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Where Do Redheads Fall on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale?

Does it take into account all redheads, from different ethnicities and backgrounds?

If someone asked you your redhead skin type, you might answer with words like dry, oily, combination, or sensitive. These words are what we’ve come to know thanks to skincare companies, packaging and media. But, there is a skin type scale you may not know about. It’s called the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale. It’s important to know your skin type, and it’s perfectly okay to describe it as dry or combo, but it’s equally as important to treat your redhead skin type properly. Here is everything you need to know: 

What is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type scale? 

It is a numerical classification system that categorizes human skin tones based on their response to sun exposure in terms of burning and tanning. It was developed by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick in 1975 and is widely used by dermatologists to assess a person’s risk of skin damage from sun exposure.

The scale consists of six skin types, ranging from Type I (very fair skin that always burns and never tans) to Type VI (very dark skin that never burns and always tans). The classification takes into account factors like skin color, hair color, eye color, and how the skin reacts to sunlight.

This scale helps professionals determine appropriate sun protection measures and guide skincare treatments for individuals based on their skin type.

How do redheads fall on this scale? 

The scale contains 6 “skin types” and categorizes skin tones, eye colors, and even hair colors based on how likely they are to get a sunburn. Type 1 would be the fairest of skin tones, and the most likely to burn. Type 6 would be the darkest of skin tones and the least likely to burn. 

Redheads typically fall within the lower end of the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale due to their fair skin and tendency to burn rather than tan. They are often categorized as Type I or Type II on the scale. Type I individuals have very fair skin that burns easily and does not tan, while Type II individuals also have fair skin that burns easily but may eventually develop a slight tan.

Stereotypically, redheads often have a high concentration of the pigment pheomelanin in their skin, which provides our characteristic red hair but also makes our skin more sensitive to UV radiation. As a result, redheads are more prone to sunburn and skin damage from sun exposure, which is why it’s important for them to take extra precautions when in the sun, such as using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade.

Does it take into account all redheads (of all ethnicities)? 

The downfall of this scale is that it does not take into account that not all redheads have fair skin. Redheads can have any shade of skin, and while the majority of redheads do have fair skin, it’s not always the case. This also doesn’t take into account those who don’t have red hair but do have very fair skin.

Something to remember is that this is based likeness of getting a sunburn, and not on skin damage. We know skin colors from the lightest to the darkest are all affected by UV rays and will receive damage from the sun, which is why sunscreen is important even for those with darker skin.

Rock it like a Redhead! 


READ: How to Determine Your Redhead Skin Type 

READ: Find Out About Your Skin Tone With These Easy Tricks