Skin phototypes for laser hair removal how to determine

What are the skin phototypes?

Phototype is the genetic pigmentation of the human skin according to the strength of its resistance to the sun’s rays. The specific reaction of the skin to the sun’s radiation is related to natural factors and the length of time certain groups of people have been living in certain natural conditions. This skin peculiarity is hereditary and remains unchanged.

The most common and widely known are the Fitzpatrick skin phototypes. The American scientist Thomas Fitzpatrick, who is engaged in dermatology, developed a scale of phototypes of human skin in 1975. He identified the characteristics of the skin’s interaction with ultraviolet rays and highlighted the distinguishing characteristics of people from different continents and ethnic groups.

Originally Fitzpatrick types were distinguished by skin and eye color. Subsequently, in communicating with patients, the doctor expanded the characteristics of phototypes and added the reaction to the sun of the skin. The Fitzpatrick skin phototypes classification is widely used in practice by modern dermatologists and cosmetologists. For example, in the sphere of cosmetology phototype influences the choice of the laser energy density during the laser hair removal.

What are the skin phototypes

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For quality cosmetology procedure it is necessary to carry out preliminary research of individual features of each client. This is due to the fact that this way you can minimize the risk of injury to the client or deterioration of his health during the procedure, which, in the future, could lead to a conflict situation up to a lawsuit. Therefore, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with some of the features of physiology, or remind you of them if you were already aware of them.

To begin with, let’s consider the main types of human hair and the possibility of removing them with laser hair removal or photoepilation, since the principle of the impact of these techniques on the hair is about the same.

So, the structure of adult human hair growing on all areas of the body except the head is divided into two types:

  • The soft, downy hair that grows all over the body. Such hair has a small amount of pigment, often it can even be absent in them. Therefore such hair is the most difficult to remove by photoepilation or laser hair removal methods. However, with sufficiently intense coloring these hairs can be removed for quite a long period;
  • Bristly hair. Such hairs are divided into two subtypes: a) hairs whose growth activation is related to the process of puberty: they are hairs in the armpits, chest and face (in men), abdomen and pubes; b) hairs whose growth does not depend on the functioning of the sex glands: eyebrows, eyelashes, areas inside the nasal openings and the ear canals. This type of hair is well removable by photoepilation and laser hair removal, if it is not deprived of pigmentation.

As it was mentioned above, the quality of hair removal depends not only on the type of hair structure, but also on its degree of pigment saturation (melanin). Thus, we can consider how hair depending on the color lends itself to laser and photoepilation:

  • Gray hair: hair completely devoid of pigment. Removal of such hair with photo-epilation and laser hair removal is not possible, as their effect will not have the desired effect;
  • Blond hair: difficult to remove by laser hair removal and almost impossible to remove by photoepilation. For them, it is preferable to choose another method of removal;
  • Medium-blond and red hair: the pigment contained in its cortical layer is a modified type of melanin.feomelanin. Therefore, the effectiveness of their removal is quite controversial, and varies depending on other individual characteristics of the client’s hair;
  • Hair whose color lies in the spectrum from dark blond to black hair is most effectively removed by laser hair removal or photoepilation, because the light beam qualitatively affects the hair pigment.

Further it is necessary to consider existing skin phototypes, as the practice of hair removal with laser hair removal and photoepilation can be carried out only on some of them.

Laser hair removal and skin types: the main thing is to determine the phototype

The American scientist-dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick has determined that the skin characteristics in relation to ultraviolet radiation are mainly determined by the presence of melanin in it. The level of this pigment determines the degree to which the skin is exposed to sunburn. The Fitzpatrick scale has been used in cosmetology for many years, according to which all people can be divided into 6 phototypes.

