Skin & Complexion Overview

Dermatologists use the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale to classify a person's complexion and tolerance to sunlight. The Fitzpatrick scale classifies skin types from I to VI.

Fitzpatrick Classification Scale

  • Type I—Very white or freckled skin, always burns with sun exposure (very fair; often in people with red or blond hair and blue eyes)
  • Type II—White skin, usually burns with sun exposure (fair; often in people with red or blond hair and blue, green, or hazel eyes)
  • Type III—White or olive skin tone, sometime burns with sun exposure (fair; seen in people with any hair or eye color)
  • Type IV—Brown skin, rarely burns with sun exposure (common in people of Mediterranean descent)
  • Type V—Dark brown skin, very rarely burns with sun exposure (common in people of Middle-Eastern descent)
  • Type VI—Black skin, never burns with sun exposure

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 29 Jun 2007

Last Modified: 05 Mar 2015