The Fitzpatrick scale and the risk of skin cancer
The Fitzpatrick scale (also Fitzpatrick skin typing test; or Fitzpatrick phototyping scale) is a numerical classification schema for human skin color. It was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light. It was initially developed on the basis of skin and eye color, but when this proved misleading , it was altered to be based on the patient's reports of how their skin responds to the sun; it was also extended to a wider range of skin types. The Fitzpatrick scale remains a recognized tool for dermatological research into human skin pigmentation.
The following list shows the six categories of the Fitzpatrick scale in relation to the 36 categories of the older von Luschan scale:
- Type I (scores 0–6) always burns, never tans (pale white; blond or red hair; blue eyes; freckles).
- Type II (scores 7–13) usually burns, tans minimally (white; fair; blond or red hair; blue, green, or hazel eyes)
- Type III (scores 14–20) sometimes mild burn, tans uniformly (cream white; fair with any hair or eye color)
- Type IV (scores 21–27) burns minimally, always tans well (moderate brown)
- Type V (scores 28–34) very rarely burns, tans very easily (dark brown)
- Type VI (scores 35–36) Never burns, never tans (deeply pigmented dark brown to darkest brown)