Phototype I refers to people with pale soft skin, with hair ranging from light to red shades, with blue or light gray eyes. Melanin level in epidermis cells of this type is very low, so tanning is contraindicated for such people, but hyperpigmentation is not threatening them either. Although the skin of people of the second phototype is inclined to burn due to influence of UV-rays, but it has a little more melanin. People of the third phototype have a light creamy skin tone. this is the most common dark-skinned European phototype, such skin rarely burns in the sun. People having dark (from olive to chocolate shades) skin, dark hair and eyes belong to IV- VI phototypes. The skin of these three types never burns in the sun, it contains a lot of melanin, which penetrates it deeply enough.

The correct determination of skin type is the first necessity for laser hair removal. How safe the procedure will be depends on this indicator, because it is according to the phototype that the doctor sets the parameters of the laser apparatus.

The principle of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal removes each individual hair follicle, the hair in which is in the active growth phase and is rich in melanin.

What Laser Hair Removal Setting Is Right For Your Skin Type?

The follicle is removed by heating it with a laser beam, the energy of which is absorbed by melanin, hemoglobin, water and other substances that make up the skin and hair. The level of absorption of laser radiation by a particular substance depends on the wavelength of radiation. The substance that absorbs light is called chromophore.

There are several skin phototypes (according to Fitzpatrick), depending on intensity of hair and skin melanin coloring. Wavelength of laser used in a particular case should be chosen so that the radiation is mainly absorbed by hair follicles, and not other structures of the skin.

Celtic photo type: people with soft, snow-white skin, sometimes with freckles, red or blond hair. People of the first photo type have blue or green eyes. They cannot tan because of the minimal pigment formation in their skin.

Aryan or Nordic photo type: the main feature of these people. Pale skin, light blond or brown hair, and light eyes. These people also hardly ever tan, but exposure to the sun’s rays is still.

Dark European photo type: people with brown or gray eyes and dark blond or brown hair. They tan quickly. Their skin is slightly tan and not freckled.

Mediterranean (southern European) photo type: people with dark skin and no freckles. They have dark eyes and hair. They get great tans and hardly ever get sunburned.

Indonesian (Middle Eastern) photo type: people with dark skin, dark eyes, and hair. Their skin is easily exposed to the sun.

African Americans: dark-skinned people with black eyes and hair. It is the most difficult photo type in terms of cosmetology.

Skin phototypes and laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a great alternative to the traditional methods of removing unwanted hair. It gives the maximum long-lasting effect of hair removal, which lasts up to 3 years and more. The procedure is characterized by minimal pain and no risk of ingrown hairs. The laser beam can be used to remove hair on any part of the body.

But the effectiveness of the procedure may vary from person to person. Its effect depends on many factors, primarily on the characteristics of the skin.

Before epilation, the specialist determines the phototype of the skin. It is necessary to regulate the depth and intensity of the laser beam. Let’s see what skin phototypes are and what effect can be achieved.


For this type is characterized by pale skin, prone to freckles. These girls are usually blonde, sometimes with red hair. Skin type is very sensitive to all external stimuli, even a short exposure to the sun can cause a burn. Laser hair removal on this type of skin is rarely done, while setting the minimum power on the equipment.

Nordic or Aryan

Such people have fair skin, sometimes with freckles. Hair color may vary from blond to dark brown. The skin usually does not give in to sunburn, remaining sensitive to ultraviolet. Laser hair removal is recommended only when carefully setting the power. In this case, a positive result can be achieved without the risk of side effects.

Middle European

This phototype is characterised by brown skin, copper or brown hair, and the eyes are often of varying shades of brown. This skin phototype is found in most Western and Eastern European countries. Such people tan well, laser hair removal can be effective. But hair growth can rarely be stopped completely.


This type of skin is more common in Southern Europeans. Their skin has a characteristic olive color. Their hair and eyes are dark or black. This skin type is more complicated in terms of laser treatment, it is necessary to set the maximum power level to achieve the result.


The representatives of this type have a very dark skin and dark eyes. They tan very well without the risk of getting skin burns. However, these skin qualities have a negative impact on the hair removal effect, and it is very difficult to achieve a good result.

African American

People with this phototype have very dark skin, which does not tan and is not at risk of burns, even with prolonged exposure to the sun. This is the most unpromising skin type in terms of laser hair removal efficiency, removing hair in this case is almost impossible.

