Since the 1980s, dermatologists and plastic surgeons have been using the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale to assess patients’ skin types and determine the safest and most effective treatment based on the likelihood that skin will burn in the sun. However, the different ways many of today’s cosmetic treatments affect the skin have nothing to do with the skin’s response to UV light.
According to California dermatologist Wendy Roberts, MD, white skin doesn’t always act white, and brown skin doesn’t always act brown. Accordingly, she has developed the Roberts Skin Type Classification System, which looks at features that further define a skin type beyond its ability to burn.
“Although a tendency towards hyperpigmentation is the single biggest issue we want to know about when treating skin of color, scarring and photoaging are also important when tailoring treatment,” Dr. Roberts explains.
Dr. Roberts says this system takes these traits into account and puts them on a scale that can determine whether a treatment will be safe and effective.