Acute exposure to UV radiation (UVR) causes visible skin damage such as erythema and results in local and systemic immunosuppression while chronic exposure can result in photocarcinogenesis. These deleterious effects can be quantified by histology and by bioassays of key biological markers, including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), or tryptophan moieties. We now report our results in quantifying UV skin damage with noninvasive optical methods based on reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy and compare these noninvasive measurements to histopathology and MMP-13 expression. A solar simulator with spectral output nearly identical to that of solar radiation was developed and used in our experiments. SKH1 hairless mice were exposed to solar-simulated UVR at a total dose of 21 MED delivered over 10 weeks. Changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin were measured by diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and tryptophan changes were monitored via a fluorescence monitor. Our results show that there is an increase in erythema, skin fluorescence, sunburn cells and MMP-13 after a series of suberythemal doses of UV irradiation on a hairless mouse animal model. Increased skin fluorescence is observed with increasing UV exposure. The levels of MMP-13 increase as the cumulative UV dose increases but their increase does not correspond to noninvasively measured changes.