The Fitzpatrick Test: Perfect Shade for your Skin

The Fitzpatrick test is a widely used quantifying technology that pinpoints your unique skin type and shade to help beauticians create a custom color and formula for you. Developed by Harvard dermatologist Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick in 1975, this test is used worldwide as a means of classifying skin based on sun sensitivity. In other words, the scale is used to quantify shades of skin. The Fitzpatrick test is a very useful tool for permanent makeup artists to color-match dye to give clients the most natural looking results. The Fitzpatrick scale is divided into 6 different categories, each containing 6 numbered subtypes. As the numbers increase, skin color gets darker and sun sensitivity decreases. Each category of skin is susceptible to different types of damage; for example, types I-III are very prone to melanoma (skin cancer). Types IV-VI tend to have less risk of skin cancer, but more issues with hyperpigmentation and scarring. In the field of permanent makeup, these categorizations can be invaluable… not only do they give the technician the tools to ensure perfect color-matching, but they also provide information about how different skin tones react to procedures that can cause scarring or increased UV sensitivity. Individuals of color can often have adverse reactions to permanent makeup (such as keloid formation). This is important to consider when deciding if you are a good candidate for permanent makeup. The Fitzpatrick test results are influenced by three main components: genetic disposition, reaction to sun exposure, and tanning habits. All three of these factors are important to consider before undergoing a permanent makeup procedure such as eyebrow microblading, Brazilian stretch mark camouflage, and Brazilian scar camouflage, as they can affect the healing process and longevity of a client’s cosmetic tattoos. When it comes to choosing an ink for your camouflage appointment, technicians often have to custom mix a few different inks together. The goal of permanent makeup, or Brazilian Stretch Mark Camouflage, is to create a finish so natural that it fully mimics real hair growth, while still adding definition. Clients with skin types ranking lower on the Fitzpatrick scale will generally look best with a lighter toned brown. Brow color is also chosen based on skin and hair undertones; if the client has olive skin, an ash brown might be most flattering, whereas a client with pink undertones would probably best match an auburn brown. By taking a simple self-reported survey, a client’s specific Fitzpatrick skin type can easily be evaluated, allowing the technician to customize the procedure to their specific skin type needs.  
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