Skintyping and Sub Typing

At megaSun we do not allow any prospective client ot use the sunbeds without a full consultation process. This includes a written questionnaire, medical history and genetic predisposition to tanning to determine and process each indivuals skin type and sub type. This in conjunction with the rest of the consultation, enables us to correctly calculate the number of minutes that a person will need to be exposed to UV light for. Whilst a persons skin type and sub type will always remain the same, not all sunbeds are equal and clients should always undergo a consultation process for every new studio they visit.

Skin Typing & Sub Typing are very importantWhat is our Skin Type and Sub Type and what benefit will it have in the sunbed studio and outdoors? How is it helpful in preventing sunburn outdoor?

We will explain very briefly why this is so important for both indoor an doutdoor exposure.

Our constitutive pigmentation is our natural skin color and it is based upon our genetic heritage. As a rule of thumb, the darker our natural skin color, the greater is our protection from overexposure to UVR and it provides our only permanent means of photoprotection.

Individuals who are Skin Type 0s (albinos) and Skin Type 1s (the most sensitive Caucasians) have the highest relative risk of sunburning.

Facultative Pigmentation

Our facultative pigmentation--better known as a "tan"--is our level of acquired or adaptive photoprotection to UVR. This means of protection from UVR is transitory since a tan can, and usually does, darken or fade over time and season of year.

Adaptive pigmentation provides the natural equivalent of SPF 3 to SPF 5 protection from the sun. Skin Type 0s have no photoprotective constitutive pigmentation, and Skin Type 1s, who have minimal levels of natural skin colour, are genetically incapable of developing adaptive pigmentation. These individuals must wage a life-long battle against the sunburning power of UVR utilizing sun avoidance, protective clothing and sunscreens.


The sometimes painful process of sunburning is the third natural way we have to protect our DNA from damage. The redness and swelling associated with a sunburn serves to protect us from further acute damage to UVR and is Mother Nature's way of letting us know that we haven't been very smart.

Before discussing how to determine your Skin Type/Sub type, it is essential to know the reasons why it makes sense to know your Skin Type and your Sub type. A Skin Sub type 2A has 21 minutes until they will accumulate 1 MED (minimal erythemal dose of ultraviolet radiation) which is the level at which they will experience a sunburn. A Skin Sub type 3A, on the other hand, can tolerate double this amount --42 minutes--before suffering a sunburn. A Skin Type 5 (brown-skinned individuals) can tolerate 72 minutes of exposure to sunlight without sunburning, while a Skin Type 6 (black-skinned individuals) can tolerate 84 minutes.

We need to know your Skin Type and your Sub type in order to accurately predict the time it will take you to sunburn. Tolerance to UVR is Skin Type/Subtype dependent--the darker your natural skin color, the greater your tolerance to UVR.

Just how easy it is to get a sunburn by not calculating the sub type correctly...

sunburn is damage!If you are familiar with Skin Typing but not Sub typing, knowing both terms is necessary in order to prevent sunburning. For instance, if you took the mid-point of the Skin Type 2 segment of the population (Skin Sub type 2Bs), it takes 28 minutes to sunburn. If you applied that tolerance level to Skin Sub type 2A individuals who have a tolerance of 21 minutes, the 2As would be exposed to seven minutes of UVR more than can be tolerated by these sun-sensitive people. This additional time is more than sufficient to cause a sunburn.

Moreover, if a Skin Sub type 2A individual would base their calculation time for sunscreen protection on the tolerance level of a Skin Sub type 2B, the seven-minute error is multiplied by the protection factor. For example, if a sunscreen with an SPF 8 is applied, a Skin Subtype 2B would have 224 minutes (8 x 28 minutes) of protection, while a Skin Subtype 2A would have only 168 minutes (8 x 21 minutes). The difference of 56 unprotected minutes is more than enough to cause a painful sunburn.

Keep in mind that you must apply the proper dose of sunscreen in order to obtain the rated protection. It takes 1.25 ounces--a full handful--of lotion for a full-body application on an adult. If you only use one half as much as you should, you will cut down the protection by 50 percent; therefore, an SPF 8 becomes an SPF 4 sunscreen. In addition, you should reapply the lotion every hour and every time you get wet in order to be fully protected.
megaSun STRONGLY recommends that you use physical sunscreen NOT chemical sunscreen to protect skin.

Information with kind permission from Patricia Reykdal and Donald L. Smith