A Quick Guide To Skin Type & Tanning

By now, it would be nice to think that we all know how much damage the sun can do to our bodies. Skin Cancer Foundation statistics estimate that one in every five U.S. citizens will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. That’s a scary and astonishing statistic. Particularly when you consider that it is entirely preventable.

Skin Type and Tanning
Image source: flickr.com

Everyone is susceptible to sun damage. But to make sure you enjoy the summer rays responsibly, you need to be aware of how your skin type affects tanning. Of course, this is also relevant to anyone that enjoys a sunbed during the winter months. It may well make you look fit and healthier – but is it doing unseen damage?

I stopped taking sunbeds several years ago when I realized just what it was doing to my body. I went to see a dermatologist near me, and they showed me how the sunbeds had damaged my skin, deep beneath the surface. Thankfully, I got the all-clear, but now I’m careful about exposure to the sun, and I wouldn’t go near a sunbed if you paid me.

And, you should be even more careful depending on the skin type you have. In this guide, I’m going to go through all of the different skin types and look at the effects the sun has on them. Let’s get started.

Twin tan lines
Image source: flickr.com

The Fitzpatrick Scale

The Fitzpatrick Scale was developed by Harvard dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick in 1975. It is a test that classifies the effects of ultraviolet light on skin colors into seven different types. Let’s take a look:

Type I

Pale white skin that always burns, never tans and is highly sensitive to the sun. You will tend to have freckles, and hair is blond or red. Eyes are blue.

Type II

White and fair skin that usually burns, but gets a very minimal tan. Hair color is blond or red, and eyes can be blue, green, or hazel.

Type III

Creamy white, fair skin that sometimes burns, although a tan does appear. Can have any hair or eye color.

If you have Type I, II and III skin you are at most risk of developing skin cancer. You must go to great lengths to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Check your skin often and be quick to contact your doctor if you notice anything.

students -tanning
Image source: flickr.com

Type IV

Moderate brown skin akin to Mediterranean skin types. Burns only on rare occasions, and always tans well.

Type V

Darker brown, Middle Eastern type skin that very rarely burns and tans quickly and easily.

Types IV and V still have vulnerable skin, which can be damaged by UV light and lead to skin cancer, regardless of the fact it tans well. You should always be aware of the UV Index, and ensure you are taking the right precautions, particularly if the UV Index is 3 or above.

Type VI

Very dark brown to black skin that never burns and is not sensitive to the sun.

Type VI skin types have the most robust skin to protect against the sun’s rays, but skin cancers can still occur. Excessive exposure to UV light should be avoided.

There you have it – all the different skin types laid out for you. Make sure you are protecting yourself from the sun, and always wear sunscreen if you need to!

About Post: This is a guest post.

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Prime Aque is the back-end guy of Self-Help. He is a blogger and WordPress front-end designer. Importantly, he is a husband and a father of three wonderful kids. His firstborn are twin girls. He loves writing and sharing.

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