There are six different types of skin and choosing the right one is essential to your beauty routine.
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale was developed in 1975 by dermatologist Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick to help classify the different ranges of skin color and their corresponding levels of sensitivity to sunlight exposure.
Knowing your Fitzpatrick skin type is the first step to finding the perfect sunscreen and skincare products for you.
Every person’s skin has a unique combination of physical attributes, including the amount of melanin it produces, hair color, eye color, and texture. These are the main factors that contribute to your Fitzpatrick Skin Type.
It is important to note that although most people tend to have one overall type, it is possible for an individual’s skin to actually fall into two categories.
Now let’s have a quick overview of what each type means, how it affects your beauty regimen, and which products you should be using for each type.
Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classifications:
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type I: Always burns, never tans (red hair, freckles) light coloured eyes.
If you have Fitzpatrick skin type I, your skin is very sensitive to the sun. You should always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours. If you are going to be in the sun for a long time, wear a hat and other protective clothing.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type II: Usually burns, sometimes tans (blonde or red hair, blue eyes).
If you are Fitzpatrick Skin Type II, your skin is typically sensitive to sunlight. This can lead to an increased risk of sunburns and hyperpigmentation. To prevent these issues, it’s important to wear sunscreen with a high SPF on a daily basis. You should also apply a moisturizer with antioxidants at least twice per day for best results.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type III: Sometimes burns, often tans (brown hair, brown eyes).
When you’re a Fitzpatrick Skin Type III, your skin is sensitive to UV light and it’s important that you use sunscreen every day. Since your skin type has the most difficulty fighting off sun damage, it’s crucial that you take extra precautions against wrinkles and other signs of aging.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV: Rarely burns but tans well (black or brown hair and dark brown eyes) olive skin.
Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV is also known as “olive skin.” This skin type ranges from light olive to dark olive. It can be sensitive and prone to redness, rosacea, and sun sensitivity. People with Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV have light brown or olive-toned skin and can be either dark or fair in complexion.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type V: Never burns but tans very easily (caramel/olive skin, blue/ brown eyes).
Fitzpatrick Skin type V is known for its caramel skin tone, due to its ability to withstand more intense UV rays than other skin colors. Using a moisturizer with SPF can help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI: Never burns and tans very easily (dark brown or black hair and dark brown eyes).
People with Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI have more melanin than the other skin types on this list and can resist damage from the sun or other sources of UV rays. This skin type rarely burns, tans very easily, and tends to be less sensitive to sunburn than the other types.
How to Manage Your Skin Type?
Using the list below as a guide for your skincare regimen can be helpful in preventing common beauty problems such as sunspots, fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, dullness, irregular tone/texture.
Skin Type I & II: You need to use products with a high sun protection factor (SPF), especially if you are outdoors often. Since both types burn more easily than others, using sunscreen is an absolute must year-round to keep your sensitive skin free of damage that leads to premature aging. Try Makeprem UV Defense Sunscreen Sunblock SPF 50+ or La Roche – Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.
Skin Type III & IV: You need protection from the sun’s harmful rays, however, you might not burn as easily. Finding products that contain lower concentrations of sunscreen can be useful because it allows your skin to tan more deeply and produces melanin (a powerful defense against the harmful effects of UV exposure). Try EltaMD UV Shield Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45 or CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50.
Skin Type V: You do not need strong coverage but you require a high sun protection factor (SPF) at all times. These types may often get away without applying sunscreen, but this could lead to pigmentation problems and sunspots as you age. Try Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skin Care Gel SPF50+ or Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk SPF 45.
Skin Type VI: If you belong to this skin type, it does not mean that you are restricted to using just water on your face. It just means that you need to choose products for this skin type carefully since such products tend to be very strong (mainly because there is less melanin) and can cause irritation.
You should consider products that contain ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid which give a glow and fight acne-causing bacteria. Hyaluronic acid helps retain moisture and antioxidants like Vitamin C help protect the skin. Skin products like Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic or SK-II Stempower are great for you.
As a general rule, darkening or bronzing sunscreens are not suitable for this skin type as they contain chemicals.
No matter your skin type, it’s important to use a moisturizer every day. Dryness is a common issue for all skin types but can be more severe in Fitzpatrick Skin Types I – III.
Look for a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid which helps to retain moisture within the skin, or ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids that help to repair the skin’s natural barrier function.
Try Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Normal to Oily Skin.
If you have dry or sensitive skin that needs extra hydration, try applying a thick layer of moisturizer at night and following up again during the day. This will help to keep your moisture locked in throughout the day and night.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream or CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion are two other decent options that are renowned for being gentle and effective on all skin types.
Sunscreen is essential for all skin types
Finding the right sunscreen that caters to your specific skin type is crucial in order to achieve the best results. Sunscreen is an essential step in any skincare routine, regardless of your skin type
Products that are marketed as “all-day” or “waterproof” may not be ideal for people with sensitive skin, so it’s important to read the label carefully.
If you are looking for a tinted sunscreen that gives some coverage, Missha All Around Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF42 is a good option.
Look for sunscreens that contain physical blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which sit on top of the skin and deflect UVA and UVB rays away from the skin.
There are a variety of sunscreens on the market that come in different forms (creams, lotions, gels, mists) and with a range of SPFs.
It may take some time before you find the sunscreen that’s right for you, but be patient; every face needs different things and one brand might work better for your friend than it does for you.
You might need to try a few different sunscreens before finding the perfect one for your skin type.
No matter your skin type, it’s important to be gentle with it and to use the right products.
Over-the-counter skincare products are often too harsh for people with sensitive skin, so it’s important to find products that have been specifically designed for your skin type.
It’s also crucial to wear sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather or your skin type. Sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and can help to prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and sunspots.
Finding the right sunscreen can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different and what works for one person might not work for you. Try a few different products until you find one that’s perfect for you.