Skin Type - Do You Need a Sunscreen for Dark Skin?
Before you choose a sunscreen for dark skin the first step to good skin health is being knowledgeable about your darker complexion. Melanin is the chemical that determines the color of skin. The more melanin there is in a person’s skin, the darker that person’s skin will be. The number distribution and type of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the skin, determine your skin color. Dermatologists refer to the degrees of pigmentation in skin as “skin types.” Skin types range from very little pigment (type 1) to very darkly pigmented (type 6). How easily you burn depends on your skin type and how light or dark your skin is.
Fitzpatrick Classification for Sun-Reactive Skin Types
Reaction to UVA
Reaction to Sun
|Caucasian; blond or red hair, freckles, fair skin, blue eyes
|Always burns easily, never tans; very fair skin tone
|Caucasian; blond or red hair, freckles, fair skin, blue eyes or green eyes
|Usually burns easily, tans with difficulty; fair skin tone
|Darker Caucasian, light Asian
|Burns moderately, tans gradually; fair to medium skin tone
|Mediterranean, Asian, Hispanic
|Rarely burns, always tans well; medium skin tone
|Middle Eastern, Latin, light-skinned African American, Indian
|Very rarely burns, tans very easily; olive or dark skin tone
|Dark-skinned African American
|Never burns, deeply pigmented; very dark skin tone
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