What's your skin type?

Skincare Tips


We’ve referenced the Fitzpatrick scale many times in previous articles, and it can be a significant indicator of your risk of skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and more. But how do you know what your type is, and what does it mean for your skin’s health? In this week's blog, we're going to talk about the Fitzpatrick Scale and how you can identify your skin type and tailor your needs and wants around that. 

The Fitzpatrick Scale was created by Harvard doctor Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD as a way of gauging how a person’s skin reacts to UV light. The scale demonstrates features that make you more susceptible to sunburns vs sun tans, and is a good method for determining how much melanin is in your skin. Most importantly, it can give you an idea if skin cancer is something you should be looking for more diligently. 

As far as skin shades go, Type 1 is typically the palest skin with lighter eyes and hair, and Type 6 is the darkest skin tone with brown eyes and black hair. But we're all unique individuals with a combination of features that can fall into different categories, so follow the guide below to pinpoint exactly where you fit in.


The Fitzpatrick scale covers six categories of skin types, and if you spend a lot of time outdoors you’re likely to have a good idea of where you fall on the scale. But in case you need some help, here’s a helpful guide to see where your traits land you from 1—6.

Type 1
  • Very pale skin
  • You always burn/never tan
  • Light blue or green eyes
  • Red or blonde hair color
Type 2
  • Fair skin
  • You burn easily/tan poorly
  • Blonde or light brown hair
  • Blue eyes
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Type 3
  • Darker white skin
  • You burn, but it turns into a tan later
  • Light to medium brown hair
  • Blue, hazel or light brown eyes
Type 4
  • Light brown skin
  • You tan easily, and rarely burn
  • Brown eye color
  • Medium to dark brown hair
Type 5
  • Brown skin
  • You tan easily, and rarely burn
  • Brown eyes
  • Dark brown to black hair
Type 6
  • Dark brown skin
  • Brown eyes
  • Tan easily and darkly, almost never burns
  • Black hair

As you may have noticed, the higher you land on the scale, the less likelihood you’ll have of developing skin cancer. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It simply means your skin produces a lot more melanin than lighter skin types. But knowing your type can also help you determine the best way to take care of your skin as you age, and will guide you towards the best treatments for your skin type.

When it comes to anti-aging treatments, certain lasers like Fraxel and CO2 are off limits to anyone who anyone who falls between a 4—6 because of the hypopigmentation they can cause. This also goes for certain deep chemical peels. In general, the lighter the skin type, the more tolerant of aggressive peels and lasers your skin will be. However, Clear + Brilliant is one laser that’s known to be safe for any skin type because of how mild it is, so if you are between types 4—6, you can still get all the laser benefits over time that you would with a Fraxel treatment. It will just take a little longer.

The lower on the scale you fall, the risk for developing skin cancer will increase as well as the potential for photoaging. Daily sunscreen use, lots of shade, and regular skin cancer screenings and laser treatments are a good idea for anyone in this range.

Not sure of your skin type? Make an appointment with Dr. Supriya Tomar today to get an evaluation and see what skincare treatments are best for you. Call our office at 561-805-9399 or email us at info@supriyamd.com to book your appointment.

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