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The colour of the human skin: fruitful science, unsuitable wordings

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A review of the various facets of the colour of human skin is proposed. It aims first at illustrating the paradoxical association of the remarkable recent scientific advances that characterize changes in the skin colour, with some totally inappropriate or outdated phrasings used in its communication. As a second objective, it aims at proposing an alternative to these wordings. The latter would combine six shade types, defined by Individual Type Angle (ITA) values, a coloured reference chart and associated colour adjectives, highly corresponding to the six Phototypes previously defined by Fitzpatrick. Such alternative would overcome most references to both ethnic‐ and ethical‐related issues.
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Keywords: UV protection; melanogenesis; skin physiology

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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