What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?
(and why you should care)

skin shades for fitzpatrick scaleWhen choosing which laser skin rejuvenation treatment is safe for your skin, the first step is identifying where you stand on the Fitzpatrick Scale.

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale was developed by the scientist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick back in 1975  in order to classify skin shades numerically. Originally developed as a universal way for scientists to measure the effects of UV rays on the skin.

Since then it has been added upon with features such as eye color and is regularly referenced in medical journals or, as is in the case of this website, to refer to when choosing your laser for laser skin rejuvenation therapy or laser hair removal.

The following is the Fitzpatrick Scale as it stands today. Which skin type are you?

Fitzpatrick Skin Type I

Fitzpatrick Skin Type I

  • skin color is naturally ivory (natural before sun)
  • eye color is either light gray, blue or green
  • natural hair color is light blond or red
  • skin always burns, freckle or peels but never tans in the sun

Fitzpatrick Skin Type II

Fitzpatrick Skin Type II

Fitzpatrick Skin Type II

  • skin color fair or pale
  • eye color is green or gray blue
  • natural hair color is blonde
  • skin freckles, burns or peels in the sun

Fitzpatrick Skin Type III

fitzpatrick skin type III

Fitzpatrick Skin Type III

  • skin color (before sun exposure): fair to beige, with golden undertones
  • eye color: hazel or light brown
  • natural hair color: dark blonde or light brown
  • skin might freckle, burns on occasion, and sometimes tans in the sun

Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV

Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV

Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV

  • skin color (before sun exposure): olive or light brown
  • eye color: dark brown
  • natural hair color: dark brown
  • sun reaction: doesn’t really freckle, burns rarely, and tans often

Fitzpatrick Skin Type V

Fitzpatrick Skin Type V

Fitzpatrick Skin Type V

  • skin color (before sun exposure): dark brown
  • eye color: dark brown to black
  • natural hair color: dark brown to black
  • sun reaction: rarely freckles, almost never burns, and always tans

Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI

Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI

Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI

  • skin color is naturally deep dark brown
  • eye color is dark brown or black
  • natural hair color is black
  • always tans darkly in the sun