If you are thinking about a career in medical aesthetics, one of the first things you will learn in laser school is The Fitzpatrick Scale.
Understanding the various skin types and conditions that can affect skin color is essential for providing safe and effective laser hair removal treatments once you become a cosmetic laser technician.
What Are The Fitzpatrick Skin Types?
Developed in 1975 by T.B. Fitzpatrick of Harvard Medical School, The Fitzpatrick Scale is the current and recognized method among the health and beauty community to classify skin colors and measure the amount of melanin in the skin after exposure to the sun.
This skin typing scale is used by dermatologists, aesthetic medicine practitioners, cosmetic laser techs, physicians and other skin care specialists as they evaluate a client’s skin for light-based treatments.
This information can help predict your client’s overall risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
You will learn during cosmetic laser training that the best candidates for laser hair removal have fair skin with dark terminal hairs. Types 1 through 4 are great candidates for laser hair removal. Type 6 has a high risk of burning and hypo/hyperpigmentation issues.
Also known as the Fitzpatrick skin phototype, this classification scale is semi-subjective because it was developed by interviewing people about their past sun reactions.
It’s possible as a cosmetic laser tech that you will have a client who won’t meet all of the characteristics of any one type. It’s best to go with the one that best describes your client.
The Fitzpatrick Skin-Typing Scale
Reaction to Sun
|1||Very White, Freckled or Ivory||Always Burns and Peels/Never Tans|
|2||White, Fair Complexion||Usually Burns/Rarely Tans|
|3||White to Olive||Sometimes Burns/Always Tans|
|4||Olive or Light Brown||Rarely Burns/Always Tans|
|5||Dark Brown||Very Rarely Burns/Moderately Pigmented|
|6||Black||Highly Pigmented/Never Burns/Tans Quickly|
Cosmetic laser techs and aesthetic physicians are also using this scale to determine the effectiveness of laser treatments. Skin lasers have multiple modalities that need to be perfected to match each skin type. The settings are determined by the skin’s reaction to the laser light.
Why is The Fitzpatrick Scale Important?
The Fitzpatrick Scale is used by medical professionals to gauge certain skin’s reaction to the sun and how to identify potentially malignant sunspots more quickly.
Laser techs and aesthetic physicians are also using this scale to determine the effectiveness of cosmetic laser treatments on different skin types. Aesthetic lasers have several settings that need to be perfect in order to match the skin type. Depending on how the skin reacts to laser light will determine these settings. In some instances, targeted spots in the skin can be darkened, rather than lightened or eliminated. This is especially important in laser hair removal and photo facial treatments.
Cosmetic Laser Training at National Laser Institute
Do you have a passion for health and beauty? Do you enjoy helping people look and feel their best? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then you should consider a career in medical aesthetics!
National Laser Institute offers cosmetic laser training for total career changers and estheticians that can be completed in just 1-2 weeks!
Our Comprehensive Laser Course covers some of the most in-demand laser treatments such as laser hair removal, IPL photofacial, skin rejuvenation, skin tightening and more!
The first half of the course is spent in the classroom where you will learn about laser mechanics, tissue interaction, and pre- and post-patient care from up to 13 different industry experts with 7-20 years of experience in the field.
During the second half of the course, you will have clinical hands-on training in an educational setting. We have a dedicated team that works to schedule clients for you to work on in order to gain real-world experience. Our experienced instructors will be by your side to offer personalized instruction in an intimate setting and to answer any questions you might have about the industry.
By the end of the course, you will feel comfortable and confident in your skills as a cosmetic laser tech as you will be prepared to work in any medical setting, including medical spas, doctor’s offices and fitness centers!