Dermatologists have a rating system, referred to as the Fitzpatrick Classification of Skin Types, to which skin is classified in its relationship to sensitivity to the sun.

- Type I Always burns and never tans (extremely sensitive)
- Type II Always burns but sometimes tans (very sensitive)
- Type III Sometimes tans but sometimes burns (sensitive)
- Type IV Always tans but sometimes burns (minimally sensitive)
- Type V Always tans and never burns (not sensitive)
- Type VI Darkly pigmented brown or black skin (not sensitive to sunlight)

In general, people with blond or red hair and a very pale and fair complexion, as well as blue or green eyes will fall within types I & II. Very often their ethnic ancestry can be traced back as Scottish, Irish, or Scandinavian.

People from the Mediterranean region, such as Italian, Greek and Spanish people, will normally fall within types III, IV.

Oriental Asian people can range from type III to IV. Northern region Chinese and Japanese are usually III, while Southern region Chinese, Vietnamese, Phillipinos etc are usually IV. East Asian such as the Indians, and Hispanic people would normally fall within type V. People from sub-Sahara Africa will fall under type VI.

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