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The Six Basic Skin Types: Know Yours And How To Prevent Sun Damage 
 
by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy October 04, 2005

With skin cancer dangers at an all-time high, Americans should know the six different types of skin to better know their own risk of sun damage and skin cancers.

The First Three Types Are High Risk

Type 1 skin is porcelain white. Type 1 always burns and never tans. This type skin has the highest risk of skin cancer and wrinkles more readily that other types. Most Type 1 skin owners will have red or pale blonde hair, be blue-eyed, have freckles, and be of Irish, Scots, or Welsh ancestry.

Type 2 skin is light or fair but burns easily. Type 2 skin can tan lightly with repeated exposure to the sun but still carries a high risk for skin cancer. Hair is usually fair and eyes are often blue. Most have a Northern European heritage.

Type 3 skin is still white but darker. Many of those with Type 3 skin are a racial blend and some Native Americans. Their skin sometimes burns and may tan to a light bronze but risk for skin cancer remains higher than average.

Skin Types With Less Risk

Type 4 skin tans easily and less commonly burns. Most Type 4 skin people will be of a Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or light complected African-American background. Hispanics and Asians with Type 4 skin are lighter than many others of their race. Risk exists but is minimal.

Type 5 skin is darker and never burns. Darker toned Hispanics, Islanders, and many Asians have Type 5 skin. These have very little risk of skin cancer.

Type 6 skin is dark. Most Type 6 skins have an African ancestry. Skin never burns and skin cancer among this group is very rare.

All skin types, however, can benefit from sun protection lotions. Lighter skinned groups should use a sun screen with an SPF of at least 15.

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