The Best Skin Typing System for Skin Care Routines

Wondering the best way to find out your skin type? You need a proven skin type quiz to diagnose your skin type properly. We use the same skin type diagnostic tool that dermatologists use. I developed and validated it at the University of Miami and now it is in all the major dermatology textbooks and used by doctors. You can find the most recent version of the gold standard skin type quiz used by doctors called the Baumann Skin Type Indicator (BSTI) at the link below.

The 16 skin type system is best for designing personalized skincare routines and sopping for products

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type test is essential for determining appropriate laser and UV treatment settings.

Traditional dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin type classifications are outdated.

How Do I Find Out What Skin Type I Am?

When trying to figure out your skin type, first ask yourself why you want to know. This helps you find the best skin type quiz to diagnose your skin type according to your needs. For example, if you want to shop for skincare products using your skin type, you need to know your Baumann Skin Type. If you are looking for makeup color recommendations, you need to know your skin tone. If you want to understand your risk of sunburn or if your doctor wants to perform a laser or light treatment and needs to choose the appropriate amount of light to use, the Fitzpatrick Skin Type is best. Each skin typing system is designed for different purposes.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type test is not the best way to find out what skin type you are when you are trying to find the best skin care products for your skin type. This is because the Fitzpatrick skin type scale was developed as a way to improve psoriasis therapies. The Fitzpatrick Skin Type corresponds with the skin tanning response to UV and light exposure. It was developed by Dr. Fitzpatrick at Harvard to determine the proper dose of UV light to treat psoriasis.1

 The initial version included only lighter skin types and was later updated to include darker skin types. It is now used to choose laser settings. 

 The current skin color of the patient may not correspond to the Fitzpatrick Skin Type. For example, a Fitzpatrick III Skin Type who avoids the sun and always wears sun-protective clothing and sunscreen may appear to be a Fitzpatrick II. 

 Using the questionnaire in the Fitzpatrick Skin Typing Questionnaire about how the skin responds to sun exposure is a more effective method of choosing laser settings than looking at the skin color alone. 

 The Fitzpatrick skin typing system is often incorrectly used to prescribe skin care but it was never intended for this purpose; it only gives information about melanocyte response to light and not about the underlying barriers to skin health such as inflammation and dehydration. The higher the Fitzpatrick skin type number is, the more robust the melanin production response to light is. A higher Fitzpatrick Skin Type suggests an increased risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and a lower risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure. The Fitzpatrick skin typing questionnaire is more accurate when administered by a dermatologist as compared to self-administered.2 This skin typing system may not be accurate in Asians3 and has been found to be unreliable in Korean skin.4 The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is genetically determined and does not change with time unless the patient is exposed to photosensitizers.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test for 6 skin types

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type:

What is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test good for?

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test, developed at Harvard Medical School, offers several benefits and serves specific purposes:

  • Measures Melanin Production: It measures the skin’s ability to produce melanin pigment in response to UV exposure, which is crucial for understanding how your skin reacts to the sun.
  • Professional Assessment Required: This test must be assessed by a trained medical provider rather than self-administered to ensure accuracy.
  • Limitations for Some Ethnicities: The test may not be accurate for many Asian ethnicities, highlighting the need for professional evaluation.
  • Guides UV and Light Treatments: It helps determine the appropriate dose of UV or light to treat skin disorders effectively.
  • Laser Treatment Settings: The test is useful for selecting the correct laser setting when treating hair or pigmentation issues.
  • Predicts Pigment Alteration: It helps predict post-inflammatory pigment alteration (PIPA) after lasers, lights, and other cosmetic procedures.
  • Skin Cancer Risk Prediction: The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test may help predict your risk of skin cancer based on your skin's reaction to UV light.
  • Static Classification: Unlike other skin typing systems, the Fitzpatrick Skin Type does not change over time.
  • Body-Wide Application: This classification applies to all skin on the body, providing a comprehensive assessment of your skin’s UV response.

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test does not correspond to skincare routine or product needs but is essential for medical and cosmetic procedures involving UV and light exposure.

Find your skin type

Baumann Skin Type®

The Baumann Skin Type (BST) is used to prescribe facial skin care. The Baumann Skin Type specifies the presence or absence of 4 barriers to skin health: dehydration, inflammation, dyspigmentation, and aging lifestyle factors. These 4 parameters are combined in different combinations into 16 distinct Baumann Skin Types. 6 7

 The Baumann Skin Type is identified using a 4 letter designation, and a skin type octagon with a color and a number to help you remember which skin type you are. Your skin type applies to facial skin only.

8 skin types have sensitive skin that exhibits inflammation. These are further divided into 4 sensitive skin subtypes. Sensitive skin types can exhibit more than one sensitive skin subtype. For example, a sensitive skin type can have acne, facial redness (rosacea), and skin stinging.

