6 Types Of Skin Complexion: Skincare Tips & Essential Products

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Human skin color is very diverse. Even in a limited geographical setting, we can find people from very light skin color to very dark one. Human skin complexion can widely be categorized into six categories, running from fair skin that always burns, dark skin that never burns, and everything in between. Understanding your proper skin complexion type can help you determine the best skincare products and routines for your skin.

Skin complexion types 

Your skin complexion is determined by ‘melanin'. Melanin is a pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair, and eyes. When skin cells are exposed to the sun, they produce melanin. The more time you spend in the sun, the more melanin you create.

There are two types of melanin- eumelanin, which gives skin a brown color (tan), and pheomelanin, which gives skin a red color (burn).

Tanning is the result of regular sun exposure. It raises the level of eumelanin in the skin, which gives it a brownish tan and protects it from the sun’s rays. Too much sun exposure raises the pheomelanin level which burns the skin, destroys the protective skin barrier, and raises the risk of cancer.

There are six skin complexion types according to the widely used Fitzpatrick system of classifying skin type used in the assessment of skin cancer risk. These six types are:

Type I- Very fair skin, always burns, never tans.

Type II- Fair skin, always burns, sometimes tans.

Type III- Medium skin, sometimes burns, always tans.

Type IV- Olive skin, burns minimally, always tans.

Type V- Brown skin, rarely burns, always tans.

Type VI- Black skin, never burns, always tans.

Apart from our skin color, our skin also has undertones. In layman’s terms, an undertone is the color from underneath the surface of your skin that affects your overall hue.

There are three undertones-

Warm: golden, peachy, or yellow undertones.

Cold: bluish, red, or pink undertones.

Neutral: a mixture of both warm and cool undertones.

Undertones are useful and important while determining the type of makeup products that you want to use to get the best finished results. In the skincare department, they are not as relevant as the basic six complexion types. 

Basic skin care tips for all skin complexion types

Before going to the specifics, some very basic skincare tips that are a must for ensuring healthy skin. These are-

  • Protect yourself from UV rays by using a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. You can also use an umbrella or wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Also, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in both macro and micronutrients.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exfoliate your skin once a week to remove dead skin cells
  • Don’t stress yourself too much.
  • Proper sleep.
  • Avoid skin bleaching.

Skincare tips for very fair skin and fair skin type 

Due to the low eumelanin and high pheomelanin levels, very fair skin and fair skin are at a very high risk of sun damage and premature skin aging as a result of UV exposure. These skin complexion types are also at a higher risk of melanoma, and other types of skin cancer. The following skincare tips can be useful for such skin complexion types-

  • Never skip sunscreen! Even in indoor settings, sunscreen is recommended and should be reapplied every 2-3 hours to ensure full protection from UV rays. Also, try to cover as much skin as possible when under direct sunlight..
  • Don’t use ingredients like turmeric as they can dye your skin.
  • Keep your skin clean and hydrated.

Skincare tips for medium skin and olive skin type 

Although medium and olive skin tones have more melanin than the fairer skin complexion types, they are still at risk of burning and skin cancers. The following tips can be useful for such skin types-

  • Wear sunscreen outdoors.
  • Keep your skin clean and moisturized.

Skincare tips for brown skin and black skin type

The dark skin complexion types have the least chance of getting sunburnt or skin cancer but still, the numbers are far from zero. The following tips can be useful-

  • Wear sunscreen outdoors.
  • Keep your skin clean and moisturized.

Essential skincare products for all skin types

Gentle Exfoliators: Accumulation of dirt, oil, and sweat can give a dull appearance to the skin and result in regular acne breakouts. Hence gentle exfoliation of the skin with Alpha Hydroxy Acids like AHA BHA exfoliating serum is advised.

Hydrating Products: Keeping your face clean and moisturized is very important. Always use mild face washes to clean your face. Use a skin hydrating face wash to cleanse the dirt off your face, leaving the skin hydrated

This can be followed by a good hydrating face serum that has a mild formula that will be well tolerated by all skin types alike and will hydrate while repairing the skin barrier.

A good oil free hydrating moisturizer should be followed next if you have an oily skin and if you have a dry skin opt for a moisturizer with numerous moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, peptides to prevent dryness. Never use skin products that leave your skin dry and flaky.

Good Quality Sunscreen: Buy sunscreen with SPF over 30 which protects from both UVA and UVB light!


Knowing your skin type is essential when it comes to choosing the best skincare products for your skin. Skincare products can make or break your skin and hence you are advised to patch test every skincare product you use to ensure there are no side effects. Protection from UV rays and keeping your skin hydrated at all times is a necessary step when it comes to overall skin health, regardless of your skin complexion. 



Because of tanning, your skin color can get darker by a few shades while removing tanning could make it appear lighter. But these alterations are mostly temporary.


Skin lightening creams and treatments can permanently and irreparably damage your skin and should be avoided. Using mild facial acids like Vitamin C serum could give a natural glow to your skin, making it appear brighter. Also, all skin colors are beautiful!