Written by: Sara Wilhelm, Spa Manager & Aesthetician
Your Fitzpatrick skin type describes the way your skin responds to UV rays and how much pigment (melanin) you have in your skin. Understanding your Fitzpatrick type can help you better understand what your skin needs in terms of sun protection, as well as what you can expect from your skin over time.
Type I Skin colour: ivory, pale white Hair colour: red, light blonde Reaction to sun: always burns and peels, never tans, always freckles
Type II Skin colour: fair or pale Hair colour: blonde Reaction to sun: usually burns and peels, rarely tans, usually freckles
Type III Skin colour: fair to beige Hair colour: dark blonde to light brown Reaction to sun: occasionally tans, burns sometimes, may freckle
Type IV Skin Colour: olive and light brown Hair colour: dark brown Reaction to sun: rarely burns, tans easily, rarely freckles
Type V Skin colour: brown to dark brown Hair colour: dark brown to black Reaction to sun: rarely burns, tans easily, rarely freckles
Type VI Skin colour: dark brown to black Hair colour: black Reaction to sun: never burns, always tans darkly
How do your care for your skin? Types I and II are most at risk for developing skin cancer over time. Make sure to avoid long periods of time in the sun and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 every 90 minutes. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Types I and II should wear wide brim hats and seek shade when the sun is out, especially at peak hours. Overexposure to sun will cause skin damage and early signs of aging. Types III to VI are absolutely able to develop melanoma as well, even if their skin tends to burn less in the sun. Sunscreen is also recommended every 90 minutes. These skin types will also show signs of sun damage and early aging. All Fitzpatrick types should screen themselves every month for melanoma. If you have developed any new moles or have seen any changes in an existing one, talk to your doctor.