Photo-types IV to VI: Fitzpatrick scale and risk rates
Photo-types classification describes how sensitive you are to sunburns and related risk of skin damages and skin cancer.
The classification based on Fitzpatrick scale (a doctor of the Harvard Medical School that first developed it in 1975) range from Ivory (Type 1) to Black (Type VI)
Fitzpatrick scale is not a way to measure a person skin colour but rather the reaction to sun exposure. Therefore, a person may have an Olive (type 3) complexion in the winter but if he/she get a tan quickly with no burns and freckles at the beginning of the summer the right classification is IV (as the scale refers to the skin reaction to the sun).
Photo-types IV to VI have darker skin colour, usually brown or naturally black hair and brown to black eyes. They might be Latinos, Afro Americans, Hispanics or native from Mediterranean countries. By the way, do you know that few people from southern Europe may be blond and with green/grey eyes as they descend from the ancient Norman conquerors?.
Types IV to VI are still at risk of sun damages and skin cancer and need to protect themselves using sunscreens and seeking shadow between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Type IV people are Olive or light brown. Their eyes are brown and hair naturally brown. They often tan and rarely suffer burns.
Type V are Brown or dark brown. They have dark brown eyes and hair (may be black as well) and hardly ever burns. They always tan with no burns.
Type VI are Black or very dark brown (most often Afro Americans). They never suffer burns and always develop a dark tan.
Even people with a lot of melanin as types IV to VI need to avoid long exposure and often use sunscreens (SPF 15 or above), wear sunglasses and hats.
People with darker skin have also to check for acral lentiginous melanoma. This kind of cancer develop on palms and on soles of the feet and hits high melanin skin.
To optimize prevention and skin health you need sun protection as much as you need vitamin D. You can have both and avoid either vitamin D deficiency and skin damage
In 2009 fears surrounding the risks of tanning were confirmed and today we know that skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation
When spending time outside in warm weather we may need using both insect repellents and sunscreens products
New Scientist Live, the world’s best science festival in ExCel London, is the stage to be launched FREE Download of HappySun app.
Tanning is a fairly recent trend and even today the ‘ideal’ skin colour varies among different cultures