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Identifying Your Skin Type

We’ve all have had our skin change from one minute to the next between environmental factors, the different seasons, what we consume and even our ever so fluctuating hormones play a huge factor in the state of our skin. Although no two people have the same exact type, they may have some of the same characteristics or skin concerns as many others.

Have you ever gone to the beach or laid out at the pool with a friend or two and although you all applied the exact spf sunscreen at the same time, got the same amount of sun and even though each of you forgot to reapply you each ended up with different results at the end of the day. The beautiful porcelain skin blue eyed blonde ended up with a very painful and extremely red sunburn while your half Caucasian half Hispanic friend with the dark olive skin did get dark pink it will turn into a tan within the next few days all while your other friend will have to deal with a bad sunburn much longer. How is that possible if they did the exact same thing?

UNDERSTANDING THE FITZPATRICK SCALE

When it comes to the understanding of a person’s individual skin type the first thing that needs to be understood is the Fitzpatrick Scale. The developer of this scale Thomas Fitzpatrick, created this system to numerically classify the schema of various shades of human skin. Also going by the names Fitzpatrick Skin Typing Test and the Fitz Phototyping Scale this technique estimates the type of response a person’s skin type has to UV light based on the color of their skin, eyes and hair. These factors give a great understanding of the amount of UV light a person can handle and how great their odds of skin care damage is due to sun damage. Not everyone will find themselves simply in one category on the Fitz scale so start off by finding which describes you the most if you’re in-between different types.

For example. I have tan, olive skin (IV), medium brown eyes (III) and dark brown hair (IV). Even though I have a face full of freckles (I) majority of the description for those with Type IV describes me better. Knowing that I am a Type IV means that although I usually tan very well when I’m in the sun, I still have a minimal risk of burning if I don’t protect myself thoroughly.

Now let’s see where you find yourself….

THE SIX SKIN TYPE CATEGORIES

I. TYPE I (scores 0-6) is the palest skin tone which usually involves freckles and always burns

Usually ivory skin, light gray, light green or light blue eyes and red or blonde hair.

II. TYPE II (scores 7-13) gets a minimal tan and more often than none usually burns These have fair skin, gray, blue or green eyes, blonde hair.

III. TYPE III (scores 14-20) evenly tans and may sometimes mildly burn

Darker white skin, golden tones, brown or hazel eyes with light or dark brown hair.

IV. TYPE IV (scores 21-27) typically moderately brown, tans well regularly and burns minimally

Skin is light brown or olive, eyes are darker shades of brown as well as the dark brown hair.

V. TYPE V (scores 28-34) is dark brown, rarely burns and very easily tans

Either brown or dark brown skin, dark features including dark brown eyes and hair that is dark brown or black.

VI. TYPE VI (scores 35-36) never burns and is the darkest, deeply pigmented dark brown

Those with dark brown to black skin with darkest brown to black eyes and black hair.

Those that have darker skin with a high melanin pigment are more likely to tan compared to those with very little pigment that will need much more protection as they’re at a dangerously higher risk of burning and of possibly getting melanoma or other skin cancers. According to the the Skin Care Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer although those with family or personal history of cancer increasing the risk.

WHEN UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SKIN TYPE AND SKIN CONDITION?

Skin conditions are issues that various factors whether internally or externally can affect causing temporary skin care concerns. These concerns can be anything from sun damage to acne and can be fixed with the proper treatment options. When referring to a skin ‘type’ it’s talking about sensitive, oily, dry, normal or even a combination of all of the above! To get a better understanding of what your skin type is observe your skin on most days and see where you find yourself…

· DRY is classified with sensitive skin that usually is found with rough, dry scales, reduced elasticity, more prominent lines and wrinkles and well, just plain itchy with the lack of sebum being produced to sooth the skin.

· OILY faces are more than often found with larger, more visible pores, blemishes, blackheads and an excess amount of sebum that is being produced.

· NORMAL type of skin is visibly smooth with fine pores and a healthy glow with a balanced production of sebum keeping the levels of moisture balanced.

· COMBINATION skin is usually identified by having a mixture of traits from both oily and dry type of skin. The infamous ‘T zone’ that some of us may remember learning about in our teenage years is what categorizes this skin type. Across your forehead, down your nose and to the bottom of your chin you’ll find your ‘T zone’. The skin found in that area will be the most oily with noticeably larger pores and the checks typically tend to be drier and needing more moisture.

· SENSITIVE faces typically are made worse by introducing yourself to new products, scents and even new foods. Conditions such as eczema, rosacea or simply redness and irritation may go away on its own or for those with more severe cases may need to seek professional treatment.

· MATURE type of skin roughly begins around 35 but individually varies on a person’s history, health and lifestyle. Usually fine lines and wrinkles are more visible, skin appears not as soft and supple as a person in their early 20’s that has more collagen and elasticity.

Regardless of your skin type or skin concerns take steps to keeping your skin healthy and safe from damage by always:

· Following a proper skincare regimen created for your individual needs

· Always apply sunscreen spf 30+ and above daily and don’t forget to reapply if outdoors

· Wear hats especially wide brim to protect from the sun’s rays

· Purchase sunglasses with UV protection

· Protect those lips with lip balm with added spf protection

· Wear clothing that can act as a barrier between your skin and the sun. If at the beach try wearing a cover up or a classic button up shirt to give your skin a break as much as you can! With so many stylish options out there why not pick up some sharp new pieces.

Having a better understanding of your skin type means you’re closer to achieving optimal results in your skin’s health. Skin professionals remind clients often that no one person’s skin is identical to the next so when following charts such as the Fitzpatrick scale it’s used as a reference since most people will find that they fall in more than one category. Once your skin type is identified, begin taking steps towards prevention and avoid going in the sun unprotected including the most important step of applying a spf 30+ sunscreen. It’s never too late to practice safe sun care giving you the ability to enjoy the lovely outdoors without greatly increasing the risk of premature aging or being diagnosed with skin cancer. For more information on identifying your skin type check out Healthline.com, Medicalnewstoday.com and skincancer.org

Where on the scale do you fall? We wanna hear!