considered ideal, as people belonging to this category can be constantly exposed to direct sunlight without any damage; never burns.

Celebrities — Naomi Campbell, Tina Turner, Whoopi Goldberg.

Skin phototypes should be taken into account when choosing a good and safe tanning regime. Besides, pay attention to your phototype when buying photoprotective products and undergoing certain cosmetic procedures. This step will prevent burns, maintain your beauty and protect your health.

Learn More About The Effects Of UV Rays On Skin