About the Fitzpatrick scale
Ever found yourself at the makeup counter confused and trying to figure your perfect shade without looking too yellow or 1000 shades of grey?
We won’t be able to tell you what shade to select today but we can try to make it a little easier by knowing your Fitzpatrick skin type. A system designed to help classify your sun exposure reaction and precautions to take.
Developed in 1975, the system classifies skin type according to the amount of pigment your skin has and your skin’s reaction to sun exposure. This information can help predict your overall risk of sun damage and risk to skin cancer as well as guide you on what treatments are best suited for your skin type.
Please note that your skin type colour has nothing to do with how dry or oily ones skin is, that’s a whole other conversation for another day.
Ready to learn some more? Let’s get going babes!
What are the different skin types?
The correlation between skin color and response to UV exposure is related to the chemistry of melanin. Two types of melanin exist in skin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is a dark pigment, which may be either brown or black; pheomelanin is lighter, and may be red, pink or yellow in color.
These two forms differ in how they react to UV radiation. Eumelanin absorbs UV light, thereby providing a mild sun protection effect. Pheomelanin, on the other hand, responds to UV radiation by triggering a state of oxidation that worsens the damage caused to skin.
The ratio between these two types of melanin will determine a person’s skin color and sensitivity to sun exposure. Skin types I–III are characterized by light skin and a high likelihood of sun damage due to the high concentration of pheomelanin where Types IV–VI have higher eumelanin content, and therefore have skin that is darker and more resistant to sun exposure.
The below is a subjective study based on past reactions and trends across the skin types, you might find yourself in 1 or 2 categories. (Thought we supposed to make this easier right?)
Fitzpatrick skin type 1
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Ivory• Eye color: Light blue, light gray, or light green• Natural hair color: Red or light blonde• Sun reaction: Skin always freckles, always burns and peels, and never tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 2
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Fair or pale• Eye color: Blue, gray, or green• Natural hair color: Blonde• Sun reaction: Skin usually freckles, burns and peels often, and rarely tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 3
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Fair to beige, with golden undertones• Eye color: Hazel or light brown• Natural hair color: Dark blonde or light brown• Sun reaction: Skin might freckle, burns on occasion, and sometimes tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 4
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Olive or light brown• Eye color: Dark brown• Natural hair color: Dark brown• Sun reaction: Doesn’t really freckle, burns rarely, and tans often
Fitzpatrick skin type 5
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Dark brown• Eye color: Dark brown to black• Natural hair color: Dark brown to black• Sun reaction: Rarely freckles, almost never burns, and always tans
Fitzpatrick skin type 6
- Skin color (before sun exposure): Deeply pigmented dark brown to darkest brown• Eye color: Brownish black• Natural hair color: Black• Sun reaction: Never freckles, never burns, and always tans darklyWhat this means for your skin type.
No matter your skin type (the new discovered you) everyone should apply sunscreen daily to receive maximum protection. We at The Laser Beautique have listed a few of our ultimate favourite ones as well as a few other goodies.
Types 1 and 2
If your skin type is 1 or 2, you have a high risk of:
• Sun damage
• Skin aging from sun exposure
• Melanoma and other skin cancers
You should follow these tips to protect your skin:
- Must have product; Optiphi Protect the Canvas. You can purchase this product online click here
- Limit your sun exposure and seek shade whenever you’re out in the sun.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your head and face.
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses. (Snob Milano eyewear is our favourite! The brand has an awsome 2 in 1 optical with a ziess lense clip on) click here to see all stockists in South Africa https://www.snobmilanosa.co.za/stockists)
- Check your skin from head to toe each month.
- Have an annual skin check-up with a doctor.
- Regular Laser Beautique Technology facials will prevent any skin damage from darkening. We recomend a combination of diffferent technology facials which will penetrate different layers of your skin and initiate collagen and elastin production. We recommend facials such as peels and micro needling, near infrared, radio frequency, HIFU, which are super safe and effective at treating acne, pigment issues, scarring, fine lines, wrinkles, lifting, tightening and eventoning. Its important to mention that it may take more than 6 months of treatments but when your dealing with the skin on your face ‘slow and steady wins the race’.
