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Comparing two different estimates of skin types Preliminary results from two field campaigns of solar UV personal exposure

*Corresponding author
1. Department of Physics – Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy.
2. Department SAIMLAL – Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy.Piazzale Aldo Moro 2, 00185 Rome, Italy


Data collected during two field campaigns of solar UV personal exposure were analysed by i) Fitzpatrick’s classification and ii) skin type classification based on colorimetric individual typology angle. The two field campaigns were carried out at a sea-side location in central Italy and in a mountainous area of northern Italy involving two groups of volunteers (sunbathers and skiers, respectively) exposed to different UV regimes. It was found that the two kinds of skin classification are complementary and not mutually interchangeable.


Exposure to solar UV radiation is known to have a significant impact on human health. Erythema is a well- known acute deterministic effect in human skin due to excessive exposure to solar UV radiation. The Minimal Erythemal Dose (1 MED, defined as the exposure that triggers a perceptible erythema after 8-24 hours) depends specifically on phototype (1) and skin adaptation from previous exposures. Skin type and poor tanning response are also implicated in the risk of developing chronic effects on the skin, such as cutaneous malignant melanoma and non melanoma skin cancers (2, 3).
The traditional phototype classification, known as Fitzpatrick's classification, is based on the visual assessment of hair and eye colours, presence of freckles, skin pigmentation and questions about personal experience on the sunburn susceptibility and ability to tan after a first sun exposure (1, 4, 5). Skin types can range from I (white skin that always burns and never tans) to VI (naturally pigmented black skin). In the hands of skilled personnel this classification provides a subjective evaluation of the skin's sensitivity to UV exposure; however, it doe ...

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