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Fitzpatrick Phototype Scale

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Did you know that there’s a way to classify skin color?  The Fitzpatrick phototype scale or FSP was developed by dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick in 1975.  Originally developed to determine an individual’s tolerance to UV light, it’s used today by professionals to determine risk to get skin cancer as well as skin tolerance to treatments.  


So where does your skin type fit in?  Well, the Fitzpatrick scale consists of six different skin types based on the amount of melanin the skin produces.  Melanin is a type of pigment that produces eye, hair, and skin color.  The more melanin that is produced, the less likely someone is to burn from UV light.


Fitzpatrick Phototype Scale

Type Features Description

I Pale white skin Always burns

II Fair skin Easily burns

III Cream white/darker white skin Mildly burns

IV Light brown skin Rarely burns

V Brown skin Very rarely burns

VI Dark brown skin Never burns


The Fitzpatrick phototype scale can be used as a general reference or guide to help determine the amount of UV light exposure your skin can tolerate before burning.  However, UV exposure causes damage to all skin types, and Fitzpatrick skin type is not a substitute for daily SPF use. Dr. Papasakelariou and Dr. Akunna always recommend applying sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30+ daily regardless of your skin type or color.  


Call us today at Houston Premier Dermatology for more information (713) 561-5633.


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.