Monitoring of tissue blood volume and local oxygen saturation can inform the assessment of tissue health, healing, and dysfunction. These quantities can be estimated from the contribution of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin to the absorption spectrum of the dermis. However, estimation of blood related absorption in skin can be confounded by the strong absorption of melanin in the epidermis and epidermal thickness and pigmentation varies with anatomic location, race, gender, and degree of disease progression. Therefore, a method is desired that decouples the effect of melanin absorption in the epidermis from blood absorption in the dermis for a large range of skin types and thicknesses. A previously developed inverse method based on a neural network forward model was applied to simulated spatial frequency domain reflectance of skin for multiple wavelengths in the near infrared. It is demonstrated that the optical thickness of the epidermis and absorption and reduced scattering coefficients of the dermis can be determined independently and with minimal coupling. Then, the same inverse method was applied to reflectance measurements from a tissue simulating phantom and in vivo human skin. Oxygen saturation and total hemoglobin concentrations were estimated from the volar forearms of weakly and strongly pigmented subjects using a standard homogeneous model and the present two layer model.