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What kind of a Fitzpatrick are you?

Posted by Melinda Fick on

Dr Thomas Fitzpatrick developed a skin typing system in 1975. This is based on how a person's skin reacts to sunlight and can serve as a guideline to help you establish your risk of skin cancer and your susceptibility to premature ageing.

Keep in mind how we are prompted to select a skin tone before sending an emoji for the first time. Essentially those options represent the 6 Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes.

 Skin Type Skin appearance / Characteristics Skin's Estimated Response to Sunlight
I Very fair/Pale white, blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, freckles Always burns, never tans. High risk of skin cancer.
II Fair/White, blond or red hair, blue, green, hazel eyes Usually burns, tans minimally. High skin cancer risk.
III Cream/Medium white, any hair or eye colour, very common skin type Burns sometimes, tans gradually. Moderate skin cancer risk.
IV Olive skin, dark brown hair Rarely burns, always tans. Moderate skin cancer risk.
V Brown skin, dark or black hair, brown eyes Almost never burns, tans easily. Low risk of sun induced skin cancer.
VI Black skin, brown eyes Almost never burns, always tans. Low risk of sun induced skin cancer.


Regardless of your skin type, we all need some kind of sun protection when outside. Either to guard against sunburn, premature ageing or pigmentation.

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