Surely you have already noticed a connection between skin type and tanning behaviour of the skin. It has long been no secret that light-skinned people have to protect themselves more from the sun than people with dark skin:
Already in 1975 the dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick published a classification for skin types. Although this was still a little further developed over the years, his model is still established today. The main indicators used are skin tone, hair colour and eye colour.
Adults can make a rough assessment of their skin type on the basis of the following categories and choose the appropriate sun protection factor according to the expected intensity of sunlight. However, this classification does not apply to children. The self-protection mechanisms of the skin only develop slowly from the second year of life. The UV rays can therefore penetrate as far as possible unhindered into the children's skin and cause long-term damage there. All children should therefore be protected equally. Long stays in the sun are not recommended. Long clothes and headgear, on the other hand, are.
The Fitzpatrick model includes six skin types. In addition, recommendations are made for the use of a light protection factor, which in turn is based on the UV index. The UV index is an internationally standardised measure of UV radiation that can cause sunburn on unprotected skin. However, it is important to note that there is no general formula that can be used to calculate the intensity and duration of the radiation above which the skin shows redness. It is also impossible to calculate when a sunburn starts to develop; too many different and individual influencing factors simply play a role here.
Skin Type I: The Celtic Type
- Celtic skin type has reddish or light blonde hair
- Eye color may vary: There are Celtic guys with blue, green or grey eyes.
- The skin is particularly bright. In summer, the Celtic type does not turn brown, but gets many freckles.
- The self-protection of the skin is less than 10 minutes. Therefore the sunburn risk of this skin type is very high, the same applies unfortunately also to the skin cancer risk.
Behavior in the sun:
People of this skin type are best off staying in the direct sun. Self-protection should not be viewed too optimistically. Stay in the shade, especially at noon when the sun is at its most intense. You should cover your head and upper body as much as possible, sensitive areas on your face such as your nose, ears or mouth should be particularly well protected.
UV-Index: In areas with less intensive sunlight (UV-Index 3-4) sun protection factor 15 is recommended, at very high intensity (UV-Index 9 or higher) sun protection factor 25 to 35.
Skin Type II: The Nordic Type
- Similar to the Celtic skin type, the Nordic types can also be recognized by the very light skin with freckles, which achieves a slight tan in summer.
- on his blue, green or grey eyes.
- The Nordic type, however, has no reddish, but blond or brown hairs.
- Nevertheless, the risk of sunburn and skin cancer is also very high in the Nordic type. The self-protection time for a safe stay in the sun is just 10 to 20 minutes.
Behavior in the sun:
Also the nordic type should always prefer the shade and protect the body from direct sunlight by appropriate clothing. Wear sunglasses, possibly a hat. A good sun protection for the face should be a matter of course.
UV index: In areas with UV index 3-4, for example Berlin in spring or autumn, sun protection factor 10 to 15 is sufficient. For areas with UV index 9 or higher (for example Mallorca in midsummer) sunscreen with sun protection factor 20 to 25 is recommended.
Skin type III: The mixed type
- The mixed type is the most common skin type in our latitudes and has dark blond or brown hair, but sometimes also blond or black.
- The skin colour is classified as medium, the skin shows a visible tan in summer.
- Freckles are rather rare.
- However, the eye color gives little indication of the type, since all eye colors occur with the mixed type.
Behaviour in the sun
The mixed type sometimes gets a sunburn, but this skin type is less susceptible. A skin cancer risk exists however equally, therefore it is important also for humans of this skin type to protect themselves sufficiently: Intensive sunlight during the lunchtime should be avoided as far as possible. Headgear and sunglasses should be part of the standard repertoire.
UV index: For a longer stay in the sun, a sun protection factor of 10 to 15 is recommended in temperate latitudes. At high intensity (UV index 9+), a sun protection factor of 15 to 20 is advisable.
Skin Type IV: The Mediterranean Type
- The Mediterranean type basically has a rather olive or brownish complexion.
- In addition, brown eyes and dark until even black hair come.
- The Mediterranean guy doesn't have freckles.
- In the sun, the skin of the Mediterranean type tans quite quickly and becomes medium brown. Sunburn rarely affects these happy people. The risk of skin cancer is relatively low.
Behaviour in the sun
People of the Mediterranean skin type can usually spend more than 30 minutes in the sun safely. Nevertheless, special protection or appropriate clothing is recommended for sensitive parts of the body such as the face and head. In areas with intense sunlight, for example in the mountains or by the sea, mouth, nose and neck should be creamed particularly well.
UV-Index: The recommended sun protection factor for areas with light sunlight is factor 10. In very sunny places sun protection factor 15 should be used.
Skin Type V: The Dark Skin Type
- The dark skin type can be recognized by the dark to light brown skin. Sometimes a gray undertone appears.
- The eyes are usually brown, the hair black. Just like the Mediterranean type, tanning of the skin is achieved quite quickly when exposed to sunlight.
- Freckles do not show this skin type.
The self-protection time is more than 90 minutes. The skin is quite insensitive to the sun. Sunburn and skin cancer occur correspondingly rarely in dark skin types. Headgear and sunglasses are therefore usually sufficient to protect yourself from the sun. However, in areas where the sun is very strong, sensitive areas of the face (nose and lips) and neck should be protected.
UV index: If you want to stay in the sun for a particularly long time, you should use a sun cream with sun protection factor 6 in areas with a UV index of 3-4. A sun protection factor of 10 is recommended for strong solar radiation (UV index 9+).
Skin Type VI: The Black Skin Type
- The black skin type has dark brown to black skin, brown eyes and black hair.
- People of this skin type don't actually get sunburn at all but also no freckles.
- Skin cancer is virtually excluded
Just like the dark skin type, people of the black skin type can safely stay in the sun for over 90 minutes. Nevertheless, you should protect your head, face and neck with sunscreen in case of strong sunlight.
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