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What Is Your Skin Type?

By HERWriter
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skin-cancer-risk-and-skin-type iStockphoto/Thinkstock

You may have thought I was going to discuss whether your skin type was normal, oily or dry. However, this article is really about determining what type of skin makes you more susceptible to UV radiation and increases your risk of skin cancer.

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification system was developed by Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick from Harvard Medical School and is used by dermatologists to determine which of the six skin types a patient may have. Combining knowledge of a person’s skin type with family history and typical daily sun exposure helps make people more aware of the need to take protection from the sun.

Ready to figure out your skin type?

First go to this American Academy of Dermatology site https://www.listentoyourskin.org/sun-damage/your-own-risk.aspx/ and take the quick test to determine what your skin type number is.

Then, come back and review the qualities of the six Fitzpatrick skin types. You may be able to determine your skin type by just reading the descriptions below but the test is fun.

Fitzpatrick Six Skin Types:

I. Always burns and doesn’t tan. Typically are fair-skinned, freckled, blue eyed. Celt descent. Susceptibility: Very High

II. Always sunburns, minimal tanning. Typically are fair-skinned, blonde, blue eyed. Scandinavians descent. Susceptibility: High

III. Sometimes sunburns, tans moderately. Typically are fair-skinned but brown haired, brown eyes. Susceptibility: Average

IV. Seldom sunburns, tans easily. Typically light brown skin, dark brown hair, may be of Hispanic or Mediterranean descent. Susceptibility: Low

V. Rarely sunburns, tans very easily. Typically darker brown-skinned, may be of Mediterranean, Oriental or Eastern Indian descent. Susceptibility: Very Low

VI. Never burns, deeply pigmented. African American descent. Susceptibility: Minimal

source: The Bradley O'Martin Melanoma Foundation

Now that you know your skin type, for planning purposes, you need to know what the UV index is in the area you live each day to pay attention to your sun exposure.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.