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the Fitzpatrick scale

What is The Fitzpatrick Scale?

If you are considering having SkinBase IPL, you may be wondering – what is the Fitzpatrick scale? Created in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, originally the scale intended to determine how likely a patient was to burn or tan when exposed to UV light. Now, the scale is helpful in determining which clients can have laser or light therapies. It rates two things: the amount of pigment in your skin, and how your skin reacts to the sun.

What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?

If you want a course of SkinBase IPL treatments, the Fitzpatrick scale will be used by your SkinBase therapist to assess suitability. This way they can make sure the treatment is safe for use on your skin. IPL is effective for a range of treatments, such as unwanted hair, acne and pigmentation. A series of questions will help your therapist classify you into one of the Fitzpatrick skin types – ranging from skin type 1 – 6. 


Skin Type 1 

Skin type 1 on the Fitzpatrick scale is characterised by white skin and very fair, red or blond hair.  Usually, clients who are a type 1 will have blue eyes and freckles. A key characteristic of those with type 1 skin is always burning in sunlight, and never tanning.


Skin Type 2

Those categorised as skin type 2, as with type 1, have white Caucasian skin and naturally fair, red or blond hair. They may also have light/medium brown hair. Eye colour may be blue, hazel or green. Type 2 clients will usually burn with sun exposure, and may tan with difficulty.


Skin Type 3

Those who are a skin type 3 may have Caucasian or Asian skin. Eye colour varies, and type three clients will often tan when exposed to UV, with the potential to burn mildly.


Skin Type 4 

Those with type 4 skin often have brown skin, brown eyes and dark hair. Clients categorised as a skin type 4 will rarely burn when exposed to UV, and will tan easily.


Skin Type 5

Skin Type 5 clients will have naturally brown skin, brown eyes and dark hair.  They will be very sensitive to UV, so will tan very easily and burn only with excessive exposure to the the sun.


Skin Type 6

Those who are skin type six will have black skin with dark brown eyes and black hair. These clients are very sensitive to UV, and skin pigment will easily darken after exposure.


Who Can Have SkinBase IPL?

The Fitzpatrick Scale is important for treatments like IPL because different skin types react differently to UV light. It indicates amounts of melanin in the skin and likelihood of burning. This is information is crucial to your SkinBase therapist. Skin types 1-5 can be treated with SkinBase IPL.  Unlike other systems, the SkinBase IPL system allows the practitioner to fine-tune the settings to suit specific skin and hair combinations. This ensures the best results possible.


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