The Baumann Skin Type reveals the underlying issues that need to be addressed in your skincare routine to improve skin health. By understanding your specific skin type, you can create a highly personalized and effective skincare routine tailored to your unique combination of skin barriers, sensitivities, preferences, and lifestyle habits.

Engaging with fellow skin type enthusiasts by sharing your Baumann Skin Type allows you to compare notes on skincare products, exchange advice, and gain insights from others with the same skin type. This sharing of experiences fosters a deeper understanding of how various products work for different skin types and can help you make more informed decisions about your skincare choices.

Joining a community of like-minded individuals who understand the importance of personalized skincare enhances your skincare journey. By sharing your experiences and learning from others, you can optimize your skincare routine and help others do the same. Take the Baumann Skin Type quiz today to unlock the full potential of your skincare routine and become part of a supportive community of skin type enthusiasts.

16 Skin Types

The Skin Type Solutions System

When determining your skin type, it's important to first ask yourself why you want to know. This helps you find the best skin type quiz tailored to your needs. Dermatologists use the Baumann Skin Type quiz to build effective skincare routines rather than relying on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type quiz.

The Skin Type Solutions System (STS) employs advanced software to diagnose your Baumann Skin Type and prescribe a customized skincare routine based on your specific type, preferences, budget, and lifestyle habits. This software uses a validated self-administered questionnaire that has been thoroughly tested across genders (9, 10), multiple ethnicities (11, 12), and various climates (13). Hundreds of dermatologists worldwide utilize this system to diagnose skin types (14, 15), prescribe skincare regimens (16, 17, 18), and conduct research (19, 20).

The STS software works for any brands that meet its stringent criteria. It generates a skincare regimen containing only the ingredients suitable for your skin type while avoiding those that should be excluded. The system also considers multiple factors to layer the products in the proper step-by-step order, enhancing the efficacy of the entire regimen.

Now that you understand the differences between the two most popular skin typing systems, be sure to take our quiz to find your Baumann Skin Type: the most effective and proven skin typing system for finding the right products for your skincare needs.

Your Skin Type Can Change

If you live in an area where the climate changes significantly, your skin type may change.  It will also change with:

  • puberty
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • stress
  • seasonality
  • diet 
  • habits
  • increased age

So I recommend that you retake the skin type quiz every year. 

Increase your skin care knowledge by knowing your skin type

How does the Fitzpatrick Skin Type compare to the Baumann Skin Type?

While the Fitzpatrick Skin Type focuses on your skin's response to UV exposure and sunburn risk, the Baumann Skin Type offers a more comprehensive approach to skincare. The Baumann system considers factors such as hydration, inflammation, pigmentation, and aging to create a personalized skincare routine. Dermatologists often use the Baumann Skin Type for daily skincare recommendations and the Fitzpatrick Skin Type for specific treatments involving sun exposure and light.

Why is knowing my Fitzpatrick Skin Type important?

Knowing your Fitzpatrick Skin Type is important for understanding your skin's susceptibility to sunburn and UV damage. It helps in making informed decisions about sun protection, choosing appropriate sunscreen, and planning safe laser or light-based treatments. This information is crucial for minimizing the risk of skin cancer and preventing premature aging due to sun exposure.

How is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type determined?

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is determined through a simple questionnaire that evaluates your skin's reaction to sun exposure, particularly in terms of burning and tanning. This classification helps in assessing your risk of sun damage and is useful for planning treatments involving laser or light.

What are the 6 skin types?

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification system includes six different skin types based on how your skin reacts to sun exposure:

  • Type I: Very fair skin, always burns, never tans (e.g., red or blonde hair, blue eyes).
  • Type II: Fair skin, usually burns, tans minimally (e.g., fair-haired and light-eyed individuals).
  • Type III: Medium skin, sometimes burns, gradually tans to a light brown (e.g., darker Caucasians).
  • Type IV: Olive skin, rarely burns, tans easily to a medium brown (e.g., Mediterranean, Asian, Hispanic).
  • Type V: Brown skin, very rarely burns, tans very easily (e.g., Middle Eastern, some African and Indian populations).

What are the 16 skin types?

The 16 Baumann Skin Types are a comprehensive classification system that considers four main factors: dehydration, inflammation, pigmentation, and wrinkles/aging. By combining these factors, the system identifies 16 unique skin types, each with specific skincare needs.

How do I find which skin type I am?

The 16 Baumann Skin Types are determined through a detailed questionnaire that assesses your skin's condition in four areas: dryness/oiliness, sensitivity, pigmentation, and aging. This questionnaire helps to accurately diagnose your skin type and tailor a personalized skincare routine.

Why do I need to know my skin type?

