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What Is the Difference between the Fitzpatrick Skin Typing System and the Baumann Skin Typing System?

You may be familiar with the Fitzpatrick Skin Type scale, developed in 1975 by Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick. How does this scale differ from the Baumann Skin Type System, developed in 2004 by Dr. Leslie Baumann? 

In short, the Fitzpatrick scale corresponds with skin tanning in response to UV and light exposure. The Baumann Skin Type System identifies four barriers to skin health: dehydration, inflammation, dyspigmentation, and aging. Learn more about each of these skin typing systems and how to find your specific skin type here.

What Is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type System?

The Fitzpatrick scale was developed in order to correctly does ultraviolet A and psoralen (PUVA) for the treatment of psoriasis. Prior to the development of this system, dosage was determined based only on hair and eye color, resulting in higher doses than were easily tolerated by some patients. Thus, this system does not address general skin care needs, but rather helps to treat a specific skin concern. 

Originally, this scale only classified caucasion skin types. The scale was redone later to add skin of color. The current Fitzpatrick Skin type Scale divides subjects into these six categories, based on how the skin reacts to the first exposure to the sun. First exposure looks at how the skin reacts when the subject has not been in the sun for a long time. The largest problem with this scale is that subjects are often not able to accurately assess their own Fitzpatrick Skin type, so it should be assessed by a trained dermatologist. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type

  1. Type I – always burns, never tans
  2. Type II – usually burns, tans minimally
  3. Type III – sometimes mild burn, tans uniformly
  4. Type IV – burns minimally, always tans well 
  5. Type V –  very rarely burns, tans very easily 
  6. Type VI – never burns 

At a glance, the Fitzpatrick scale:

  • Measures the skin’s ability to pigment in response to UVA exposure. 
  • For accuracy, must be assessed by a trained medical provider, rather than self-administered. 
  • Does not correspond to skin care needs.
  • Corresponds to what dose of UV or light should be used to treat psoriasis or to use for laser hair removal or other lasers.

What Is the Baumann Skin Type System?

The Baumann Skin Type System was developed to diagnose the skin’s phenotype in order to properly prescribe a corresponding skincare regimen. Baumann Skin Type System, also known as the Skin Type Solutions System, considers the four main barriers to skin health: dehydration, inflammation, dyspigmentation, and lifestyle factors that speed aging. 

There are 16 Baumann Skin Types, based on all of the combinations of these barriers to skin health. 

Each type is either dry (D) or oily (O), sensitive (S) or resistant (R), pigmented (P) or nonpigmented (N), and tight (T) or wrinkled (W).

The 16 Baumann Skin Types

At a glance, the Baumann Skin Typing System:

  • Identifies the four main barriers to skin health.
  • Gives specific recommendations for skin care needs.
  • Gives recommendations on what ingredients to use and what ingredients to avoid.
  • Corresponds with customized skin care regimens.
  • Does not correspond to doses to use for laser or light treatments.
  • Allows for self-assessment for all genders and ethnicities using a scientifically validated questionnaire.

In Summary

Your Baumann Skin Type was designed to scientifically diagnose the skin type and match the skin type to a prescribed skincare regimen that takes into account all of the barrier to skin health. While the Fitzpatrick scale has utility in predicting the skin’s response to UV Light, it does not provide any information skincare needs and cannot be used to design a skincare regimen.

To find your Baumann Skin Type, download the Skin Type Solutions mobile app and take the short questionnaire. Work with a physician partner in your area to develop a customized skin care regimen based on your skin type. 

©2019 Metabeauty, Inc. 

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August 6, 2019 Skin Type
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