SKIN TYPES FITZPATRICK´S CLASSIFICATION Posted in: Aesthetic Surgery

All the skin is not created equal. There is a variety of skin tissue types including color, texture and thickness. For the most part, skin type is determined by heredity but is influenced by diet and exposure to the sun’s rays.

Certain skin types respond well to surgical procedures and others respond more intensely with inflammation and more pronounced scarring at the surgical site.

The fair-skinned patient tends to have thinner skin which heals more efficiently than dark-skinned patients. Both skin types heal normally and over the same period of time however there is a notable difference in the scar formation. Scars in both skin types are normally the same in quality and form at either end. However, in some cases, there is exaggerated healing in-between which gradually grows and increases in volume. There may be localized itching as well. This type of scar is called a Keloid. (Please click Keloids for more information)

In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, Doctorate in the Medicine School of Harvard, developed a skin-type classification system. This system was based on the color of skin of the person and its response to sun exposure. This system of classification assists doctors in the surgical approach and follow-up care after a procedure in order to promote the best possible result for the patient.

The six skin types identified by Fitzpatrick are shown below.

Skin Type

Skin Color

Response to Sun

Type I white always burns/ never tans
Type II white always burns / rarely tans
Type III light brown always burns / always tans
Type IV brown rarely burns / always tans
Type V dark brown never burns / always tans
Type VI black never burns / always tans

Using a breast reduction as an example, you can see how the six different skin types typically appear following the procedure:

Type I, gives a similar result to this:

Type II, gives a similar result to this:

Type III, gives a similar result to this:

Type IV, gives a similar result to this:

Skin Type IV patient after Breast Lifting

Type V, gives a similar result to this:

Skin Type V patient after Breast Augmentation

Type VI, gives a similar result to this:

Skin Type VI patient after Breast Augmentation

Other things may affect the skin during or following any surgical procedure. Consideration must be given to the age of the individual, the degree of skin hydration, the amount of exposure to the sun and the effects of the environment. As well, the individual’s inflammatory response and healing ability are very important aspects in how well the skin recovers following a surgical procedure.  The pre-operative consultation will address these things and permit the Plastic Surgeon to determine the best technique to be used.

To aid to a quick recovery and avoid uneven pigmentation, it is important to avoid direct sunlight as well as both dry and humid heat. This is especially important when a previous scar has been re-used.

Prior to meeting with the Plastic Surgeon, determine what type of skin you have.  Write down any questions you may have about the surgical procedure and the healing process of your skin. These will be readily answered during your pre-operative consultation.

We wish you an excellent surgical experience and a speedy recovery.

Please, feel free to call the office for questions about this or other topics concerning your Plastic Surgery request.

Any doubts about this surgery, please call the office, 684-2551  (US: 619-730-1917) or my cell 664-283-0976. We wish you a speedy recovery and an excellent experience with your esthetic lid surgery, send an email or click Contact us for more information

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