Solar ultraviolet (UV) exposure of people and related health risk is mainly examined by estimating the received UV radiant exposure. However, for several effects such as DNA-damage, vitamin D photosynthesis or the probability of developing skin cancer, UV radiant energy is important and with that the size of exposed skin area. There is also a complex interaction between body shape and behavior like sun exposure habits, so that careful analysis is necessary when estimating health effects from UV exposure. In this paper, knowledge on body shape and methods of calculating the total body surface area (BSA) are summarized. BSA depends mainly on the height and weight of a person as well as on gender, ethnicity and body shape. BSA and body shape differ significantly between different populations and both change during life. This paper proposes formulas for BSA that consider height, weight, gender, ethnicity and body shape. As the exposed BSA depends on clothing, finally an approach is presented which aims to calculate the size of body parts released by real garments. In summary, this paper will enable future researchers to quantify the exposed BSA by best matching their study population and consequently investigate risks caused by solar UV exposure.