Our skin comes in a wide variety of colours, ranging from shades of pale white to dark brown. Although an individual’s skin colour is influenced by numerous factors, the most significant is its content of a pigment called melanin. Melanin is also the pigment responsible for determining hair and eye colour.
Levels of melanin are primarily determined by genetics; individuals born to fair skinned parents will inherit their parent’s fair skin, as individuals born to dark skinned parents will inherit dark skin.
Skin type classification is based on the skin’s reaction to exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, after a period of non-exposure (e.g. sun exposure at the beginning of summer, when the skin has not been exposed during winter). The skin’s reaction is measured in terms of burning and tanning.