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Fitzpatrick Scale Skin Type Test and Result Information

Author: Disabled World : Contact: www.disabled-world.com

Published: 2020-01-17

Synopsis and Key Points:

Fitzpatrick skin type classification table denoting the six different skin types, colors, and reaction to UV sun exposure, includes self test to define your own skin classification.

The Fitzpatrick scale was originally developed on the basis of skin color to measure the correct dose of UVA for PUVA therapy.

Fitzpatrick skin typing helps to predict the possible sun damage in a person and the risk of skin cancer.

Main Digest

What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?

The Fitzpatrick skin phototype is a commonly used system to describe a person's skin type in terms of response to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. Also called the Fitzpatrick skin typing test or Fitzpatrick phototyping scale, the Fitzpatrick scale was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick as a numerical classification used for classifying human skin color as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light rays and skin cancer.

The Fitzpatrick scale was originally developed on the basis of skin color to measure the correct dose of UVA for PUVA therapy. The initial testing was based on human hair and eye color only and later adjusted to be based on how a persons skin responds to the sun, and also extended to cover a wider range of human skin types.

Cosmetic professionals also use the Fitzpatrick scale to accurately produce cosmetic products for all skin types.

The current Fitzpatrick skin type classification denotes 6 different skin types, skin color, and reactions to sun exposure which ranges from very fair (skin type I) to very dark (skin type VI) depending upon whether the patient burns at the first average sun exposure or tans at the first average sun exposure. (Table 1).

Fitzpatrick Skin Typing

Take the quiz below to discover your skin type.

If self-assessing, Fitzpatrick skin typing should be used as a guide rather than a definitive skin type. A person may find their skin does not fit completely into any one category.

The skin types listed below are numbered according to how much melanin is present in the skin. The role of melanin in the skin is to absorb and scatter energy from Ultra Violet light to protect the skin epidermal cells from damage. Melanin provides considerable protection from sun damage, and the degree of protection corresponds directly to the degree of pigmentation.

Simulated skin tones on female face.
Simulated skin tones on female face.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test Questions

(1) - Genetic Disposition

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

Your natural hair color is:

Your eye color is:

Light blue, light gray or light green = 0 points

Your natural skin color (nonexposed areas) is:

Total score for genetic disposition = ______

(2) - Reaction to Extended Sun Exposure

Does your skin tan?

How does your skin respond to the sun?

How sensitive is your face to the sun?

How deeply do you tan?

Total score for reaction to extended sun exposure = ______

Total Score

Add total scores from answers given in part 1 and part 2 of the questionaires

Part 1 Score = ______

Part 2 Score = ______

Total Points = ______

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Self Test

Find your Fitzpatrick skin type, risk factor(s), and ideal protection methods listed below:

Table 1 - Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale
Type 1 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

0 - 6

Light green
Light blue
Light gray

Skin Type:

Always burns, never tans (palest; freckles).

Low potential for scarring.

Example: Red hair and freckles.

Risk Factor:

You are extremely susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma types of skin cancer.

Prevention:

  • Stay mainly in shaded areas when you are outdoors.
  • Cover up as much as possible with a hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses.
  • Wear a SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Check your skin all over monthly.
  • Have an annual professional skin examination.
  • Inform your doctor about suspicious growths.
Type 2 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

7 - 13

Green
Blue
Gray

Skin Type:

Usually burns, tans minimally.

Risk of scarring low unless the wound is slow to heal.

Example: Fair skinned, fair haired Caucasians, northern Asians.

Risk Factor:

Your skin almost always burns and rarely tans in the sun. You are highly susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. You are also at high risk for melanoma - the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Prevention:

  • Seek shade when you are out in the sun.
  • Cover up as much as possible with a hat, sun-protective clothing, sunglasses.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+.
  • Check your skin head-to-toe each month.
  • Have an annual professional skin exam.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about suspicious growths.
Type 3 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

14 - 20

Light brown
Hazel

Skin Type:

Sometimes mild burn, tans uniformly.

Higher scarring potential than Type 1 or 2.

Example: Darker Caucasians, some Asians.

Risk Factor:

Your skin sometimes burns and sometimes tans in the sun. You are susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. You are also at risk for melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer).

Prevention:

  • Seek shade between 10 AM - 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
  • Cover up with a hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+.
  • Check your skin head-to-toe each month.
  • Have an annual professional skin exam.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about any suspicious growths.
Type 4 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

21 - 27

Dark brown

Skin Type:

Burns minimally, always tans well (moderate brown).

Type 4 skin scars easily.

Example: Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Caucasians, southern Asians.

Risk Factor:

Your skin tends to tan easily and is less likely to burn. But, you are still at risk of skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer).

Prevention:

  • Seek shade between 10 AM - 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
  • Cover up with a hat, sun-protective clothing, sunglasses.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+.
  • Check your skin head-to-toe each month.
  • Have an annual professional skin exam.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about any suspicious growths.
Type 5 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

28 - 4

Dark Brown

Skin Type:

Very rarely burns, tans very easily (dark brown).

Rarely burns but has a high risk of scarring.

Example: some Hispanics, some Africans.

Risk Factor:

Your skin tans easily and rarely burns, but you are still at risk of skin cancers. Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people. These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread.

Prevention:

  • Cover up with a hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses.
  • Seek shade between 10 AM - 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+.
  • Check your skin head-to-toe each month.
  • Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about any suspicious growths, and have an annual professional skin exam.
Type 6 Skin

Score

Eye Color

Description

35 - 36

Dark brown
Black

Skin Type:

Never burns (deeply pigmented).

Very high risk of abnormal scarring.

Example: darker Africans, Indigenous Australians.

Risk Factor:

Although your skin does not burn, you are still at risk for skin cancers. Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people. These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread.

Prevention:

  • Seek shade between 10 AM - 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
  • Cover up with a hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+.
  • Check your skin head-to-toe each month.
  • Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about any suspicious growths, and have an annual professional skin exam.

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Reproduction of the Von Luschan's chromatic scale made by anthropologist Felix von Luschan.

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