As mentioned earlier, fair skin, having less pigment means that your skin is more susceptible to ultraviolet injury. A history of sunburn increases the risk of melanoma. Excessive ultraviolet exposure. Please note that tanning beds increase the risk dramatically. Living at higher elevation on the equator or where there is a hole in the ozone like Australia or Southern South America increases risk because of more exposure to ultraviolet light. Family history. Genetics has been implicated in addition. Having many moles or unusual atypical moles frequently runs in families. These atypical moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, increase the risk. The dysplastic nevus syndrome will be another Doctorpedia dissertation.