Types of skins

Different types of human skin

What are the different types of skin?

The types of skin vary according to the different content of melanin in the skin. We can distinguish the following ones:

Type 1: It is that one belonging very white people with blue eyes that redden much in contact with the sun and that fail to tan. (Semi-albino type)

Type 2: It applies to people with fair skin, blue eyed, blond or red hair who become red easily and tan little in contact with the sun. Type (Nordic type)

Type 3: It applies to people with white skin, brown hair and brown eyes who redden in contact with the sun and tan a little. (Caucasian type)

Type 4: This is for people with brown skin, dark hair and dark eyes, who become little red and tan easily. (Mediterranean type)

Type 5: They are people with very dark skin, dark hair and dark eyes who do not become red and tan intensively (Semi- black type)

Type 6: It is for people with black skin who do not redden although they can tan (Black type)

Which types of skin need sunscreens?

The use of sunscreens is required for all skin types, although dark skin contain more melanin and are better protected. (Melanin is a natural pigment that protects skin against the action of ultraviolet rays)

People with black hair and dark skin have more melanin than people with brown hair, blonde or red hair and white skin. This does not mean brown people should not be protected but that the index of sunscreen protection will be less.

Which types of skin are more exposed to sunburn or cancer development?

The first three types are exposed to greater risk of cancer because they are less protected against UV radiation. Most people who develop melanomas are of this type of people who are also more prone to sunburn.

We must note that radiation is cumulative and can produce unwanted results after many years of continuous exposure.

Within this group we must include as a special risk group to young children whose skin is very sensitive to the action of sunlight and must always protected. (Protection factor above 20) In this case, all children until 2 or 3 years old, are considered to belong to type 1 skin. Old people are included within the same group, too.

It has been shown that the application of sunscreens during the first 18 years of life decreases by 75% the chance of skin cancer.

What other factors can influence in the use of a sunscreen?

In addition to skin type, the use of a sunscreen depends on the amount of radiation received by the person. This also depends on exposure time and some other factors. Among the main ones are:

The time of day and the time of year: When the sun’s rays impact perpendicularly to the ground, they are stronger. Noon is the moment when solar radiation is more important, so we should try to avoid exposing ourselves in those hours when the sun is at its peak. Between 10 and 3 pm, solar time is when we must be particularly cautious. Over 50% of solar radiation received from the sun occurs between 12 and 2 noon. Depending on the time of year, there is also more or less radiation. Summer radiation is higher than Winter radiation. This does not mean that we should not protect us from winter sun.

Latitude: As we move to ecuador, the sun reaches more perpendicular to the ground, so countries that are next to this parallel will receive more solar radiation.

The height from the sea level: Earth atmosphere is a layer that filters the Sun’s rays. As we climb higher, protection against harmful effects of the sun is lower. It is very dangerous to take the sun in the mountains because ultraviolet rays are more intense. Protection in this case should be higher. At 2000 meters high there is about 20 to 25% more ultraviolet radiation.

The State of Sky: A cloud-free sky allows the passage of the sun more easily than a cloudy sky. Clouds reduce the intensity of ultraviolet rays because they act as a filter.

The reflection of light: The amount of radiation a person receives depends also on the reflected radiation received from the surfaces of the place where someone is. For example, a landscape of snow can reflect up to 80%, sand from the beach about 15% and water up to 25%.

The use of photosensitive drugs or remedies: Certain medications, especially those containing hormones – acne medications, pills against pregnancy -, antibiotics, medicines for hypertension or diabetes, etc., can sensitize the skin making this to react more easily to solar radiation. These drugs, like the use of certain plants such as St. John’s wort, produce photosensitization and therefore may be responsible for the appearance of brown spots, redness and even burns.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Which Sun Protection Factor do I need?

Using the sun protection factor (SPF) we can see how long we can stay in the sun without blushing. Theoretically, This will be measured multiplying the minutes you can stay in the sun without using protection by factor sunscreen. For example, if we can stay 5 minutes without blushing and multiply it by a factor of protection 12 will result in 60 minutes protection. However, in practice this is not completely true, since the amount of radiation a person can received depends not only on the type of the skin but on many different factors, such as we have seen before.

The sun protection factor tells us how long we can be exposed to the sun without getting burned. The following table shows the most convenient sun protection factor according to skin type and the hours you are trying to spend on the sun..

Sun Protection Factor
Type of Skin (*) 60 minutes 120 minutes
Type 1 15 30
Type 2 15 15
Type 3 15 15
Type 4 8 8
Type 5 4 8
Sun Protection Factor
Type of Skin (*) 180 minutes 240 minutes 300 minutes or more
Type 1 30 45 45
Type 2 30 30 45
Type 3 15 30 30
Type 4 15 15 30
Type 5 8 15 15

(*) Explanation of the different types of skin

More information about sun creams and sunburns.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 March, 2019

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