Wondering what your skin type is? The Fitzpatrick Scale is here to help.

While it doesn’t help you colour match your foundation or determine whether you’re oily, dry or sensitive – the Fitzpatrick Scale does tell you how your skin reacts to ultraviolet light (UV) exposure.

What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?

The Fitzpatrick Scale was developed in 1975 by dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick to estimate the response of different types of skin to UV. There are six Fitzpatrick skin types based on the amount of melanin (the pigment that determines your skin, hair and eye colour) in the skin and your skin’s reaction to sun exposure.

Each type has distinctive features that can help you determine your Fitzpatrick skin type at home, or you can ask your SILK Dermal Technician at your next appointment.

Why SHOULD YOU know your Fitzpatrick Skin Type?

The Fitzpatrick Scale is useful for guessing how your skin will react after sun exposure and can determine which SILK treatments will and won’t be suitable for you.

For example, while microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin types, Laser Pigment Removal (the targeting of pigmented lesions – think sunspots, freckles, liver and age spots) is only suitable for Skin Types 1, 2 & 3 due to a risk of increased melanin.

Let’s take a look at the six Fitzpatrick skin types.

The six skin types

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1

Features: Pale white skin, light blue or green eyes, naturally blonde or red hair.

Sun Reaction: Always burns and peels, never tans.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

Features: Fair skin, blue, green or grey eyes, naturally blonde hair.

Sun Reaction: Often burns and peels, rarely tans.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

Features: Fair to light brown skin.

Sun Reaction: Occasionally burns, tans after initial burn.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

Features: Olive or light brown skin, dark brown eyes and natural hair.

Sun Reaction: Rarely burns, often tans.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

Features: Brown to dark brown skin, dark brown to black eyes and natural hair.

Sun Reaction: Almost never burns, always tans.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

Features: Dark brown to black skin, dark brown to black eye colour, naturally black hair.

Sun Reaction: Never burns, always tans darkly.

So next time you visit a SILK Laser Clinic speak with your technician about your skin type and how it may or may not affect your treatment.