Gender is identified as a significant source of variation in optical reflectance measurements on mouse skin, with variation in the thickness of the dermal layer being the key explanatory variable. For three different mouse strains, the thickness values of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis layers, as measured by histology, are correlated to optical reflectance measurements collected with elastic scattering spectroscopy (ESS). In all three strains, males are found to have up to a 50% increase in dermal thickness, resulting in increases of up to 80% in reflectance values and higher observed scattering coefficients, as compared to females. Collagen in the dermis is identified as the primary source of these differences due to its strong scattering nature; increased dermal thickness leads to a greater photon path length through the collagen, as compared to other layers, resulting in a larger scattering signal. A related increase in the observed absorption coefficient in females is also observed. These results emphasize the importance of considering gender during experimental design in studies that involve photon interaction with mouse skin. The results also elucidate the significant impact that relatively small thickness changes can have on observed optical measurements in layered tissue.