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Sunburn: Skin Types

Topic Overview

Your skin type affects how easily you sunburn. But sun protection measures should be used for babies, small children, and older adults no matter what their skin type. Their skin is very sensitive to sunburn.

Keep babies younger than 12 months out of the sun. If you cannot avoid the sun, use sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat that covers the back of the neck, and clothing to protect your child's skin. Put sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) on your child before he or she goes outside. Do not use sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old.

Skin types and sunburn

Type I

Lightest skin, red hair, freckles (extremely sensitive)

You sunburn easily and are not likely to tan.

Type II

Very light skin, blue eyes (very sensitive)

You usually sunburn easily and tan a little.

Type III

Light skin (sensitive)

You sunburn sometimes and tan slowly.

Type IV

Light brown skin (moderately sensitive)

You sunburn a little and usually tan well.

Type V

Brown skin (minimally sensitive)

You rarely sunburn, and you tan deeply.

Type VI

Very dark skin (not sensitive)

You almost never sunburn.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 7/29/2020

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.