Several studies have demonstrated Raman spectroscopy to be capable of tissue diagnosis with accuracy rivaling that of histopathologic analysis. This technique obtains biochemical-specific information noninvasively, and can eliminate the pain, time, and cost associated with biopsy and pathological analysis. Furthermore, when used in a confocal arrangement, Raman spectra can be obtained from localized regions of the tissue. Skin cancers are an ideal candidate for this emerging technology, due to their obvious accessibility and presentation at specific depths. However, most commercially available confocal Raman microspectrometers are large, rigid systems ill-suited for clinical application. We developed a bench-top confocal Raman microspectrometer using a portable external-cavity diode laser excitation source. This system was used to study several skin lesions in vitro. Results show the depth-resolved Raman spectra can diagnose in vitro skin lesions with 96% sensitivity, 88% specificity, and 86% pathological classification accuracy. Based on the success of this study, a portable Raman system with a handheld confocal microscope was developed for clinical application. Preliminary in vivo data show several distinct spectral differences between skin pathologies. Diagnostic algorithms are planned for this continuing study to assess the capability of Raman spectroscopy for clinical skin cancer diagnosis.