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Fitzpatrick Scale

Fitzpatrick Scale

Fitzpatrick Scale

What’s Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type?

In 1975, Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick developed a skin phototype scale, which is commonly called the Fitzpatrick scale or Fitzpatrick skin type. It is a classification system based on the amount of melanin present in the skin, how the skin reacts to sun exposure, and the skin’s tendency to sunburn or tan. Melanin is the pigment- producing part of the skin that determines natural skin tone as well as how skin responds to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. At the most basic level, very pale skin is more likely to burn. As you progress to the opposite end of the spectrum, darker skin is less likely to burn and more likely to tan during sun exposure.

In addition to helping people understand how likely they are to burn or tan, the Fitzpatrick scale also provides indications of risk related to other skin health concerns. For instance, those who burn more readily may be at higher risk for skin cancers. Those with darker skin are more likely to develop post-inflammatory pigmentation after injuries. The main purpose of the Fitzpatrick skin type is to guide patients and their dermatologists in developing the ideal skincare plan to protect their skin from damage and manage skin cancer risk.

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We tested the top-rated sunscreens recommended by dermatologists & compiled our suggestions for individuals by skin type. Select your skin type below to get started.