What is your skin type? - The Fitzpatrick Skin Scale | ellé derm

September 02, 2021 2 min read

fitzpatrick skin scale

When we refer to Skin Type, we are referring to something more complex than dry skin, oily skin or combination skin.

This is known as the Fitzpatrick scale or Fitzpatrick skin system.

The Fitzpatrick skin system can help predict who is at risk of sunburn & melasma/hyperpigmentation by categorising skin according to how much melanin is present.

In general, those with Skin Type I to III less active melanocytes, they produce less melanin and are less prone to melasma or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

Skin type I to III beauties can generally tolerate higher strength Retinol and Vitamin C. Their skin is also less prone to hormonal fluctuation.

We would still recommend Niacinamide (anti-inflammatory) and ingredients that have a low irritant profile to promote a healthy skin barrier.

 

What about our melanin rich beauties?
In contrast, Skin type IV to VI beauties have larger and more active melanocytes. They are more sensitive to inflammation and hormonal fluctuations.

Melanin rich beauties are most prone to melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If you have this skin type, you know exactly what we are talking about! 

When choosing ingredients to treat melasma or hyperpigmentation, melanin rich beauties should choose ingredients that are gentle and non irritating.

The following brightening ingredients are listed in order of potency. They are also non-irritating and suitable for all skin types and especially ideal for melanin rich beauties: 

✔️ Retinaldehyde

✔️ Niacinamide 

✔️ Low dose Vitamin C or Magnesium Ascorbate

✔️ Pea Extract Complex & Sucrose Dilurate

✔️ Licorice Root Extract

✔️ Soy or Tumeric

✔️ Pea Extract Complex & Sucrose Dilurate



Often, a combination of these ingredients are required for optimal result as they target the different stages in melanin synthesis.

Care should also be taken when choosing ingredients in Skin Type I to III because anything that can cause inflammation can also compromise the skin barrier. 

 

 

Author: Helen Huynh (B Pharm) MPS

 Pharmacist and cosmetic formulator