Skin Care for Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type

SkinSolutions.MD is committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of its business, from its culture to working with brands that share a similar vision such as Obagi, SkinMedica, and SkinCeuticals.

Together we are ensuring that all products have clinical research protocols that cover people from all 6 Fitzpatrick skin types. 

The Fitzpatrick Scale categorizes skin into six different types based on its response to the sun or ultraviolet light. Developed back in the 1970s, the system explains that there are six phototypes, which go from light to dark.

The FDA has even adopted this classification for evaluating the SPF values of sunscreens.

By assessing Fitzpatrick skin type, medical professionals are able to determine what treatments are best as well as what to be cautious of.

While lighter skin colors are more at risk for sun damage and redness, darker skin types suffer post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and risk of laser complications.

Every skin color needs to be treated with knowledge and respect

Common Characteristic of Fitzpatrick Skin Type

fitzpatrick skin type

Skin Type I – Light or ivory skin, blonde hair, and green eyes, always burns in the sun, has freckles.

This skin type is believed to be highly susceptible to premature aging and skin cancers including melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. The type of melanin that causes blonde and red hair actually increases the risk for cell death such as seen in sunburn. It is advised to take extreme care and protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays every day!

Skin Type II – Light, fair or pale skin, blonde hair, and green/blue eyes, always burns, has freckles, and is difficult to tan.

Type IIs are at high risk for skin cancer including melanoma as well. Be sure to wear sun protection daily and sunglasses that provide UVA protection as UVA exposure can cause cataracts. Avoid tanning beds and booths at all times as they have a high intensity of UV output, many times stronger than the midday summer sun in most countries, and promote skin cancers

Skin Type III – Fair to beige skin, with golden undertones, blonde/ brown hair, blue/brown eyes, tans after several burns, and may freckle. 

Type III sometimes burns and may tan to a light bronze, but their risk for skin cancer remains higher than average. Seek the shade whenever you are out in the sun, wear a high SPF of 50, wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, etc. and reapply every 90 minutes if you are unable to avoid the sun!

Skin Type IV – Olive or light brown skin, brown hair, and brown eyes, tans more than average, rarely burns, and rarely freckles. 

Type IVs can be prone to an overactive production of melanin following sun exposure which can result in the uneven pigmentation of melasma especially if they are on hormonal therapy such as the oral contraceptive or during pregnancy!

Skin Type V – Dark brown skin, brown/black hair with brown eyes. Tans with ease, rarely burns, and no freckles. 

It also reacts differently and at times more severely to common conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis which can lead to potential problems with pigmentation, or uneven darkening or lightening of skin color as the formation of melanin is a dynamic process and responds to various stimuli.

Skin Type VI – Dark brown to darkest brown skin, black hair, and brown/black eyes. Tans, never burns, deeply pigmented, and never freckles. 

Although their skin rarely burns and skin cancer is not common among people with this skin type, they should still take the necessary precaution to protect their skin against skin cancer.

Individuals with this skin type should still protect themselves from the sun as chronic sun exposure leads to uneven skin tone and pigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation may take years to fade thus wearing sun protection daily is essential to prevent it!

Our Top Sun Protection Picks For the Summer

sun protection
  1. SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34 (Tinted) –  The only sunscreen that corrects signs of aging while it protects! Using a proprietary blend of potent antioxidants together improves elasticity, the appearance of wrinkles, and photodamaged skin. It also comes in a tinted formula with easy absorption and silky smooth application!
  2. Obagi Nu-Derm Sunfader SPF 15 – A prescription-strength combination SPF and skin correcting cream to treat discoloration while offering protection against ultraviolet ray damage. SkinSolutions.MD also offers free shipping and free prescription for our Obagi Rx products!
  3. SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 – A light, 100% physical sunscreen with a sheer finish, water-resistant, and broad-spectrum protection for all skin types. With a sheer tint that adapts to most skin tones, you’ll have a radiant, even complexion with paraben-free and non-comedogenic formula.
  4. Obagi Nu-Derm Rx System in Normal to Dry and Normal to Oily –  The perfect start for healthier, more vibrant, more evenly-toned skin. The Nu-Derm system offers a complete prescription-strength regimen that reduces and fades age spots, dark spots, freckles, hyper-pigmentation, and discoloration. Individual items available separately.

5 Additional Best Practices for All Skin Types

  • Vitamin C can be used for pigmentation issues and healthier-looking skin. Try Obagi Professional-C Serum 20%
  • Retinoids and retinols are Vitamin A derivatives that help reduce inflammation, minimize the size of pores, prevent new breakouts, and improve the appearance of dark spots. They can be found in prescription medication, as well as over-the-counter. Retinoids and retinols are best used at night. Try Obagi Tretinoin 0.05% Cream.
  • Growth Factors and Peptides offer the ultimate anti-aging properties. Set out to be the most powerful, corrective serum on the market, try SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum.
  • Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) are primarily used as chemical exfoliants. Long-term use of these leads to increased collagen and elastin synthesis in the skin. Clinically, concentrations less than 10% improve texture and pigmentation, while higher concentrations lead to an improvement in fine wrinkling. Try SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.
  • Humectants attract water to the skin cell and thus plump up fine lines and wrinkles giving your skin a smooth, youthful glow. This is perfect for hydration as dehydrated skin cells are prone to sensitivity and infection. Try SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2.

The Fitzpatrick Scale is a useful way of assessing skin type in order to understand the best way to protect skin from the sun. Avoiding sun damage helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer and remember to check your skin monthly.

If you have any concerns or have spotted an abnormality, you should speak to your doctor.

No matter what skin type you have, we believe in the beauty in diversity, and we love the skin you’re in!

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