Business & Economy

Here's where emoji skin-tone colors come from

Here are the latest set of emoji.
Here are the latest set of emoji.
/AP

In emoji news (one of my favorite types of weird news, ever): this week, Apple released a beta operating system to its testers that finally includes noticeably browner — and, um, yellower — choices.

So how did Unicode, the consortium that sets the standard for emojis, settle on particular colors for their icons? Vocativ's Sarah Kaufman explains that the tones are based on a scale created in 1975 by Harvard dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick, "the father of academic dermatology," to assess how different peoples' skins reacted to varying degrees of UV rays.

Kaufman helps break down the skin categories:

Vocativ has more on how Fitzpatrick came up with the scale, as well as a skin-type quiz you can take.

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