The term "olive skin tone" refers to a darker pigment of Caucasian skin. It is also known as a warm or tan complexion. Inhabitants of numerous countries are known to have this warm skin tone, which is produced when a somewhat average amount of melanin exists within the skin. This lighter brown complexion exists between pale skin and dark skin.
Olive coloring is technically a yellow pigment. Green olives appear to be murky green in color, but they are still a shadowy shade of yellow. Additionally, many Mediterranean olives are brown and black in color. Akin to its namesake fruit, olive skin tone comes in a variety of yellow shades from light to dark.
Skin color is typically genetic. Two parents with warmer skin tones will generally have a child with a warm skin tone, as well. Such skin tones often tan easily, so the skin colors often appear even darker in the summertime than in the winter due to sun exposure.
Although there are many exceptions to the rule, people from tropical locations are often darker in skin tone. People from more moderate altitudes and colder climates typically have lighter shades of skin. This is due to the proximity of the sun, as well as how much sun exposure the people get. People with darker olive skin have more melanin, which reacts to ultraviolet (UV) light by allowing the skin to get darker. Tanning is the skin's way of fending off the harmful UV rays.
In general, populations from European or Nordic regions have light skin and burn easily. People with olive skin tone are typically from Mediterranean, Asian, or South American regions. Of course, people with warm skin tones are found all over the world, as are people with lighter or darker skin tones.
Though not scientifically accurate, the Von Luschan chromatic scale classifies people according to skin color or tone. This scale has nothing to do with race or population, but groups people according to natural skin color. From Type 1 to Type 36, pale skin is compared to dark skin. Olive skin tone is in the middle of the scale.
Although Von Luschan's scale is not used for scientific purposes, a more condensed version of it is used to determine burn factors in sun tanning. The lower on the scale, the more likely a person is to burn. Olive skin tone tans quite well without burning because it is in the middle of the scale. The higher amount of pigment in the skin means that it's also less susceptible to photoaging — damage caused by the sun.