- You can combine an active nightly skincare regime with Retin A to keep skin young and flawless from blemishes, our favourite is Optiphi Intense Retinol A. Precaution: Ease into the product by introducing it into your routine 2x weekly, once your skin has gotten stronger you can include it into your nightly routine every second night. Over active use will sensitise your skin for irritation and over exposure. These products are also available online. Visit https://the-laser-beautique.myshopify.com/collections/optiphi
- By combing your in-house treatments with a good at home skin care you will stimulate collagen, speed up wound healing and cell turnover and break down scar tissue to brighten and smooth out the tone and texture of your skin.
Types 3 to 6
If your skin is type 3 to 6, you unfortunately still have some risk of skin cancer from sun exposure, especially if you’ve used an indoor tanning bed.
You should still use sun protection even though your risk is lower than people with type 1 or 2 skin.
If not treated correctly and safely any in house or home care products could further cause permanent damage.
For maximum protection, you should follow these tips:
- Limit your sun exposure.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your head and face.
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses. (We simply love Snob Milano eyewear. Its our favourite! The brand has an awsome 2 in 1 optical with a ziess lense clip on) click here to see all stockists in South Africa https://www.snobmilanosa.co.za/stockists)
- Wear protective clothing if you plan to be in direct sunlight for extended periods.
- Wear Nimue’s Award winning SPF 40 daily.
- Check your skin from head to toe each month. Pay careful attention to any strange growths.
- Have an annual skin check-up with your dermatologist.
- Regular Laser Beautique Technology facials will prevent any skin damage from darkening. Our favourite combination is micro needling and CoolClear. Micro needling allows for a controlled pain free injury which allows deeper penetration of your active serums and moisturisers followed by CoolClear a powerful blend of Hyaluronic and Vit CE and Folic acid to assist in providing your skin an even texture and tone and improve overall complexion.
- Take care with peels, a light 30% will be enough for your skin to successfully remove dead skin cells and allow pigmented skin to lighten. Going higher than 50% puts you at risk for burns and further pigmented skin.
- Avoid intense pulsed light (IPL) or Fraxel, these are very strong high heat treatments that would further put heat on the skin that already as a propensity to pigment and will likely only worsen the problem at hand like pigmentation, scaring or loss of elasticity.
- If not consulted correctly, a peel which is too strong or laser treatment which is not suitable for darker skin types will result in post-inflammatory pigmentation. Who would want that? Not us thank you!
- Avoid any harsh ‘quick fix’ treatments like hydroquinone which is known to bleach the skin in all the wrong ways causing further damage to your skin than before.
What about laser hair removal for different skin types?
The Fitzpatrick skin scale plays a very important role in determining the type of laser and strength of such laser to treat your skin type and hair type, successfully and without any damage.
Lasers have come a long way from initially only being able to treat skin types 1 -3 as the risk with higher skin types were to risky. Today ALL skin types can be safely and effectively treated with right technology and training.
However, in many countries lasers are not regulated and there are people in the field practising without licenses or are not qualified therapist and offering the treatment of all sorts of laser treatments which are cheap and nasty.
There is a quote which is very true “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”
Establishments that offer cheap laser usually have purchased cheap devices, leaving the market to wonder why the established practises are so expensive. When it comes to lasering, The Laser Beautique takes this matter very seriously, ensuring that all aestheticians are trained up and qualified as well as using the best technology to give clients the best results possible as safely and as effectively as possible. This is not an area you want to skimp on as the damage, if done, is usually permanent.
By using the Fitzpatrick skin scale your quailed Beautique aesthetician is able to establish an estimate of how many sessions of laser hair removal you will require and at what intensity the treatment will need to be performed at.
Ladies and gents, if you have any questions. Please follow founder of the Beautique Brands Tzvia Hermann AKA Laser Lady. You can send any questions and view all advise and guidence straight from our source!