Skin phototypes: identify yours and learn how to take care of your skin

By Tamer Alexandera
6 Min Read

A person’s skin color is determined by several factors. The constitutive pigmentation of the skin is genetically inherited through melanin, without interference from solar radiation. Facultative skin color is reversible and can be induced, as it results from sun exposure. The more melanin the skin has, the more resistant it is to ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, very fair-skinned people burn easily when exposed to the sun without protection, while very dark-skinned people can be exposed to the sun for long periods without burning. The different skin phototypes are classified into six levels, according to the Fitzpatrick Classification.

First of all, it is important to remember that, regardless of phototype, everyone should protect themselves from the incidence of sunlight, with sunscreen and physical protection (hat, glasses, tents and clothes with UVA and UVB). In addition to skin care, phototypes are also important to indicate risks for melanomas and skin cancer of different types. So stay tuned and, if necessary, see a doctor!

 

The six skin phototypes are:

    1. White skin. Always burns – never tans – very sensitive to the sun;
    2. White skin. Always burns – tans very little – sensitive to the sun;
    3. Light brown skin. Burns (moderately) – tans (moderately) – normal sensitivity to the sun;
    4. Moderate brown skin. Burns (little) – always tans – normal sensitivity to the sun;
    5. Dark brown skin. Burns (rarely) – always tans – not very sensitive to the sun;
    6. black skin. Never burns – fully pigmented – insensitive to the sun.

Let’s get to know each of these phototypes better.

1 – White skin. Always burns – never tan – very sensitive to the sun;

People with this phototype have extremely sensitive skin to the sun, characterized by fair skin and often freckles. People with blond or red hair, and blue or green eyes have this phototype. As these people always burn and never tan in the sun, it is essential to use sunscreen with SPF 50 and use physical barriers to protect from the sun.

2 – White skin. Always burns – tans very little – sensitive to the sun;

This skin type is also sensitive to the sun and SPF 50 sun protection is recommended. People with blond or light brown hair and who get freckles after sunbathing usually have this phototype – in addition to light eyes. This skin type has similarities to the first, but it rarely tans (sometimes very slowly) and burns very easily.

3 – Light brown skin. Burns (moderately) – tans (moderately) – normal sensitivity to the sun;

People with fair to medium skin phototypes are classified at level 3. People with dark blond or brown hair usually have this phototype. The skin is a little darker than levels 1 and 2 and already has some resistance to the sun. The skin region has a slight sensitivity to solar radiation, and may even tan progressively over time. If there is no protection, this skin also burns, so protection at a minimum of SPF 30 is important.

4 – Moderate brown skin. Burns (little) – always tans – normal sensitivity to the sun;

Moderate brown skin is commonly classified as people with light brown hair and skin tone. The region is more resistant to the impacts of UV rays. Therefore, it tans easily and burns very little, as it also has normal sensitivity to the sun. Even so, those who have this phototype should never use a sunscreen with an SPF of less than 15.

5 – Dark brown skin. Burns (rarely) – always tans – not very sensitive to the sun;

Dark and light-skinned people are at level 5. Their skin rarely burns and always gets a tan, as they are not very sensitive to the sun. People with brown or black hair (in addition to skin color) usually have this skin phototype. Sunscreen should be from 15 SPF.

6 – Black skin. Never burns – fully pigmented – insensitive to the sun.

This is the phototype of people with dark or very dark skin, and who almost always have black hair. This skin type rarely burns because it is fully pigmented and has a “natural” protection from the sun’s rays due to the large amount of melanin. Even so, those who belong to this phototype should use a sunscreen with a protection level greater than 15 SPF.

To determine exactly what your phototype is, the dermatologist takes into account the color of your eyes, the natural color of your hair and skin (before you tan), the number of freckles you have on your body, your reaction to prolonged sun exposure, your tanning level and how sensitive your face is to the sun.

 

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Tamer is an exceptional author in Health Industry, She is passionate about helping people to make them understand about health-related tips.