As our understanding of the role of UV in causing skin cancer continues to expand, researchers and clinicians must continue to remain up to date on the various means by which UV exposure can be quantified. The purpose of this article was to review the current methods used to measure lifetime exposure to UV and to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches. Thus we include here a review of research articles that deal with questionnaire reliability and physical examination. We also review more technologically advanced techniques used to measure chronic UV exposure; these include microtopography, histology, gene studies and spectroscopy. Both the utility of using a specific measurement technique and the accuracy of particular techniques are explored. Finally, we touch upon the results of articles that link UV exposure to skin cancer and what this means for the future of UV-induced skin cancer research.