Trends in age-standardised death-certification rates for skin cancer [mainly cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM)] over the period 1955–1995 were considered for 22 developed countries (18 from Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand) on the basis of the World Health Organization database. Between 1955 and 1984, mortality from CMM has been rising in both young adults (20 to 44 years) and middle aged population (45 to 64 years) in most European countries, North America and Australia. Between 1985 and 1995, CMM mortality rates were still rising in several countries for middle-aged males, though, to a lesser extent, they were more favourable in middle-aged women and declined in young adults in most countries, particularly in northern Europe. Int. J. Cancer 81:62–66, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.