Summer is here in full force, and it’s a great time to consider how our individual skin tone impacts the cosmetic and health choices we face when the sun is out. Understanding your own skin type is crucial to maintaining healthy and beautiful skin this summer. The Fitzpatrick skin type scale is one of the most common methods of classifying skin types, and ranges from Type I to Type VI. The scale was created by Dr Thomas B. Fitzpatrick in 1975, and has been widely used as a standard for dermatologists and skin care experts ever since.
Your own Fitzpatrick skin type is determined by both genetics and your skin’s reaction to sun exposure. Naturally fair-skinned people who sunburn quickly will have lower skin type numbers, while men and women with darker skin tones and a higher tolerance for sun exposure will be closer to the higher end. Discover your own Fitzpatrick skin type by checking out the chart below, or consulting your dermatologist.
The lower your Fitzpatrick skin type number, the more vigilant you should be in protecting your skin from the sun since you have a higher risk of sun damage like photoaging and possibly skin cancer. Cosmetics with built-in SPF protection, seeking the shade outside, or stylish hats and cover-ups are all great choices for women with skin types I-IV this summer. Although somewhat less vulnerable to sun damage, women with skin types V-VI should also take steps to protect themselves, such as always applying sunscreen before hitting the beach and scheduling a yearly check-up with a dermatologist.
Knowing your skin type can help you make informed decisions about everything from cosmetic products and procedures to understanding your risk for skin disease. Take a look at the chart below to see where your individual skin tone falls on the Fitzpatrick scale and just for fun, find out if your celebrity skin twin is Emma Stone, Lucy Liu, Sandra Bullock, Freida Pinto, Beyoncé or Naomi Campbell.
References & Research Material
Fun, Informative Quiz Determines Skin Type and Celebrity
The Fitzpatrick Scale: How to Type Your Skin Tone Like a Dermatologist
Canadian Dermatology Association
Fitzpatrick, TB. “The Validity and Practicality of Sun-Reactive Skin Types I Through Vi.” Archives of Dermatology. 124.6 (1988): 869-71. Print.