Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2012.
The classification known as the Fitzpatrick skin type (or phototype) depends on the amount of melaninpigment in the skin. This is determined by constitutional colour (white, brown or black skin) and the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (tanning). Pale or white skin burns easily and tans slowly and poorly: it needs more protection against sun exposure. Darker skin burns less and tans more easily. It is also more prone to develop postinflammatory pigmentation after injury (brown marks).