Skin Phototype 1
Skin is very fair and never tan even under prolonged sun exposure. However, it burns very easily and has very high risk of skin cancer with repeated sunburns. This is due to very weak melanin (pigment) that confers poor skin DNA protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. Individual of this skin type has red or blonde hair.
Skin Phototype 2
Skin is fair with blues eyes, blonde or light brown hair (black hair of Celtic origin). Skin is prone to burns and may tan lightly.
Skin Phototype 3
Skin has fair coffee colour with black or dark brown hair. Eyes are green or brown. Skin can last slightly longer under the sun than type 2 before burning. It is also easier to tan with a deeper brown colour.
Skin Phototype 4
Skin has light yellowish brown colour with brown or dark eyes or hair. Skin can withstand long sun exposure
Skin Phototype 5
Skin is dark brown with brown or black eyes and hair. It requires long sun exposure to burn but tan deeply in very short time.
Skin Phototype 6
Skin is black with brown eyes and black hair. Sun burn is rare and tanning is very easy. Risk of skin cancer is very low.
Note: The difference in individual skin colour is caused by the types (phaeomelanin in type I & eumelanin in type 2-6) and amount of melanin produced under the influence of various factors namely genetic and sun exposure. The amount of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) is the same across all 6 phototypes ie. African and Chinese have equal number of melanocytes. Skin colour may also be affected by illness which is beyond the scope of interest here.
In summary, individuals with darker skin type have lower risk of skin cancer and skin appears to age slower. For information on skin ageing, please refer to my article “Your Definitive Anti-Ageing Plan” in the following link http://drkent.com.my/news/2/Your-Definitive-Anti-Ageing-Plan.html