Laser hair removal is the most effective on the Nordic and Middle European skin phototype. People of African-American phototype should be advised to use other methods of hair removal.


The peculiarity of laser hair removal is that the laser affects only the hair in the active growth stage. On average, it is 25% of the total amount of hair. 2-3 weeks after the procedure the hair begins to fall out.

The “dormant” follicles become active within 3-4 weeks, and then they can be removed in subsequent sessions.The maximum effect of laser hair removal will be visible after 4-7 treatments, depending on the hair removal zone.

On average hair may not grow for 2-5 years, and the new hairs emerged will be thinner and lighter.How long will not grow hair after the course is over it is impossible to say for sure, because there are many factors that affect it. One of these factors. skin phototype. That’s what we will talk about today.

The skin type scale was developed by Dr. Fitzpatrick, originally to determine the likelihood of skin cancer. However, cosmetologists have adopted this scale for use in laser therapy.

Fitzpatrick skin type does not change throughout life. Skin type is not affected by tanning, and it is often the tan that prevents proper identification of true skin type.

Let’s look at a detailed description of each phototype. There are 6 phototypes in total.

Celtic type. Always sunburn.

Skin is soft, white, milky, light-colored hair. May have freckles and red hair. Eyes blue/green. Presence of pigment in the skin is minimal, so it is difficult to tan.

Aryan (Nordic) type. Burn quickly in the sun, hardly tan.

Light skin. Red, blond or light blond hair. Eyes blue, grey, green. Sometimes covered with freckles. Good skin/hair contrast helps waxing work most effectively.

Dark European type. Lightly tanned, sometimes burns.

Blue, brown, green eyes. Dark. blond or brown hair. Skin a little tan, no freckles. Tan well, burn slowly, don’t get sunburned, waxing has good results.

Mediterranean type. Tanned easily, burn rarely.

Dark. Brown or black hair, brown or green eyes. Skin tone dark enough and tan. Tans easily, burn seldom. No freckles. Sunscreen should be avoided, as it may cause premature aging and pigmentation.

Indonesian type. Don’t burn, may tan a lot.

Black or dark hair, dark brown or brown eyes. Never get sunburned, as a rule. High risk of sunburn, skin trauma, chemical pigmentation. Only diode or neodymium lasers have positive hair removal effects.

African-Americans. Do not burn.

Dark brown eyes, black hair. Never gets sunburned. The risk of pigmentation from sunlight is very low, but the risk of burns or skin trauma is high.

In Russia first 4 phototypes are more often encountered, exactly they require use of various means for sunburn.

How does the effect of laser hair removal depend on your skin phototype?

The laser beam directly affects the dark pigment contained in the hair. Laser hair removal will show itself well if the client has dark hair and light skin. These are phototypes II and III.

For light skin and light hair increase the laser power, and for dark skin decrease the density of laser energy

Skin phototype test

А. 1 point, B. 2 points, C. 3 points, D. 4 points.

What color does your skin react to before sunbathing?А. reddish;B. pale;C. light beige;D. brown.

Do you have freckles??А. much;B. slightly;C. singles;D. no.

How does your skin react to the sun??А. Very sensitive;B. sensitive;C. i don’t feel any change;D no change

How long can you stay in the sun without getting sunburned??А. less than 15 min;B. 15-20 min;C. 25-40 min;D. more than 40 minutes.

How does your skin react to prolonged sunbathing??А. I always burn;B. mostly sunburned;B. I get sunburned very often;D. rarely or never burn;B.

How color is your skin after tanning??А. very red, my skin often peels off;B. slightly red, often flaky;C. reddish, often flaky;D. rarely red, hardly ever flaky.

Can you see the result after the first sunbathing??А. never;B. Not in general;C. often yes;D. mostly yes.

How does your skin react when you tan again??А. I tan rarely;B. I tan in a few days;C. I tan more and more every day;D. I tan quickly, within a short time my tan turns brown.

Calculate the points and divide the sum by 10.

