The Fitzpatrick skin type matrix was developed in 1975, by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD, PHD, of Harvard Medical school. This
This is a classification system for skin typing and is based on a person’s complexion and responses to sun exposure. For successful laser and light therapy, it is necessary to determine your correct skin type before treatment.
Fitzpatrick Skin Type and Description
- I extremely fair skin – always burns, never tans
- II fair skin – always burns, sometimes tans
- III medium skin – sometimes burns, always tans
- IV olive skin – rarely burns, always tans
- V moderately pigmented brown skin – never burns, always tans
- VI markedly pigmented black skin – never burns, always tans
Patient selection is a key aspect of the effective use with laser hair removal. Hair colour and skin type are the two most important factors in predicting success of treatments. Temporary hair loss almost always occurs regardless of hair colour. Long-term hair loss, however, is correlated with hair colour. Black or brown hair indicating a high concentration of melanin in the follicles, is ideal. In the experience of the investigators who initially tested the LightSheer diode system, people with skin Types I and II are most easily treated. People with skin Types III, IV, and V may require pre-treatment with sunscreen and bleaching creams to reduce the amount of melanin in the epidermis. People with skin Type VI are generally of high risk for skin damage, and are generally not treated.