Presently, global rates of skin cancers induced by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure are on the rise. In view of this, current knowledge gaps in the biology of photocarcinogenesis and skin cancer progression urgently need to be addressed. One factor that has limited skin cancer research has been the need for a reproducible and physiologically-relevant model able to represent the complexity of human skin. This review outlines the main currently-used in vitro models of UVR-induced skin damage. This includes the use of conventional two-dimensional cell culture techniques and the major animal models that have been employed in photobiology and photocarcinogenesis research. Additionally, the progression towards the use of cultured skin explants and tissue-engineered skin constructs, and their utility as models of native skin's responses to UVR are described. The inherent advantages and disadvantages of these in vitro systems are also discussed.