Fitzpatrick Skin Typing: What is it?

by | Nov 10, 2022 | Laser Hair Removal, Skin

Fitzpatrick Skin Typing: What is it?

Have you ever wondered about your skin type? The Fitzpatrick skin typing test is a widely used tool for dermatologists, aestheticians, and medical professionals to understand your skin’s genetic history, pigmentation, and how it reacts to sun exposure. This information can help assess your sun exposure risk and predisposition to skin cancer. It can also identify what products and treatments will be the most effective on your skin. We’ll reveal the questions of this famous skin test; however, first, let’s dive into who created it and why. 

Who developed the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test?

Thomas B. Fitzpatrick developed the Fitzpatrick scale in 1975. He was a Harvard dermatologist who created a classification system for how one’s skin responds to ultraviolet light. He classified skin into six types, ranging from very light (type 1) to very dark (type 6). Ultimately, this tool allows insight into the amount of melanin or pigmentation in the skin and how it reacts to sun exposure, which can help identify one’s risk for skin cancer. 

Fitzpatrick skin type

What questions are on the Fitzpatrick skin type quiz?

The Fitzpatrick skin type quiz consists of eight questions. The answers to the following eight questions will give insight into your skin type. First, read each question, select the number that best describes you and your skin, and write down your answers. Next, add your numbers to get a grand total, and then check your score to see your skin type. 

Question 1: What is the natural color of your eyes? 

0 – Light blue, gray, or green  

1 – Blue, gray, or green 

2 – Blue 

3 – Dark Brown 

4 – Brownish Black  

Question 2: What is your natural hair color?

0 – Sandy red 

1 – Blonde 

2 – Chestnut/ Dark Blonde 

3 – Dark brown 

4 – Black 

Question 3: What is the color of your unexposed skin (i.e., stomach, thighs)?

0 – Reddish 

1 – Very Pale 

2 – Pale with a beige tint 

3 – Light brown 

4 – Dark brown  

Question 4: Do you have freckles on sun-exposed areas like your lower arms or face?

0 – Many 

1 – Several 

2 – Few 

3 – Incidental 

4 – None 

Question 5: What happens when you stay in the sun too long?

0 – Painful redness, blistering, peeling 

1 – Blistering followed by peeling 

2 – Burns sometimes followed by peeling 

3 – Rare burns 

4 – Never had burns 

Question 6: How easily do you turn brown or tan?

0 – Hardly or not at all 

1 – Light color tan 

2 – Reasonable tan 

3 – Tan very easily 

4 – Turn dark brown quickly  

Question 7: Do you turn brown or tan easily several hours after sun exposure?

0 – Never 

1 – Seldom 

2 – Sometimes 

3 – Often 

4 – Always 

Question 8: How does your face react to the sun?

0 – Very sensitive 

1 – Sensitive 

2 – Normal 

3 – Very resistant 

4 – Never had a problem 

Score Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test

Take your answers to each question above, then add them up to get your Fitzpatrick skin type. 

If your score is between 0 – 7, your skin type is Type I. 

If your score is between 8 – 16, your skin type is Type II. 

If your score is between 17 – 25, your skin type is Type III. 

If your score is between 25 – 30, your skin type is Type IV. 

If your score is over 30, your skin type is Type V-VI. 

Fitzpatrick skin type quiz

What are the different skin types on the Fitzpatrick Scale?

There are six different skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale. Now that you know your score, you can identify your skin type based on these characteristics and descriptions. 

Skin Type I: You always burn. You are extremely pale and never tan. You have red or blonde hair and light-colored eyes.  

Skin Type II – You are pale, but you can somewhat tan. Your skin burns pretty quickly. 

Skin Type III – Your skin sometimes burns. You mostly tan. You have more of a “light olive” complexion to your skin tone. 

Skin Type IV – You rarely burn. You almost always tan. Your skin tone has a “dark olive” complexion. 

Skint Type V – You have moderately pigmented skin. You may be of Indian, Hispanic, etc., descent. 

Skint Type VI – You have darker pigmented skin and are of African American descent. 

Is the Fitzpatrick skin type quiz accurate?

The Fitzpatrick skin type is still a commonly used classification system despite being created in 1975. Although this test may seem outdated and subjective, it is only one tool (out of many) that allows medical professionals to assess one’s risk for skin cancer. 

Unfortunately, no one test can, with 100% accuracy, give you a predictor of your risks. Numerous factors play a role in assessing your risk or diagnosing any cancer or disease. Think of it as one piece of a giant puzzle. That said, each of us can take steps to help minimize our skin cancer risks, such as proper sun safety. But to understand your risks based on your genetics and medical history, we recommend you make an appointment and have regular check-ups with a board-certified dermatologist. 

While the score usually results in one category, there is a chance you may fall into multiple categories. That’s why it’s essential to look at the results of this test in conjunction with your genetics, medical history, and more. And that’s why we highly recommend a free consultation to ensure that we know your background so we can guide you on your skincare journey. 

Why is the Fitzpatrick scale significant to aestheticians?

Answering a few questions allows specialists insight into how well your skin will do with specific products and treatments. In addition, it helps determine h w your skin may react before, during, and after any med spa procedures. Knowing this information upfront allows aestheticians to understand what results one can expect and how to minimize unwanted side effects. 

At Complexions Med Spa by Northern Oklahoma Dermatology, we request that all patients, especially those interested in laser hair removal, take this quiz and discuss the results with our highly-trained aestheticians to ensure it will work for you. 

Our skin constantly changes, so that’s why we look forward to creating a long-lasting partnership with our clients. So give us a call at 918-214-8686 to start your skincare journey. 


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