Few studies have examined sun sensitivity risk factors for cutaneous melanoma specifically in populations of Spanish descent. Previous searches were conducted in PUBMED for articles on melanoma and sun exposure through 2008. Over 300 articles were reviewed and relevant data was abstracted. These abstract forms were subsequently reviewed for studies in populations of Spanish descent. PUBMED was then examined for more recent studies of melanoma in populations of Spanish descent. Eight appropriate articles were found, which comprised 7 discrete studies. We conducted a meta-analysis of these seven studies analyzing Fitzpatrick skin type, skin color and history of sunburns. The risk of melanoma was increased for fair vs. dark skin color (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 2.0-4.1) and for skin type I & II vs. II I& IV (OR = 3.5, 95% CI of 2.0-6.1). However, when skin type was examined as an ordered categorical factor in a linear dose-response analysis, a 12-fold difference was seen between skin type I and IV. Any history of sunburn in childhood and lifetime were also associated with melanoma with ORs of 5.6 and 4.0, respectively. The magnitudes of associations seen in this population were much higher than seen in previous meta-analyses of all studies of melanoma. These results provide some evidence of discrepancies of reporting skin color in heterogeneous populations including those of Spanish descent. Future studies should provide a more accurate measure of self-reported skin color in these populations.