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Fitzpatrick Classification Scale

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Updated January 13, 2014

The Fitzpatrick Classification Scale was developed in 1975 by Harvard Medical School dermatologist, Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD. This scale classifies a person's complexion and their tolerance of sunlight. It is used by many practitioners to determine how someone will respond or react to facial treatments, and how likely they are to get skin cancer.

Fitzpatrick Classification Scale

Skin Type Skin Color Characteristics
I White; very fair; red or blond hair; blue eyes; freckles Always burns, never tans
II White; fair; red or blond hair; blue, hazel, or green eyes Usually burns, tans with difficulty
III Cream white; fair with any eye or hair color; very common Sometimes mild burn, gradually tans
IV Brown; typical Mediterranean caucasian skin Rarely burns, tans with ease
V Dark Brown; mid-eastern skin types very rarely burns, tans very easily
VI Black Never burns, tans very easily

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