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The difference between skin types is the amount of melanin produced by the melanocytes. Albinos, which would be considered skin type I, do not produce any melanin and are, consequently, at great risk for burning and suffering long-term skin damage. Thus they should not be out in the sun too long without protection.
People with darker skin tone have a skin type of either V or VI. African-Americans or those of Mediterranean descent are constantly producing a certain amount of melanin and so are less prone to burning.
Anyone in between the I and VI skin types tan at different ranges. Knowing your skin type helps to determine how long you can stay in the tanning bed.