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OpenUV Knowledge Base

Collection of useful tips and articles about Sun Safety and Ultraviolet Radiation Index for Developers


Fitzpatrick Skin Types & Safe Exposure Time Calculation

The most commonly used scheme to classify a person’s skin type by their response to sun exposure in terms of the degree of burning and tanning was developed by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD. As a meter of fact even the skin color of Emoji characters based on the Fitzpatrick scale.

Skin TypeColorTypical FeaturesTanning AbilityEthnicityTime to Burn (mins)
I
Very fair skin, white; red or blond hair; light-colored eyes; freckles likelyAlways burns, does not tanScandinavian, Celtic (200 * 2.5)(3 * UVI)
II
Fair skin, white; light eyes; light hairBurns easily, tans poorlyNorthern European (Caucasian)(200 * 3)(3 * UVI)
III
Fair skin, cream white; any eye or hair color (very common skin type)Tans after initial burnDarker Caucasian (Central Europe)(200 * 4)(3 * UVI)
IV
Olive skin, typical Mediterranean Caucasian skin; dark brown hair; medium to heavy pigmentationBurns minimally, tans easilyMediterranean, Asian, Hispanic(200 * 5)(3 * UVI)
V
Brown skin, typical Middle Eastern skin; dark hair; rarely sun sensitiveRarely burns, tans darkly easilyMiddle eastern, Latin, light-skinned African-American, Indian(200 * 8)(3 * UVI)
VI
Black skin; rarely sun sensitiveNever burns, always tans darklyDark-skinned African American(200 * 15)(3 * UVI)