Definition of Fitzpatrick skin type

fitzpatrick skin typeFitzpatrick skin type is a commonly used classification system for identifying a person’s skin characteristics, particularly the likelihood for sunburn and developing actinic keratosis and skin cancer.

Dermatologists also use Fitzpatrick skin type as a factor in determining appropriate cosmetic procedures to treat skin blemishes and wrinkles.

Fitzpatrick Classification Scale for Skin Types

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classifications
TypeSkin characteristicsSun exposure
type Ivery pale or ruddy; numerous frecklesalways burns, never tans; severe sunburn (blisters) with unprotected exposure; high risk for skin cancer
type IIpale or light-toned; some freckles mostly on face, shoulders, arms, handsusually burns, lightly tans; moderate sunburn (redness) with unprotected exposure; increased risk for skin cancer
type IIIolivesometimes burns, moderately tans; mild sunburn (pinkness) with unprotected exposure; moderate risk for skin cancer
type IVlight brownseldom burns, easily tans; low risk for skin cancer
type Vbrownrarely burns, darkly tans; seldom develops skin cancer
type VIdark brown to brownish blacknever burns; rarely develops skin cancer

See also SKIN SELF-EXAMINATION.

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