We investigate the potential of near-infrared Raman microspectroscopy to differentiate between normal and malignant skin lesions. Thirty-nine skin tissue samples consisting of normal, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma from 39 patients were investigated. Raman spectra were recorded at the surface and at intervals below the surface for each sample, down to a depth of at least . Data reduction algorithms based on the nonlinear maximum representation and discrimination feature (MRDF) and discriminant algorithms using sparse multinomial logistic regression (SMLR) were developed for classification of the Raman spectra relative to histopathology. The tissue Raman spectra were classified into pathological states with a maximal overall sensitivity and specificity for disease of 100%. These results indicate the potential of using Raman microspectroscopy for skin cancer detection and provide a clear rationale for future clinical studies.