Knowing your skin type is crucial for several reasons:

  • Personalized Skincare: When you know which of the 16 Baumann Skin Types you are, you can shop for skincare products tailored specifically to your skin's unique needs. This ensures that you use products that effectively address your skin's concerns.

  • Informed Decisions: You can read skincare product reviews from others with your same skin type, making it easier to find products that will work for you. Reviews from people with the same skin type can provide valuable insights into how a product performs.

  • Community Support: Sharing your skin type with others allows you to give and receive advice based on shared experiences. This community support helps you and others with similar skin types understand and manage common skin issues more effectively.

Taking the Baumann Skin Type quiz empowers you to make better skincare choices, enhancing your skin health and beauty.

References on the Fitzparick Skin Type Test and the Baumann Skin Type Indicator:

1 Fitzpatrick, T. B. (1988). The validity and practicality of sun-reactive skin types I through VI. Archives of dermatology, 124(6), 869-871.

2 Eilers, S., Bach, D. Q., Gaber, R., Blatt, H., Guevara, Y., Nitsche, K., ... & Robinson, J. K. (2013). Accuracy of self-report in assessing Fitzpatrick skin phototypes I through VI. JAMA dermatology, 149(11), 1289-1294.

3 Stanford, D. G., Georgouras, K. E., Sullivan, E. A., & Greenoak, G. E. (1996). Skin phototyping in Asian Australians. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 37, S36-S38.

4 Park, S. B., Suh, D. H., & Youn, J. I. (1998). Reliability of self?assessment in determining skin phototype for Korean brown skin. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 14(5?6), 160-163.

5 Baumann, L. (2008). Understanding and treating various skin types: the Baumann Skin Type Indicator. Dermatologic clinics, 26(3), 359-373.

6 Baumann, Leslie S. “The Baumann Skin Typing System” in Farage MA, et al. Textbook of Aging Skin Skin. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2017): 1579-1594.

7 Baumann, L. (2008). Cosmetics and skin care in dermatology. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 1357-2363.

8 Baumann LS, Penfield RD, Clarke JL, et al. A validated questionnaire for quantifying skin oiliness. J Cosmet Dermatol Sci App. 2014;4:78-84.

9 Lee, Young Bin, Sung Ku Ahn, Gun Young Ahn, Hana Bak, Seung Phil Hong, Eun Jung Go, Chang Ook Park et al. "Baumann Skin Type in the Korean Male Population." Annals of Dermatology 31, no. 6 (2019): 621-630.

10 Ahn, S. K., Jun, M., Bak, H., Park, B. D., Hong, S. P., Lee, S. H., ... & Goo, J. W. (2017). Baumann skin type in the Korean female population. Annals of dermatology, 29(5), 586-596.

11 Choi, J. Y., Choi, Y. J., Nam, J. H., Jung, H. J., Lee, G. Y., & Kim, W. S. (2016). Identifying skin type using the Baumann skin type questionnaire in Korean women who visited a dermatologic clinic. Korean Journal of Dermatology, 54(6), 422-437.

12 Baumann, Leslie. “Cosmeceuticals in skin of color” Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 35 (2016): 233-237.

13 Baumann, Leslie. “Validation of a Questionnaire to Diagnose the Baumann Skin Type in All Ethnicities and in Various Geographic Locations” Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications 6 (2016): 34-40.

14 Lee, Y. B., Park, S. M., Bae, J. M., Yu, D. S., Kim, H. J., & Kim, J. W. (2017). Which Skin Type Is Prevalent in Korean Post-Adolescent Acne Patients?: A Pilot Study Using the Baumann Skin Type Indicator. Annals of Dermatology, 29(6), 817.

15 Baumann, L. (2009). The Baumann skin-type indicator: a novel approach to understanding skin type. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, 3rd Edition, Informa Healthcare, New York, 29-40.

16 Baumann, L. (2020). 14 A Scientific Approach to Cosmeceuticals. The Art of Aesthetic Surgery, Three Volume Set: Principles and Techniques.

17 Baumann, L. (2018). How to Use Oral and Topical Cosmeceuticals to Prevent and Treat Skin Aging. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, 26(4), 407-413.

18 Baumann, L. (2013). Nonsurgical skin care and rejuvenation. Gurtner GC, Neligan PC. Plastic Surgery (3rd ed). China: Elsevier, 25.

19 Roberts, W. E. (2009). Skin type classification systems old and new. Dermatologic clinics, 27(4), 529-533.

20 Park, J. W., Park, S. J., Park, K. Y., Ahn, G. Y., Seo, S. J., & Kim, M. N. (2019). P062: A study on the correlation of skin types with genetic factors and environmental factors in Koreans. ????? (? ???), 71(2), 354-354.

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