Epidemiologic research has shown that cutaneous markers of photo-damage are associated with risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC). However, there has been no previous attempt to calculate pooled risk estimates. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis after extracting relevant studies published up to January 2013 from five electronic databases. Eligible studies were those that permitted quantitative assessment of the association between histologically confirmed BCC and actinic keratoses, solar elastosis, solar lentigines, or telangiectasia. Seven eligible studies were identified and summary odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using both random and quality effects models. Having more than ten actinic keratoses was most strongly associated with BCC, conferring up to a fivefold increase in risk (OR: 4.97; 95% CI: 3.26-7.58). Other factors, including solar elastosis, solar lentigines, and telangiectasia had weaker but positive associations with BCC with ORs around 1.5. Markers of chronic photo-damage are positively associated with BCC. The presence of actinic keratoses was the most strongly associated with BCC of the markers examined. This work highlights the relatively modest association between markers of chronic ultraviolet exposure and BCC.