What is my skin type?


When thinking about skin type, there is more than oily, dry, and normal. Skin type can also be quantified in terms of pigmentation. There’s a handy scientific questionnaire out there to help you figure out whether you should run for cover when in the sun or if you’re more likely to tan evenly. It’s called the Fitzpatrick scale, and it was developed in the 70’s to classify human skin colors. It’s used often in dermatologic research to measure skin pigmentation. It classifies skin color into 6 skin types, from 1s who are very fair to 6s that are the darkest. So if you’re wondering “what is my skin type?” Keep reading!

What is my skin type?

Take the 8 question quiz below and tally up your results. Some of you are probably thinking: this is obvious, I know my reaction to the sun. In response to any nay-sayers, it’s always nice to be aware of your risk. Doing this survey may even make you more sun conscious next time you’re outside.

Without further ado, let’s get started. Grab a writing instrument and your freshest sheet of Hello Kitty stationary so you can keep track of the points.

Your eye color is:

  • Light blue, light gray or light green = 0
  • Blue, gray or green = 1
  • Hazel or light brown = 2
  • Dark brown = 3
  • Brownish black = 4

Your natural hair color is:

  • Red or light blonde = 0
  • Blonde = 1
  • Dark blonde or light brown = 2
  • Dark brown = 3
  • Black = 4

Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:

  • Ivory white = 0
  • Fair or pale = 1
  • Fair to beige, with golden undertone = 2
  • Olive or light brown = 3
  • Dark brown or black = 4

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

  • Many = 0
  • Several = 1
  • A few = 2
  • Very few = 3
  • None = 4

How does your skin respond to the sun?

  • Always burns, blisters and peels = 0
  • Often burns, blisters and peels = 1
  • Burns moderately = 2
  • Burns rarely, if at all = 3
  • Never burns = 4

Does your skin tan?

  • Never — I always burn = 0
  • Seldom = 1
  • Sometimes = 2
  • Often = 3
  • Always = 4

How deeply do you tan?

  • Not at all or very little = 0
  • Lightly = 1
  • Moderately = 2
  • Deeply = 3
  • My skin is naturally dark = 4

How sensitive is your face to the sun?

  • Very sensitive = 0
  • Sensitive = 1
  • Normal = 2
  • Resistant = 3
  • Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

Total Score:

0-6 Points: Skin Type 1

Always burn, never tans. Risk: HIGH. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 4PM. Consider a move to Siberia or underground.

skintype_1

“I’m very white.”

7-12 Points: Skin Type 2

Almost always burn, rarely tans. Risk: HIGH. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 4PM. Consider using an umbrella to walk in the street.

skintype_2

“I’ve got slightly more color to me.”

13-18 Points: Skin Type 3

Sometimes burn, sometimes tans. Risk: High/Medium. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 4PM. Consider avoiding summers in Florida.

skintype_3

“I’m a smarmy 90’s guy.”

19-24 Points: Skin Type 4

Rarely burns, tans uniformly. Risk: Medium. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 2PM. Enjoy that natural tan.

skintype_4

“I’m a toasty tan color.”

25-30 Points: Skin Type 5

Very rarely burns, tans easily. Risk: Low. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 2PM. Keep a close eye on your palms, soles, and feet for suspicious growths.

skintype_5

“I’m mocha, like the drink you always order at Starbucks.”

31+ Points: Skin Type 6

Never burns, tans very easily. Risk: Low. Always wear sunscreen and protect your skin by staying in the shade, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding sun exposure from 10AM to 2PM. Don’t assume you don’t need to protect yourself because your skin is dark. Keep a close eye on your palms, soles, and feet for suspicious growths.

skintype_6

“I don’t think I need to wear sunscreen.” OH YES YOU DO.

What have we learned?

All skin types need to be cautious to decrease their sun exposure and protect their skin in the right ways. Being a skin type 6 doesn’t give you free reign to tan indefinitely as you please (then again you definitely don’t even need to). For all my skin type 1’s and 2’s out there, be extra careful when you’re outdoors! Be sun smart and protect yourself.

jesse sunburnt

“I should’ve kept my skin type in mind before snorkeling without sunscreen on.”

References

  1. http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/fitzpatrick-skin-quiz#panel1-6 (I also got my pictures from them.)

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