Developed in 1975 by dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick as a way to classify a person’s genetic disposition and their skin’s response to ultraviolet light, the Fitzpatrick scale is the color range used primarily by dermatologists today. It places skin type into one of six categories, ranging from skin type I (very fair) to skin type VI (very dark). Within this scale, there is a wide range of human skin color variation.
The differences in skin—including tone, texture, sensitivities and reactions, thickness, moisture, and melanin levels—contribute to unique responses to the sun and environmental exposures and create different reactions to treatments and products, according to Bella Schneider, founder and owner of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons (multiple locations in CA) and Bella Schneider Beauty. “Keep in mind that within one ethnic group, there are different skin types, as well as many multiracial and mixed-race individuals, and the aesthetic goals of women vary based on their ethnic and cultural values of beauty,” she says. For example, many white clients look for a natural bronze skin color and enjoy sporting a tan, whereas Asian clients may prefer skin-whitening treatments. “When developing a skincare plan, one must remember that