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What is a Fitzpatrick Scale and Why is it Important?

Fitzpatrick Scale

What is a Fitzpatrick Scale and Why is it Important?

Have you heard of the Fitzpatrick Scale? When it comes to taking care of your skin, it can be tricky to find what skincare routine works best for you. Sometimes, even when you find skin care products that seemingly work on the surface level, you could potentially not be getting the full benefits your skin needs. Utilizing the Fitzpatrick Scale can improve your success in achieving the skincare results you want. 

What is the Fitzpatrick Scale? 

The Fitzpatrick Scale is a classification system for various skin types that was established in the 1970s. In essence, this system recognizes six different skin types, based on a number of criteria. These factors that are used to determine someone’s Fitzpatrick skin type can include variables such as the skin’s natural color or pigmentation, what color the individual’s eyes are, the natural color of their hair, and what kinds of reactions their skin has when exposed to the sun. 

Based on the descriptions of the skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale, most people can identify which one most closely describes their skin. While this self-research is great, in order to truly know your skin type, you should seek a professional opinion. At Resurgence Wellness, we can help you determine where your skin falls on the Fitzpatrick scale. We’ll go over the different skin types in a moment, but we want to point out why knowing your skin type is crucial. 

Why is the Fitzpatrick Scale Important? 

The Fitzpatrick scale is beneficial in finding skin care products that will address your skin type’s concerns and potential problems. Knowing your skin type can help you determine how susceptible you are to certain skin conditions, such as excessive sun damage and even skin cancer. When you know what your skin type’s risks are, you can better accommodate them. 

For instance, some skin types are more sensitive to sun exposure than others, and therefore require more protection when spending extended periods of time outdoors. In other cases, certain skin types need more attention to catch potentially harmful problems early on. Utilizing the Fitzpatrick scale to determine what your skin type’s needs are can eliminate a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding skin care products that are effective. It is crucial to maximizing your skin’s protection, so let’s take a look at what exactly these skin types are! 

What are the Fitzpatrick Skin Types & What Do They Mean? 

As we have mentioned already, there are six recognized skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale. These types are primarily focused on the skin’s pigmentation and how it reacts to sun exposure. However, trends in eye color and hair color have also been noted. 

 

Fitzpatrick Scale

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1

This skin type is characterized by a very pale, ivory-like natural skin pigmentation that typically has a pink undertone. It is often paired with light eye colors such as light blue, light gray, or light green. The natural hair colors most commonly associated with skin type 1 are red and light blonde. This skin type freckles very easily, burns almost always, peels significantly when sunburnt, and does not tan. 

If you have this skin type, it is extremely important that you use sun protection whenever you spend any amount of time outdoors. Skin type 1 is especially susceptible to damage from sun exposure and has a higher risk of developing melanoma or other types of skin cancer. Limit your time in the sun, apply sunscreen frequently, wear protective clothing, and spend as much time outdoors in the shade as possible. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

This skin type is characterized by a pale or fair natural skin pigmentation that typically has a neutral or pink undertone. It is often paired with eye colors such as blue, gray, or green. The natural hair color most commonly associated with skin type 2 is blonde. This skin type freckles frequently, burns very often, peels noticeably when sunburnt, and tans almost never. 

If you have this skin type, it is important to protect yourself from harmful exposure to the sun at all times. While the effects that you experience may not be as severe as skin type 1, you are just as susceptible to skin cancers, including melanoma. You also have the potential to experience premature skin aging from excessive sun exposure. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

This skin type is characterized by a fair to medium natural skin pigmentation that typically has a neutral or warm undertone. It is often paired with eye colors such as hazel or light brown. The natural hair colors most commonly associated with skin type 3 are dark blonde and light brown. This skin type freckles only on occasion, barely burns, does not peel, and will tan sometimes. 

If you have this skin type, it is still important to use sun protection while you are outdoors even though you do not burn often. There is still always a slight chance that you could develop skin cancer or sunspots, so utilizing even a lower SPF sunscreen can help prevent issues in the future. Ensure that you are taking breaks from the sun and staying hydrated. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

This skin type is characterized by an olive or light brown natural skin pigmentation that typically has a warm undertone. It is often paired with a dark brown hair color and is commonly associated with a dark brown natural hair color. This skin type rarely freckles, only burns in extreme circumstances, and tans frequently. 

If you have this skin type, it may not be essential to coat yourself with sunscreen every time you step out the door, however, when you are planning on spending an extended period of time outdoors, applying a lower SPF sunscreen is a good idea. Be careful not to use tanning oils or lotions that make your skin more sensitive or susceptible to sunburn, and keep an eye out for any abnormalities that pop up. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

This skin type is characterized by a dark brown natural skin pigmentation. It is often paired with eye colors such as dark brown or black. The natural hair colors most commonly associated with skin type 5 are dark brown and black. This skin type does not freckle, does not usually burn, and tans in any sun exposure. 

If you have this skin type, you are probably fairly used to going outdoors with no sun protection at all. While your skin may not need sunscreen, it is still advisable to use discretion when spending excessive amounts of time outdoors. During and after any time spent in the sun, ensure that you and your skin are properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water and replenishing your skin’s protective barrier so you do not experience skin aging or sunspots. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

This skin type is characterized by a deep, dark brown to brownish-black natural skin pigmentation. It is often paired with a brownish-black eye color and is commonly associated with a black natural hair color. This skin type never freckles, does not ever burn, and tans very darkly in sun exposure. 

If you have this skin type, you are likely accustomed to not needing any form of skin protection while you are enjoying the sun. This may be the case in many circumstances, however, minimum protection is still recommended to keep your skin as healthy as possible. One thing to keep an eye out for with this skin type is acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM). This form of melanoma is not directly linked to sun exposure and actually is most commonly found in areas of the body that do not experience much sun exposure at all. While this skin type is not as susceptible to other forms of skin cancer, it is still advised to perform regular examinations of your entire body in order to catch potential problems early on. 

Why Resurgence Wellness for Your Skincare Needs? 

When you familiarize yourself with what kind of skin type you have, as well as what the risks are and what your needs are, you set yourself up for a successful skincare future. Resurgence Wellness can assist you with determining where your skin type falls on the Fitzpatrick scale, and we can pair that knowledge with our state-of-the-art 3D facial scan. Let our team of experts treat any trouble spots, inform you on how to better protect yourself, and treat you with a little pampering with the most luxurious facials in Arlington, TX. Get in touch with us to set up your next appointment today! 

 

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