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All procedures performed by
Board Certified Physician
Anthony K. Goldboss, M.D.




Skin Type Classification

Hereditary and racial factors typically determine skin color. The scientific explanation for the presence of darker tones is that melanosomes are larger and show a greater degree of melanization. There is also a greater production of melanosomes in melanocytes and a higher degree of dispersion in the keratinocytes. A slower rate of degradation also exists. The combination of these factors with heredity can be the reason we see varied skin tones among the same race. When treating dark skin tones for laser hair removal, a laser with a longer wavelength is necessary for a safe and effective treatment. Longer wavelength lasers such as the Nd:YAG penetrate skin more deeply with less scattering of laser light. These lasers are very effective in treating deep, coarse hairs but are not as effective for light, finer hair that is close to the skin surface. The hair bulb can be as low as 7mm in depth. These lasers target deeper hair very effectively, but are not as effective for the finer, closer to the surface hair. Melanin is found in the hair bulb, shaft, outer root sheath, and also the dermal-epidermal junction.

The Fitzpatrick Phototype is a method of classifying different skin types that may be associated with different racial groups. Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, and Native Americans comprise over 35% of the population, and there is even a wide variation of skin types within Caucasians; hence the need for such a system. The Fitzpatrick method not only classifies by skin tone, but also by characteristics such as sensitivity to light and tendency to sunburn or tan. There are elaborate Fitzpatrick scales that extend into hair and eye color and presence of freckles, but the following chart is a basic, effective guideline for classifying skin types.

Skin Phototype

Unexposed Skin Color

Sensitivity to Light

Sunburn & Tanning History



Very Sensitive

Always Burns, Never Tans



Very Sensitive

Always Burns, Tans Minimally & With Difficulty



Very Sensitive

Burns Minimally, Tans Gradually & Uniformly (Light Brown)


Light Brown


Burns Minimally, Always Tans Well (Moderate Brown)



Moderately Sensitive

Barely Burns, Tans Profusely (Dark Brown)


Dark Brown or Black

Insensitive or Least Reactive

Never Burns, Tans Profusely, Deeply (Black)


Most lasers user the Fitzpatrick scale to describe their variances. For example, ruby lasers are considered limited in use because they only are able to safely treat Fitzpatrick skin types I and II. Alexandrite and diode lasers are considered more useful because they can treat types I-V. Nd:YAG lasers can treat all skin types, but are not as effective with finer hairs. Consumers should not be concerned with trying to choose a laser that suits them, but instead with choosing an experienced physician who is able to type them and treat them safely and effectively.

Dr. Goldboss evaluates all patients and has individualized and performed over 10,000 laser treatments safely and effectively. 

Laser Hair Removal Chicago

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