Evaluation of a Novel Skin Type Meter and the Correlation between Fitzpatrick Skin Type and Skin Colour

Caerwyn Ash PhD1, Stuart Jones2, Godfrey Town3, Marc Clement PhD1, Peter Bjerring MD PhD4, Sam Webster PhD1, Richard Hugtenburg PhD1 Mike Kiernan PhD2
1. School of Medicine, Swansea University, UK 2. CyDen Ltd, Swansea, UK 3. Independent Laser Protection Advisor, Haywards Heath, UK 4. Molholm Hospital, Vejle, Denmark

Why is Skin Tone Important to Understand

Understanding and measuring epidermal melanin concentration limits the output parameters of IPL/Lasers to prevent or severely reduce the risk of adverse reactions

Human Skin Optics

Skin Tone
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 White: Always burns, never tans – very pale White: Usually burns, tans eventually known as Celtic skin, often has freckles. White: Sometimes burns tans quite well in sunlight Moderate Brown: Hispanic/Mediterranean skin, naturally darker olive skin – tans well

Type 5
Type 6

Dark Brown: cultural background is Asian – Middle Eastern – very sensitive to sunlight
Black: Cultural background is AfroCaribbean and is very sensitive to sunlight

The Zebrafish Device

The Study Questionnaire

Swansea University Ethics Approved Study 120 Anonymised Subjects Exclusion criteria = psoriasis, dermatitis

The Study Measurement Data

Cortex RGB Measurement

Zebrafish Measurement

Photo of treatment area


The results show no/limited correlation between the questionnaire derived Fitzpatrick skin type and the self assessed skin tone.


Graph shows the correlation of the zebrafish prototype to the estimated skin type derived from the photographs of the Boots colour chart against measurement area.


Graph shows the correlation between the prototype zebrafish prototype and the RGB values of the Cortex DSM II ColorMeter.



Graph showing the variation of skin states on the Zebrafish prototype 4.5% Std Dev

Discussion • Results show that the zebrafish pigmentation index shows good correlation to a subjects skin colour. • Further, the results show that Pigmentation index is an improved method of determining IPL/laser parameters for cosmetic IPL/laser treatments as it directly relates to the subjects melanin concentration, intra-body melanin distribution.

• The Fitzpatrick skin type was incorrect of 71.4% subjects using a Boots colour chart and genetic deposition key when compared to a questionnaire derived Fitzpatrick value.
• Fitzpatrick skin typing is not a good indication of the probability of adverse reactions using IPL/laser hair removal treatments.

• Further testing is currently being undertaken

Summary 1. Fitzpatrick skin typing is not optimal as a tool to determine IPL treatment parameters.

2. Pigmentary Index is a better indication of the level of risk to adverse reactions, we propose to use this index before treatment even of different body locations 3. The Zebrafish system is proven to correlate with estimate skin tone based on 120 subjects of various ethnicity, but more work is required

Consumer Diagnostic Devices

Consumer are familiar with diagnostic equipment

Thank You

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