We successfully acquire the in vivo Raman spectrum of melanin from human skin using a rapid near-infrared (NIR) Raman spectrometer. The Raman signals of in vivo cutaneous melanin are similar to those observed from natural and synthetic eumelanins. The melanin Raman spectrum is dominated by two intense and broad peaks at about 1580 and 1380 cm−1, which can be interpreted as originating from the in-plane stretching of the aromatic rings and the linear stretching of the C-C bonds within the rings, along with some contributions from the C-H vibrations in the methyl and methylene groups. Variations in the peak frequencies and bandwidths of these two Raman signals due to differing biological environments have been observed in melanin from different sources. The ability to acquire these unique in vivo melanin signals suggests that Raman spectroscopy may be a useful clinical method for noninvasive in situ analysis and diagnosis of the skin. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.