home Hair & Skin arrow
The Fitzpatrick Scale: What is my skin type?

The Fitzpatrick Scale: What is my skin type?

Isabelle Lederer

6 min

May 7, 2024

The Fitzpatrick Scale, developed in 1975 by American dermatologist Dr Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, is a popular skin type classification system that is used for skin typing. Knowing the Fitzpatrick Scale helps you determine your skin type based on genetic factors, your reaction to sunlight and your susceptibility to getting a sunburn or skin damage. The scale puts skin types into six different categories, each of which has its own unique characteristics and helps you determine the best way to protect your skin from the sun, while also helping you choose the best skincare routine for your skin colour. Find out in this blog post about what skin type you have and what you can do to protect your skin.

Different skin types according to Fitzpatrick

Dr Thomas Fitzpatrick developed the Fitzpatrick Scale as a method of classifying human skin types into six different categories based on their type of skin. The Fitzpatrick skin phototype (or skin type) is determined by your skin tone, reaction to sun exposure and other genetic factors. The numerical classification schema ranges from type I to type VI and takes into account the different characteristics and specific needs of each skin type.

Type I (“Celtic type”)

Fair skin, red or blonde hair, light blue or green eyes

People with skin type I are very sensitive to sunlight and are prone to sunburn. They often have white skin, freckles and light hair color, such as blonde or red hair. The time before skin type 1 people have reactions to sun exposure is typically only 3 to 9 minutes. As a Celtic type, you should pay particular attention to wearing adequate UV protection and avoid the midday sun as much as possible as there is a higher risk of skin damage within a shorter period of exposure time compared to other skin types.

Type II (“Nordic type”)

Light skin, blonde or light brown hair, blue, grey or green eye color

Skin type II generally burns easily, but develops a light tan after being out in the sun several times. Although tanning is possible, you should be careful in the sun and always use sunscreen. The natural self-protection time usually ranges between 8 and 22 minutes.

Type III (“Mixed skin type”)

Light to medium skin, dark blonde to brown hair, green or brown eyes

People with skin type III rarely burn but can tan quite easily. Nevertheless, you should still make sure to use adequate sun protection to avoid long-term skin damage. The inherent self-protection period to exposure is usually 20 to 30 minutes.

Type IV (“Mediterranean type”)

Light brown skin, brown hair, brown eyes

Skin type IV rarely burns and generally tans easily. Nevertheless, sunscreen should be used to protect the skin from UV damage. The time that the skin can self-protect is usually between 30 and 45 minutes.

Type V (“Dark skin type”)

Brown to dark skin colour, dark brown hair colour, brown eyes

People with skin type V tan easily and are not prone to sunburn. However, they still need to apply UV protection and sunscreen, especially in situations where the sun is intense. The inherent self-protection time is approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

Type VI (“Black skin type”)

Black skin, dark to black hair, dark eyes

Skin type VI contains more melanin which gives this skin type a natural resistance to UV damage, in turn making it less prone to sunburn. Nevertheless, a certain level of protection against UV radiation is important. The inherent self-protection mechanism for this skin type can be more than 60 minutes.

Sun protection and skincare according to skin type

Choosing the right sunscreen is closely linked to your skin type and UV index, as this affects your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Regardless of your skin colour, protecting yourself from the sun is essential for the long-term health of your skin. Using sunscreen with an adequate sun protection factor (SPF) helps to reduce the risk of sunburn, premature skin ageing and risk of skin cancer.

For people with lighter skin (types I and II), it is especially important to choose a higher SPF as their skin is more susceptible to sunburn. Type III to VI skin types should still use an adequate level of sunscreen to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

In addition to sunscreen, daily skin care is absolutely essential. Using moisturisers that are specifically formulated for your skin type help provide adequate hydration and strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier. It is also important to avoid overexposure to the sun, especially during the midday hours when UV rays are at their strongest.

A regular skincare routine tailored to your individual skin type can help keep skin healthy and radiant while minimising the risk of sun damage. Always consult a dermatologist if you feel uncertain or have specific concerns about your skin to ensure that you get the best possible regimen for your skin.

Seek advice from a dermatologist or skin specialist

If you are unsure about your skin type or how to best protect and care for your skin, it is always a good idea to consult a dermatologist or skin specialist. A dermatologist can perform a professional analysis on your skin and make bespoke recommendations for your specific needs.

VISIA skin analysis at HAIR & SKIN

Our cutting-edge technology gives you a detailed assessment of your skin that goes beyond conventional methods. We analyse your skin in detail, including moisture levels, sun damage, wrinkles and pore size. This service is the first step to you receiving your own customised skincare treatment tailored to your exact needs. Visit us for your personal VISIA skin analysis and discover the best skin treatment for you!


Knowing your Fitzpatrick skin type is the first step to creating an effective skincare and sun protection routine. By understanding the specific characteristics and needs associated with your skin type, you can keep your skin healthy by giving it the right skin treatments and protecting it from the harmful effects of the sun. Remember to apply sunscreen regularly, and consult a dermatologist, if necessary, on how to get the most out of your skincare routine.