The Fitzpatrick Scale

Understanding your skin type, how your skin reacts to the sun & the natural elements, and your risk of skin cancer, are important aspects of managing your health and wellbeing. Below our team of RejuvaDERM Dermatologists has broken down the Fitzpatrick scale to help you better understand your skin. 

The Fitzpatrick scale was introduced in 1975 as a guide on how different people react to ultraviolet (UV) sun exposure. This scale consists of six different categories and although you may not exactly fit under one class, it gives you a general outline of how your skin reacts to the sun. 

Identify your Skin Type

  • Skin Type 1: Always burns, never tans, usually light eyes and/or red hair (think prince Harry).
  • Skin Type 2: Usually burns, can tan but it is difficult to do so, light or dark eyes (think Drew Barrymore).
  • Skin Type 3: Sometimes burns, can tan, golden or olive undertones (think Matthew McCaughey). 
  • Skin Type 4: Medium brown skin, rarely burns, tans easily, caramel undertones (think Jessica Alba). 
  • Skin Type 5: Dark brown skin, rarely burns, tans fast and easily, bronze undertones (think Beyoncé).  
  • Skin Type 6: Deep dark brown skin, seldom burns, tans easily and fast, usually dark hair/eyes (think Kanye West).

An important reason for identifying where you fit in this scale is because your Fitzpatrick skin type is generally indicative of how your skin might react to sun exposure and potential skin cancer risk. All skin types are susceptible to skin cancer and sun exposure should always be limited but generally speaking, skin types I, II, and III will have a greater risk of skin cancer.  

It is important to note that the most accurate skin classifications and assessments will always be performed by your Dermatologist. However, self-assessment can be a useful tool to help you gauge your skin types and better understand your general risks. On your next visit please ask your RejuvaDERM Dermatologist about your Fitzpatrick skin type, your risk of skin cancer, and how to protect your skin!