Ultraviolet radiation produces erythema in human skin, and damages the DNA of living cells in skin. Previous work showed that broad-band UV-B (290–320 nm) radiation produced higher levels of cyclobutyl pyrimidine dimers in DNA of individuals with high UV-B sensitivity (low minimal erythema dose) than in subjects of low UV-B sensitivity [Freeman et al. (1986) J. Invest. Dermatol., 86, 34–36]. We examined the relationship between erythema induction and dimer yields in DNA of human skin irradiated in situ with narrow band radiation spanning the wavelength range 275–365 nm. We find that, in general, higher dimer yields are produced per incident photon in volunteers with higher susceptibility to erythema induced by radiation of the same wavelength.