Box 411 Skin phototype

Skin phototype is a classification used to determine the risk of cutaneous sunburning and tanning tendency following exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It is useful in determining the dose regimens for phototherapy and photochemotherapy, an individual's susceptibility to photoageing and skin cancer, and the degree of photoprotection required. Phototypes are categorised in a range of I-VI.16

• Phototype I describes white people, those who always burn and never tan.

• Phototypes IV-VI describe darker people, from light brown to dark brown or black. These people have low sensibility to ultraviolet radiation and have a low risk of burning and react to exposure by tanning.

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