Melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are now the most common types of cancer in white populations. Both tumor entities show an increasing incidence rate worldwide but a stable or decreasing mortality rate. NMSC is the most common cancer in white-skinned individuals with a worldwide increasing incidence. NMSC is an increasing problem for health care services worldwide which causes significant morbidity. The rising incidence rates of NMSC are probably caused by a combination of increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) or sun light, increased outdoor activities, changes in clothing style, increased longevity, ozone depletion, genetics and in some cases, immune suppression. An intensive UV exposure in childhood and adolescence was causative for the development of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) whereas for the etiology of SCC a chronic UV exposure in the earlier decades was accused. Cutaneous melanoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in white populations, in the last 3 decades incidence rates have risen up to 5-fold. In 2008 melanoma was on place 5 in women and on place 8 in men of the most common solid tumor entities in Germany. The frequency of its occurrence is closely associated with the constitutive color of the skin, and the geographical zone. Changes in outdoor activities and exposure to sunlight during the past 50 years are an important factor for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Mortality rates of melanoma show a stabilization in the USA, Australia and also in European countries. In contrast to SCC, melanoma risk seems to be associated with an intermittent exposure to sunlight. Prevention campaigns aim on reducing incidence and achieving earlier diagnosis, which resulted in an ongoing trend toward thin melanoma since the last two decades. However, the impact of primary prevention measures on incidence rates of melanoma is unlikely to be seen in the near future, rather increasing incidence rates to 40-50/100,000 inhabitants/year should be expected in Europe in the next decades.