Page 81 - Lasers and IPLs in Medical/Aesthetic Applications v1.2
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              Chapter 1 – Fundamentals of Medical/Aesthetic Lasers and IPLs v1.2
The ‘Fitzpatrick Scale’ and Skin Colour
● For around 30+ years the “Fitzpatrick Scale” has been used by laser and IPL users to determine the best parameters to use for a treatment.
● However, contrary to popular opinion, this scale does not represent the skin colour – it is supposed to predict the patient’s skin reaction to ultraviolet radiation.
        Skin colour
   High pheomelanin Low eumelanin Pale skin colour
      Medium pheomelanin Low eumelanin Fair white skin colour
      Low pheomelanin Medium eumelanin Light brown skin colour
         Low pheomelanin Medium high eumelanin Moderate brown skin colour
   Low pheomelanin Medium eumelanin Darker brown skin colour
        Very low pheomelanin High eumelanin Dark brown to black skin colour
          Risk of skin cancer
    Greatest risk
        High risk
        Moderate risk
            Moderate risk
    Low risk
          Very low risk
    Always burns, never tans
      Easily burns, minimal tan
      Moderate burns, tans
        Rarely burns, tans well
    Very rarely burns, tans well
        Never burns, tans
        Skin Type
       Type 1
        Type 2
        Type 3
          Type 4
       Type 5
          Type 6
   Figure 43: The Fitzpatrick ‘Skin Type’ classification – based on the skin’s reaction to ultraviolet light energy
● Consequently, a patient/client can appear to have skin type 3 one day and skin type 5 two weeks later, when they have returned from a sunny holiday! But, they still possess a type 3 skin, even though it may appear darker in colour.
● This is not a good situation when trying to assess the best set of clinical parameters to treat skin problems.
● It becomes even worse when you consider the difference in people’s perceptions.
● One operator may decide a patient has skin type 2 while another may think it is type 3 – clearly, the current method is very subjective and prone to human error!
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Chapter 1 LEVEL A Fundamentals of Lasers/IPLs
© The Laser-IPL Guys 2021

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