Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Likewise, the brand of sunscreen my dermatologist recommends for me.

What is your sun risk Factor?

Do you know your sun exposure risk factor, based on your skin type? The American Academy of Dermatology divides skin tones into six types. Each skin type is beautiful, but each carries with it its own particular risk factor for damage/cancer due to sun exposure.

The skin types are as follows:

Type I – Extremely High Risk

People with skin type I do not tan whatsoever. They burn easily. Their skin is extremely sensitive to the sun. They have very fair white skin, and usually have light (blond or red) hair and light eyes, as well.

Skin Type II – Very High Risk

People with skin type II skin burn easily, but they can, with great difficulty, achieve a very light tan after repeated sun exposure. Their skin is highly sensitive to the sun. Like Type I, they have fair skin and eyes and hair that are on the lighter, rather than darker, side.

Skin Type III – High Risk

People with skin type III sometimes burn, but normally tan to a light, all-over brown when in the sun. Their skin is sensitive to the sun. They may have white to olive skin tones. This group is the largest skin risk factor group in the U. S.

Skin Type IV – Moderate Risk

People with skin type IV will quickly tan to a moderate brown. They may sunburn, but minimally. They may have olive to light brown skin.

Skin Type V – Low Risk

People with skin type V will find that they seldom get a sunburn and that they tan easily and deeply in the sun. They may have light to fairly dark brown skin.

Skin Type VI – Minimal Risk

People with skin type VI have deep skin tones. In the sun, they hardly ever burn, if ever. People in this category generally have dark black or very dark brown skin.

Types IV, V, and especially VI (lucky you!) generally show aging of the skin later than Types I, II, and III. There are skin cancers in these lower risk groups, but the frequency of occurrence is lower than for the higher risk groups. Even though your risk of skin damage and skin cancer is lower, it is still an important risk, nonetheless. The American Academy of Dermatologist recommends that everyone, even those with skin that seems impervious to the sun, wear a sunscreen with a SPF of 30. We all need to protect our skins, for skin is the largest organ in our bodies and is essential to our health and well-being.

I think I'm risk factor Type II. I think my husband is Type III, maybe IV, and my children are Type I and Type II. Which type are you? How about your spouse? Children? If you'd like to know more, ask your physician.


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