Phototype classifications were initially developed in an attempt to predict the skin reactions of patients to phototherapy and are now widely used to advise individuals with regard to sun protection. A transversal study was conducted on the SU.VI.MAX cohort to estimate the frequency of sun-reactive skin features in a large, general adult population-based sample, and to describe the associations between these features. The data were collected 3 years after the beginning of the SU.VI.MAX nutritional intervention study on 4912 volunteers (2868 women aged 35-60 years and 2044 men aged 45-60 years). A multiple correspondence analysis was performed to study the associations between the features. The results showed that these features correspond to a one-dimensional phenomenon, which allowed us to establish a score to summarize skin sensitivity to sun exposure. Furthermore, we found a link between gender and phototype using the Césarini classification (phototype > or = IV: 37% of women, 47% of men). The analysis of the relationship with sun-reactive skin features and the score revealed the same trend. Phenotypic evaluation appears to be a good estimator of skin sensitivity to sun exposure for clinical screening or for use in research, and is easy to collect at a lower cost. Moreover, the sun sensitivity difference between gender should be considered in education about photoprotection.