In this study, we investigate the influence of layered tissue structures on the phase-resolved reflectance. As a particular example, we consider the affect of the skin, skull, and meninges on noninvasive blood oxygenation determination of the brain. In this case, it's important to know how accurate one can measure the absorption coefficient of the brain through the enclosing layers of different tissues. Experiments were performed on layered gelatin tissue phantoms and the results compared to diffusion theory. It is shown that when a high absorbing medium is placed on top of a low absorbing medium, the absorption coefficient of the lower layer is accessible. In the inverse case, where a low absorbing medium is placed on top of a high absorbing medium, the absorption coefficient of the underlying medium can only be determined if the differences in the absorption coefficient are small, or the top layer is very thin. Investigations on almost absorption and scattering free layers, like the cerebral fluid filled arachnoid, reveal that the determination of the absorption coefficient is barely affected by these kinds of structures.