Different Skin Types

Your skin is amazing. Yes, you. Why, you ask? Well here are a few reasons: One, the skin is the largest organ in the human body. If laid out, it would cover approximately 21 square feet. Secondly, it serves many functions such as providing a protective barrier from the external world, regulating body temperature, as well as absorbing and excreting certain elements. Finally, the skin is what makes us physically sensual beings. That is, the health and appearance of our skin and hair forms the major basis of our society’s perception of attractiveness. Amazing, right?
Despite the fact that all human beings have skin (duh), there are different ways of classifying skin types depending on pigmentation and appearance. The primary determinant in skin colour is the amount of melanin it contains. Melanin is the pigment that gives us our skin and hair colour. In the field of aesthetics, the most commonly used classification method is the Fitzpatrick Scale, which determines skin type based on sensitivity to the sun.

This scale basically identifies six types of skin, ranging from light to dark, as follows:
Type I- Always burns, never tans. People with this skin type are often very fair/pale with dark or red hair. Think Nicole Kidman.

Type II- Always burns, sometimes tans. These are people with fair skin. Think Winona Ryder.

Type III- Sometimes burns, always tans. Most Caucasians fall into this category. Think Jennifer Aniston.

Type IV- Rarely burns, usually tans. These are people with brown skin. Most Latinos, Asians, and Mediterranean’s fall into this category. Think Jennifer Lopes, aka J-Lo.

Type V- Rarely burns, always tans. These are people with dark brown skin. Think Oprah Winfrey.

Type VI- Never burns, always tans. These are people with black skin. Think Whoopi Goldberg.

Why is this classification important you ask? This is because most laser and light based skin treatments are determined by the skin type one has i.e. different settings are used for different skin types in order to get the best results, as well as avoid adverse outcomes such as burning. Ouch!

Also, it is important to know where your skin type so that you can give your skin the necessary love and attention it needs, including protection from the harmful effects of the sun. Class dismissed.