Fitzpatrick Skin-Type Scale - Use the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart to calculate your skin type.

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Fitzpartick Skin-Type Scale

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One fundamental property of the skin is its ability to respond to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). In many persons and populations these responses are clearly adaptive where the first response, erythema (redness), is both a signal to the sunburned person to stay inside and also a sign that the immune system is active and the healing process has begun.

Neomelanogenesis (tanning) is the second pigmentary response, which is adaptive in facilitating the development of darker skin on exposed regions of the body protecting against future UVR exposures. The degree to which a person or population responds to UVR is highly variable. For example, a person of Northern European ancestry with the classic ‘red hair and freckles’ phenotype experiences a severe burn but obtains only a minimal tan even after repeated exposures; alternatively, another person of the same ancestry may experience no burning reaction and obtain a substantial tan after only one exposure.

Skin response was found to be important clinically when treatment protocols were established in the 1970s for phototherapy regimes for psoriasis and other skin conditions. In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick and coworkers put forward a classification scheme to assist in determining the initial doses of UVA in PUVA treatments.

What is Your Skin Type - Fitzpatrick Skin-Type Scale
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Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale

In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, developed a classification system for skin typing. This system was based on a person's complexion and responses to sun exposure. Today, this classification system is also used to aid practitioners in the care of their patients. For successful laser and light therapy, it is necessary to determine your correct skin type.

One of the important parameters for the success of laser treatments is the correct typing of the skin.

Skin type is often categorized according to the Fitzpatrick skin type scale, which ranges from very fair (skin type I) to very dark (skin type VI). The two main factors that influence skin type and the treatment programme devised by physicians are:

  • Genetic disposition
  • Reaction to sun exposure and tanning habits

Skin type is determined genetically and is one of the many aspects of your overall appearance, which also includes the colour of eyes, hair, etc. The way skin reacts to sun exposure is another important factor in correctly assessing skin types. Recent tanning (sun bathing, artificial tanning or tanning creams) has a major impact on the evaluation of your skin colour.

The Fitzpatrick Skin-Type Chart

You can use this skin-type chart for self-assessment, by adding up the score for each of the questions you’ve answered.

At the end there is a scale providing a range for each of the six skin-type categories. Following the scale is an explanation of each of the skin types. You can quickly and easily determine which skin type you are. In addition, you need to identify another aspect of your skin type. That is whether you have oily, dry, normal or sensitive skin. In order to do this visit ‘What’s my Skin type’.

Genetic Disposition







What is the colour of your eyes?

Light blue, Grey, Green

Blue, Grey or Green


Dark Brown

Brownish Black

What is the natural colour of your hair?

Sandy Red


Chestnut/Dark Blond

Dark Brown


What is the colour of your skin (non exposed areas)?


Very Pale

Pale with Beige tint

Light Brown

Dark Brown

Do you have freckles on unexposed areas?






Total score for Genetic Disposition: _____

Reaction to Sun Exposure







What happens when you stay in the sun too long?

Painful redness, blistering, peeling

Blistering followed by peeling

Burns sometimes followed by peeling

Rare burns

Never had burns

To What degree do you turn brown?

Hardly or not at all

Light colour tan

Reasonable tan

Tan very easy

Turn dark brown quickly

Do you turn brown within several hours after sun exposure?






How does your face react to the sun?

Very sensitive



Very resistant

Never had a problem

Total score for Reaction to Sun Exposure: _____


Tanning Habits







When did you last expose your body to sun (or artificial sunlamp/tanning cream)?

More than 3 months ago

2-3 months ago

1-2 months ago

Less than a month ago

Less than 2 weeks ago

Did you expose the area to be treated to the sun?


Hardly ever




Total score for Tanning Habits: _____


Add up the total scores for each of the three sections for your Skin Type Score.

Skin Type Score - Fitzpatrick Skin Type









over 30


TYPE 1: Highly sensitive, always burns, never tans. Example: Red hair with freckles

TYPE 2: Very sun sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally. Example: Fair skinned, fair haired Caucasians

TYPE 3: Sun sensitive skin, sometimes burns, slowly tans to light brown. Example: Darker Caucasians.

TYPE 4: Minimally sun sensitive, burns minimally, always tans to moderate brown. Example: Mediterranian type Caucasians.

TYPE 5: Sun insensitive skin, rarely burns, tans well. Example: Some Hispanics, some Blacks

TYPE 6: Sun insensitive, never burns, deeply pigmented. Example: Darker Blacks.

Choose the right natural skin care system to suite your skin type...

Other Useful Articles:

What's Your Skin Type?
Find out whether you have a dry, normal, oily, sensitive, mature or a combination skin type.

Factors influencing your skin type
Many factors influence your skin type: You are what you eat, and beauty starts on the inside, we've all heard these sayings, and....

Skin care tips to avoid over exposure to the sun.
Skin care tips to protect your self and your skin from over exposure to the sun.

Sunlight, Vitamin D and Your Skin
We hear a lot about the sun and skin cancer and while it is true that overexposure to the sun and getting sunburn is linked to skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, lines and wrinkles etc., there is an absolute need for your skin to be exposed to limited amounts of sunlight.

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Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre

All our skin care products have been developed primarily to help our patients with a wide range of skin care problems for the past 30 years.

Susan and Danny practice Western herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Remedial body therapies at their private practice in the lower Blue Mountains, West of Sydney.

Their combined experience in treating skin and other disorders is well over 50 years and they're happy to help you regain your optimal health.

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