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Fitzpatrick Skin Type

People with natural dark hair and dark skin can still be benefit from laser treatment for hair removal, however additional laser treatments are usually required to achieve satisfactory results.  Laser treatment for hair removal is generally not effective on naturally Grey, Red or Blonde hair. In assessing skin City laser Clinic therapists use the Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification scale. This scale was developed in 1975 by Dr Thomas B Fitzpatrick of the Harvard Medical School.

Typical FeatureSkin Tanning ResponseFitzpatrick Skin Type
Pale white skin – skin may appear Blue. Eyes are usually Blue, Green or Hazel. Hair is Blonde or Red. Includes AlbinoHighly sensitive. Always burns and never tans.I
Fair Skin usually with Blue, Green or Hazel eyes.Very sun sensitive. Burns easily, tans poorlyII
Darker White skin. No particular eye or hair colour associated.Sun sensitive skin Tans after initial burningIII
Light Brown or Olive skin. Usually Dark coloured hair with Brown eyes, but may have Blue or Green eyes.Minimally sun sensitive. Burns minimally, tans easilyIV
Brown skin or Dark Olive skin. Almost always has Black or Dark Brown hair, with Brown eyes, but may have Blue or Green eyes.Sun-insensitive skin Usually does not burn, and readily tans to a darker colourV
Dark brown or black skin. Almost always Black Hair and Dark Brown eyesSun-insensitive and deeply pigmented (melanin) Never burns, always tans darklyV1

Note: The original 1975 scale linked skin type to particular ancestries; this association is no longer appropriate or always reliable and is not included in the above table. To determine your Fitzpatrick Skin type, consideration is given to the natural Skin, Hair and Eye colour as well as response to exposure to the sun. In considering natural skin colour, body parts usually not exposed to the sun are considered; similarly with the hair colour areas not dyed or frequently exposed to the sun are used so as to accurately assess your skin type. At City Laser Clinic our laser therapists are trained, qualified and experienced in all aspects of Laser Hair Removal and Pigmentation Removal Treatments including making accurate and reliable assessment of your skin type so as to apply the most effective laser treatment regime. You may be asked some relevant questions including:

  • How your skin reacts to sunlight?
  • How long you can remain in the Sun without burning or redness?
  • What happens if you are exposed to too much sun?
  • How well you brown or tan after exposure to the sun?
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