The Fitzpatrick scale

is a numerical classification for skin colour. It remains the globally recognised tool for dermatologic research to classify the response of different skin types to ultraviolet light. It is important to know your skin classification so that you can protect your skin effectively from sun exposure.

Just click on the skin tone most representative of your skin :

Skin Type 1

These people never tan and always sunburn if exposed to any appreciable amount of sunlight. They tend to have pale skin and generally have red hair and freckles or light blonde hair.

These people require maximum protection – a hat (with a 2-3 inch brim) and protective clothing are essential.

A sun protection product of at least SPF30 should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours), especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at its most harmful – between 11am-3pm.

Skin Type 2

These people usually burn but may gradually tan to a small degree after extended sun exposure. They are likely to have light hair and blue or brown eyes. Some may have dark hair but still have fair skin.

The largest percentage of Caucasian people fall into pigmentation type 2 and 3. They require moderate protection unless there is a history of skin cancer or pre-cancerous changes, high recreational or occupational exposure, sensitivity disorders and especially when taking some medications eg psoralens – in all these cases a maximum level of protection is required.

Moderate protection includes wearing a hat and clothing that covers high exposure areas, a sun protection product of at least SPF30 should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours), especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at its most harmful – between 11am-3pm

Skin Type 3

These people are those who burn with long exposure to the sun but generally tan quite readily. They usually have a light olive skin with dark hair and brown or green eyes. The largest percentage of Caucasian people fall into pigmentation type 2 and 3.

People who should seek maximum protection include those with a history of skin cancer or pre-cancerous changes, high recreational or occupational exposure, sensitivity disorders and especially when taking some medications eg psoralens. In other situations a moderate level of protection would probably suffice and includes wearing a hat and clothing that covers high exposure areas.

A sun protection product of at least SPF15 should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours) , especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at its most harmful – between 11am-3pm.

Skin Type 4

These people burn with very lengthy exposures but always tan easily, they usually have brown eyes and dark hair.

A moderate level of sun protection is required for these people and includes wearing a hat and clothing that covers high exposure areas.

A sun protection product of at least SPF15 should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours), especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at i ts most harmful – between 11am-3pm.

Skin Type 5

These people have a naturally brown skin with brown eyes and dark hair. They burn only with excessive exposure to the skin and their skin further darkens easily.

This skin type requires only minimal protection however, the head and areas of the body that are likely to have high exposure should be covered.

A sun protection product of SPF 8-15 is recommended and should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours), especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at its most harmful – between 11am-3pm.

Skin Type 6

These people have black skin with dark brown eyes and black hair. They burn only with extreme exposure to the sun and their skin further darkens very easily.

This skin type requires only minimal protection, however, the head and areas of the body that are likely to have high exposure should be covered.

A sun protection product of SPF 8-15 is recommended and should be heavily applied at least half an hour before sun exposure then re-applied frequently (every 1-2 hours), especially if sweating, towelling or swimming. Also try to schedule outdoor activities when the sun is not at its most harmful – between 11am-3pm.