Do you burn in the summer? What is your skin phototype?

Written by S0p0rt3

Most of us are clear that we have to take care of our skin every day throughout the year. Light piles, but also dark piles, although the former suffer much more than the latter from the consequences of prolonged exposure to the sun. Undoubtedly, the end of spring and summer are the most critical times for our skin. And since we are in the midst of summer and the holiday month par excellence, we will explain, in this health blog entry, why the same ultraviolet rays affect some of us more than others.

“He burns because he has fair skin.” Or “it doesn’t burn because it’s brown”. These are examples of basic arguments that many of us use in our day-to-day life, and that have a medical explanation that corresponds to what is known in Dermatology as skin phototypes. According to Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, the phototype is “the ability of the skin to respond to ultraviolet radiation and, depending on it, the relevant protective measures must be adopted. Its classification oscillates between I and VI”. This numerical classification for skin color was established in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitxpatrick, a dermatologist at Harvard University.

Dr. Irene Latour, head of the Dermatology Service of the Vinalopó University Hospitalmanaged by Ribera health group, explains that “if the phototype is low, that is to say, you have lighter skin, there is a greater risk of injury in the summer, since the skin is more sensitive to the sun”, and among them highlighted what is known as intolerance to the sun, misnamed “allergy to the sun”. To avoid the adverse effects of the sun on the skin in summer, Dr. Latour insists on the importance of using creams with very high sun protection (SPF 50+), physical measures such as clothing, a hat or cap and sunglasses, and expose yourself very gradually to the sun, very little by little, so that the skin adapts”. “In no case should adults and much less children be exposed to the sun without sunscreen”, because, he adds, “the skin has a memory and sun exposure at a pediatric age is one of the most important risk factors for development of malignant lesions in adulthood”.

What is our phototype?

In general, you just need to look at each person’s skin type to know if we have a low phototype (lighter skin) or something (darker skin). However, the Spanish Academy of Dermatology details how the sun generally affects each phototype, what is the profile of each phototype, the protection required for each and the time of exposure to the sun. All information can be consulted here.

However, this is a small summary of this information:

CLASSIFICATION OF PHOTOTYPES

photo type

Action of the sun on the skin

I

They burn easily, they never tan

II

They burn easily, tan a little

III

They burn moderately, they tan progressively

IV

They burn little, they always tan well

v

They rarely burn, they are always tanned

VI

They burn very rarely, they are very pigmented

PROTECTION NECESSARY FOR EACH PHOTOTYPE

photo type

hair

skin

Tendency to burns

tanned

I

Red hair

milky

constant

Null

II

pink

Clear

constant

light brown

III

Chestnut to dark

clear to matte

Frequent to rare

Light to dark brown

IV

dark

dead

exceptional

very dark

EXPOSURE TIME SUPPORTED BY EACH PHOTOTYPE

skin type

Exposure time required for the appearance of burns (in minutes)

I

10

II

15 to 20

III

30

IV

30 to 45

v

60

For its part, the Ministry of Health of the Government of Cantabria has drawn up a questionnaire, to make it easier for citizens to know exactly their phototype and adopt the corresponding sun protection measures, depending on it. Can to download here.

video with advice on sun exposure

Podcast Spotify on sun allergy

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