1,9. Your skin fits skin type 1.2,0-2,5. Your skin type is equivalent to skin type 2.2,6-3,0. your skin is more consistent with skin type 3.3,0.your skin corresponds to skin type 4

Fitzpatrick skin phototypes classification

Fitzpatrick skin type I

Never tan, always tan (usually excessively white skin, blond hair, blue/green eyes). Europeans.

II phototype

Can sometimes tan, but more often tan (light skin, blond or brown hair, green/brown eyes). Europeans.

III phototype

Tan more often, but sometimes burn (medium skin, brown hair, brown eyes). Europeans.

IV phototype

Always tan, never burn (olive skin, dark hair, dark eyes). Asians, Indians, Caucasians.

V phototype

Never get sunburned (dark brown skin, black hair, black eyes). Creole, mulatto, sambo.

Type VI phototype

Never get sunburned (dark skin, black hair, black eyes). Africans.

Laser hair removal efficiency

One of the most burning problems, concerning every woman at the present time, is the problem of body hair growth. Everyone wants to look sleek, sexy, and have the perfect clean body. Today there is a huge variety of ways to remove hair. Hair removal can be done in different ways, but the most radical of all methods is laser hair removal. Dermatologists all over the world recognize laser hair removal as an effective and safe procedure. This method of hair removal not only keeps your skin silky and smooth for a long time, but also prevents the growth of new hair over time.

When is laser hair removal used??

This method of hair removal is used in the following cases:

  • If necessary to get rid of pigmented and long hair on certain parts of the body;
  • With sensitive skin, when other methods, such as razor and epilator, cause irritation and severe pain.

Advantages of such hair removal are obvious: the laser does not cause allergic reactions, there are no scars and traces on the skin, there are no strong painful sensations.

The effectiveness of laser hair removal is very high, but still depends on certain factors:

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  • skin type (the lighter the skin, the more effective the laser hair removal procedure will be)
  • The structure and color of hair (the color of hair has the most decisive influence on the result of laser hair removal, and the thicker the hair. The better the laser to cope with its removal);
  • the number of hair (the more hair. The more such procedures will be needed to achieve the effect);
  • laser type;
  • professionalism of the specialist.

Excellent effect after such procedure is achieved on dark hair with light skin, because the laser beam is adjusted to catch the dark color, so it turns out not to affect the skin. For blond, red and gray hair such procedure is useless since such hairs do not contain melanin.

To achieve the maximum effect, it is necessary to carry out about ten such procedures, as the laser acts only on the hair that is in the active phase of growth (about 80% of all hair). The interval between treatments is approximately 2 months, allowing the remaining 20% of inactive hair to grow out by the next treatment.

Hair removal in this way has its disadvantages. It is the cost of laser hair removal, but if we take into account that the effect of laser hair removal. is a perfectly smooth skin, then this disadvantage will seem even a very big plus and justify itself more than enough.

To get rid of unwanted hair growth, it is enough just to visit one of the laser hair removal centers, where the specialists-professionals always consult each individual client about laser hair removal, answer all questions and explain how to prepare for this procedure. Also beautician in laser hair removal salon is obliged to define individual skin phototype for each client and inform about efficiency of hair removal just for this skin type. For each client, the specialist selects the required power of the device so that the depth of the laser beam is fully suited to the individual characteristics of the skin.

Today the Internet is full of a variety of salons advertising laser hair removal, through which, as cosmetologists promise, the problem of hair growth will be resolved once and for all. But to be sure, it is advisable to read laser hair removal reviews and make an important decision whether you need it or not. Reviews about laser hair removal. It is one of the best opportunities to learn about the effectiveness of this procedure by real examples. It is not necessary to be afraid of modern procedures of hair removal. Think about whether you want to look beautiful and what you are willing to do to get a beautiful and clean body without excess hair.

Laser hair removal: Be prepared with these 5 facts

From the above it can be concluded that the effectiveness of laser hair removal is undeniable. Laser hair removal. here is the solution to all your problems with hair growth in unwanted places!

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