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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


Red hair, freckles (extremely sensitive)


You sunburn easily and are not likely to tan.

Type II


Fair skin, blue eyes (very sensitive)


You usually sunburn easily and tan a little.

Type III


Most whites (sensitive)


You sunburn sometimes and tan slowly.

Type IV


Mediterranean, Hispanic, Asian (moderately sensitive)


You sunburn a little and usually tan well.

Type V


Middle Eastern, Latino, Indian, light-skinned blacks (minimally sensitive)


You rarely sunburn, and you tan deeply.

Type VI


Dark-skinned blacks (not sensitive)


You almost never sunburn.

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine

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