Optical coherence tomography enables cross-sectional imaging of tissue structure to depths of around 1.5 mm, at high-resolution and in real time. Incorporation of polarization sensitivity (PS) provides an additional contrast mechanism which is complementary to images mapping backscattered intensity only. We present here polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of human skin in vivo, demonstrating the ability of the technique to visualize and quantify the birefringent properties of skin. Variation in normal skin birefringence according to anatomical location is demonstrated, and discussed in relation to collagen distribution at each location. From measurements on a sample of five human volunteers, mean double-pass phase retardation rates of 0.340±0.143, 0.250±0.076, and 0.592±0.142 deg/μm were obtained for the dorsal hand, temple, and lower back regions, respectively. We demonstrate how averaging the Stokes parameters of backscattered light over a range of axial and lateral dimensions results in a reduction of speckle-induced noise. Examples of PS-OCT images from skin sites following wound healing and repair are also presented and discussed. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.