Skin Analysis

The Fitzpatrick Skin Scale

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a skin classification system first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, of Harvard Medical School. His skin classification system and its adaptations are familiar to dermatologists. In order to determine your Fitzpatrick Skin Type, our quiz measures two components (genetic disposition and reaction to sun exposure). Types range from the very fair (Type I) to the very dark (Type VI).

Skin Type Typical features Tanning ability
1 Pale white skin, blue/hazel eyes, blond/red hair Always burns, does not tan
2 Fair skin, blue eyes Burns easily, sometimes tans
3 Darker white/medium skin Sometimes burns, always tans
4 Light brown skin Burns minimally, tans easily
5 Brown skin Rarely burns, always tans
6 Dark brown or black skin Never burns, always tans dark

Skin Types Explained

You've probably seen skincare products that are designed for different types of skin, like 'combination' 'oily' and 'sensitive'. But what do those terms mean? And how do you know what your skin type is?

Determining your skin type is very simple . You probably know if you're dry or oily, as you will usually see visible evidence of each type on a regular basis.

In order to be completely sure, though, give yourself an at-home "test". Here is what you'll need to do:

  • Begin by washing your face with a mild cleanser.
  • Pat it dry with a towel
  • Leave your skin for around 2 hours
  • Take a sheet of toilet paper and press firmly on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead.

That's it! Now it's time to "read" your results:

  • If your skin is oily, the paper will stick to your skin, lift up oil and appear translucent.
  • If your skin is dry, the paper or cloth will not stick or lift up oil.
  • If your skin is combination or normal, the paper or cloth may stick to your T-zone or parts of it.

Oily Skin Types

Oily skin tends to be thick, shiny with large pores clearly visible everywhere except around the eye and neck areas. Oil producing sebaceous glands can be overactive, producing more oil than is needed. Oily skin is a blessing in disguise since the abundance of oil helps keep moisture from evaporating from the epidermis, making it less prone to aging and wrinkling. On the other hand, clogged pores and blackheads are perennial problems for people with oily skin. Extra care is needed to absorb excess oils to prevent surface dead skin cells from sticking together and clogging pores.

Dry Types

Dry Skin occurs when the oil glands do not produce a sufficient amount of oil to lubricate the skin properly; as a result, the skin becomes dehydrated. Dry skin is typically thin, dull and often flaky with fine lines. This type of skin is often the result of the aging process as the ability to retain moisture is diminished. Environmental factors such as exposure to the sun, wind and cold weather climates may exacerbate dry skin as well.

Combination skin Types

Combination skin may include a variety of skin types: dry, oily or normal areas on the skin that may vary seasonally or with environmental changes. Typically the areas around the cheeks, eye and neck are dry while the areas across the forehead and down toward the nose and chin or oily. This is the most common skin type which may require seasonal regimen adjustments to adapt to the changing needs of the skin.

Sensitive Skin Types

Sensitive skin is typically a thin or a fine-textured skin. It usually reacts quickly to temperature changes from heat, cold or wind. Sensitive skin may be easily irritated, red, rashy, blotchy or prone to allergic reactions. It requires extra gentle care along with the use of mild products to formulate, help calm, and soothe skin. Sensitive skin can still fall into the oily, dry, problem or combination categories.

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