Erythema is widely considered an indicator of skin cancer susceptibility, but assessments are challenging in black skin because melanin can mask erythema under traditional visual and advanced objective Commission Internationale de l"Eclairage (CIE) L*a*b* assessments. Using spectral measurements (400-700 nm) from a spectrophotometer, an algorithm was developed to measure erythema in white Caucasians (n = 9) and black West Africans (n = 11) 19-24 h postsolar simulated radiation (SSR) exposures to the volar forearm. The derived spectrum achieved showed a strong maximum peak for hemoglobin at 580 nm and a linear slope between 650 and 700 nm for melanin absorption, as reported by other authors. Absorption by hemoglobin at 580 nm was used as a proxy for erythema, and melanin was quantified between 650 and 700 nm. Our algorithm corrected the erythema measurements for stray specular (mirror-like) reflection and the melanin-masking effect. A linear relationship between SSR exposure and erythema was evident (p < 0.0001 for white and black skin), and white skin is 8.4 times more responsive to SSR compared to black skin. The prediction of ultraviolet radiation sensitivity is vital in both clinical and investigative dermatology especially in the determination of starting phototherapy doses. Our methodology allows for the accurate assessment of erythema independent of constitutive pigmentation.