A Guide for the Permanent Makeup Pro

The Fitzpatrick Skin Types

The Fitzpatrick Skin Types

Authored By Dr. Cardona 3 Comment(s)

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The classification known as the Fitzpatrick skin type (or phototype) depends on the amount of melanin pigment in the skin. This is determined by the constitutional color (white, brown or black skin) and the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (tanning). This scale was described by Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, American Dermatologist, and father of modern dermatology. It is used as an important tool in the field of micropigmentation, since pigment implanted in the skin interacts directly with melanin, determining the final result of the color.

When you do permanent makeup it is important to be highly familiar with the characteristics of each skin type in order to correctly classify your client and select the most appropriate color.

Skin types according to the Fitzpatrick scale are classified from 1 to 6 and take into account the characteristics of hair color, skin color, and eye color. These structures are used because they have melanin in common.

In the skin, melanin is produced by melanocytes.  Melanocytes are cells found in the epidermis and their main function is associated with protection against ultraviolet radiation.

There are different types of melanin, and, in humans, the most common are called Eumelanin and Pheomelanin. They are present in all people in varying concentrations. These concentrations are genetically determined and differ among ethnic groups.

  • Eumelanin gives color to gray, black, yellow, and brown hair and is more abundant in people with dark skin (skin types 4-5 and 6).
  • Pheomelanin is more abundant in the light skin (skin types 1-2 and 3), producing a pink to red hue.  It is also found in large quantities in red hair. Pheomelanin is also found on the lips and nipples.

This information is important because when you implant a pigment in the skin, you must consider that the tone you are applying (cold, neutral or warm tone) will be mixed with 30% of the melanin (pheomelanin or eumelanin) of your client's skin to obtain the desired color. This is the reason why the same pigment sets in a different way in every person.

This is the table that summarizes the characteristics of skin types according to Fitzpatrick:

These images will help you identify this classification in a clearer way.


I recommend you practice analyzing each of your clients and that you take note of it in their clinical history. This will be an essential practice for building a database to consult in making the correct color decisions, thus assuring greater predictability of healed color results.


Dr. Cardona



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