People who want the best out of their skincare products and treatments spend a lot of time researching ingredients, identifying what they need in different seasons, and figuring out what their specific skin type is. However, although it’s slightly subjective to identify whether you’re a naturally oily or dry skin type, there’s an objective scale that can tell you how much pigment you have in your skin and how that changes your skincare routine. It’s called the Fitzpatrick skin phototype scale, and it may hold the secret to getting the best out of a disappointing skincare routine.
What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?
The Fitzpatrick scale for skin typing is a widely used method of identifying the amount of pigment in a person’s skin and tolerance to sun exposure. In fact, the FDA uses it when evaluating the SPF values of sunscreens and determining the risk of developing skin cancer in people with light to darker skin. Lighter, sun-reactive skin types often need a broad-spectrum high SPF formula to prevent skin cancer and maintain healthy skin.
In addition, skin care professionals like those at Epicuren Discovery use Fitzpatrick skin phototypes to create proven products that are effective for every skin type. The Fitzpatrick scale is based on a quiz that assigns points to your response to various questions, such as the natural color of your hair, skin, and eyes, as well as whether you have freckles and what happens when you spend time in the sun. The total score at the end places you in one of six types, indicated with roman numerals, from lightest to darkest.
What are the Different Skin Types?
As indicated by the Fitzpatrick skin type quiz, each skin type has unique characteristics that help people determine how best to take care of their skin and even help them decide on certain shades of makeup.
- Skin Type I: The palest shade, this skin type burns and peels easily and rarely tans. Skin freckles easily, and often accompanies red or blonde hair. The corresponding eye color is light blue, gray, or green.
- Skin Type II: This skin type usually freckles and burns often without tanning, and usually has blue, gray, or green eyes.
- Skin Type III: This range of skin shades includes fair skin to light tan and people often have hazel or light brown eyes. They experience burns occasionally and can tan, and their skin still freckles sometimes.
- Skin Type IV: Usually an olive or light brown tone, this skin type rarely burns and tans easily, usually accompanied by brown hair and brown eyes.
- Skin Type V: This skin color is brown to dark brown, rarely freckles, tans easily, and rarely burns.
- Skin Type VI: The darkest skin color is deeply pigmented and tans darkly but never burns and never freckles.
Benefits of Knowing Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type
Knowing which skin type you are on this professional scale is important for two main reasons: safety and proactivity. Certain skin types on either end of the scale may not be good candidates for aggressive professional facial procedures such as chemical peels or certain laser treatments. That’s because the melanin that causes pigmentation in darker skin tones is often accidentally targeted with laser light energy, causing negative pigmentation change. On the other end, fair skin is at the highest risk to develop skin cancer and sun damage, so it’s important to help your skin with high-quality sun care products.
Knowing what type of skin you have, and even what undertones you have, can help you more objectively identify products and makeup supplies that help you accentuate and take care of the skin that makes you who you are.
Fitzpatrick and Other Skin Types
Using the Fitzpatrick scale in concert with how oily or dry your skin is can really help you hone your skincare routine to the products and steps that will help your skin and reveal your inner beauty. Whether you are concerned with the first noticeable signs of aging or looking to address specific skincare concerns, Epicuren has the professional-grade formulas for you.
We formulate products specifically with skin of all types in mind, like our Anti-Wrinkle Complex that provides visible hydration without being too thick for people with blemish-prone skin. And for those who need extra daily protection from the sun, we have an X-Treme Cream Propolis Sunscreen that’s SPF 45+ to help with both harmful UV rays and environmental stressors.
Is The Fitzpatrick Scale Still Used?
Yes, regulatory agencies and skincare product manufacturers still utilize the Fitzpatrick skin type scale to assess different people's skin cancer risk as well as how to make products and devices that are effective across the spectrum.
How Do I Identify My Skin Type?
Feel free to use our chart above to help identify your natural skin type. Knowing whether your skin is dry or oily may be a more subjective exercise, based on how your skin behaves when not using any skincare products throughout the day.
High-Quality Skincare Products for All Shades and Types
Both the Fitzpatrick and Epicuren’s Skin Quiz can help you narrow down on the skincare products that are best for your unique needs and concerns. Level up your routine with our high-quality products that don’t require a prescription to order. Browse our catalog to find out how you can get radiant, smooth-looking skin for life.