Ultraviolet radiation exposure is the dominant environmental determinant of all major forms of skin cancer; however, the nature of the association is incompletely understood. Existing instruments to capture sun exposure history tend to yield reproducible results, but the validity of these responses is unknown. To address this question, the authors examined the relation between responses to a standardized sun exposure instrument and histologic evidence of actinic damage in a population-based study of keratinocyte cancers from New Hampshire diagnosed from July 1, 1997, through March 31, 2000. A single study dermatopathologist histologically reviewed the adjacent skin of 925 skin cancer biopsies for the presence of solar keratoses and the extent of solar elastosis. The authors compared these measures with responses to a personal interview on history of sunburns, sunbathing, and time spent outdoors. Focusing on site-specific exposure, they found variables that estimated cumulative exposure related to histologic evidence of actinic damage. In contrast, measures of acute/intermittent exposure were generally unrelated to solar damage histologically. Findings suggest that cumulative, but not intermittent, measures of sun exposure derived from a personal interview appear to reflect a person's exposure history based on histologic evidence.