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The skin has various functions which include protection against damage by physical impact, chemical compounds, radiation or infections. Different factors, such as occupational exposure to substances, disease or application of cosmetic creams, may influence this barrier function. During the development of a cosmetic formulation/medicament or before putting a chemical to a market, it is, therefore, crucial to evaluate whether and in which amount it will impact the functionality of the skin. It is possible to make such an assessment using animals. This type of tests, however, has some drawbacks: it raises ethical questions, is time-consuming and expensive. Various alternatives were developed in order to overcome these difficulties. Some of these methods include the use of artificial skin models, which were developed and researched for many decades, or donated ex-vivo human skin. Following, you will find a collection of links which provide information on existing alternative methods, e.g. which skin models are available, what are the legal requirements. The provided selection of materials is not exhaustive and does not include peer-reviewed publications.

General Information


  • An article from 1999 which describes a first attempt of testing compound corrosiveness with artificial skin (Corrositex). Briefly describes the at-the-time number of animals required for testing compound corrosiveness


  • Skin model for corrosiveness test (Corrositex) has been approved by some USA regulatory agencies


  • L’Oréal uses skin models as an alternative to animal testing or ex-vivo human skin (part of the video in English starts at 4:20)


  • Singapore startup is developing skin models; Some cosmetic companies (non-EU) are using animal testing




  • Animal testing cannot be extrapolated on humans; Types of in-vitro tests and what animal tests they replace (including skin models)


  • US government authorities introduce a bill which would ban any distribution of cosmetic products which were developed using animal tests


  • 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU) phototoxicity test training video; advanced level


Skin Models


The companies (and the skin models that they are producing) listed here are chosen purely as examples in alphabetical order and are not intend to influence one's choice of a specific product.

T-Skin™- full thickness reconstructed skin
SkinEthic™- reconstructed human epidermis; cultured on a polycarbonate filter ~ in vivo human epidermis
EpiSkin™- reconstructed human epidermis; cultured on a collagen matrix ~ in vivo human epidermis

Episkin TV

Cells are extracted from the tissue, proliferated then preserved in liquid nitrogen, after that the cells are applied on a membrane. Aftwrwards, the cells colonise the membrane and produce a multi-layered structure. Usedfor the safety assessment of chemical compounds


NativeSkin®- human skin biopsy kept alive for max. seven days in a matrix

HypoSkin®- a model for subcutaneous injections

InflammaSkin®- skin inflammation model (resident- T- cells are injected into NativeSkin®; for testing anti-inflammatory drugs)

FrozenSkin®- frozen skin

Genoskin collects the skin tissue donated by patients and sells it to research and industry; France based company is expanding to the USA


Ex-vivo model to study wound healing




Corrositex®- corrosivity test (irreversible skin damage by chemicals)



Irritection®- dermal irritancy (alteration of proteins of the skin) of chemicals test


Many articles/tweets on related topics


Fully differentiated human skin 3D model

https://www.labskin.co.uk/skin-model/ (with YouTube videos which show handling, application and use cases of the skin model)

In-house data and cosmetic industry data is used to help the product development (“diseased skin model”)


EpiDerm™- 3D reconstructed human tissue (RHE);

EpiDermFT™- full-thickness 3D model; fibroblasts, keratinocytes

Skin irritation assessment using MatTeks's EpiDerm™




  • Animal testing in the cosmetic industry. Requirements in different countries, types of tests performed on animals





  • A series of webinars which describe on non-animal test methods which meet REACH requirements; topics include skin irritation and sensitisation; webinars also cover toxicity prediction, eye irritation

https://www.piscltd.org.uk/reaching-alternatives-animal-testing/ (look for "Skin Irritation and Corrosion" and "Skin Sensitisation") 



  • RHE model for micronucleus assay (genotoxicity test); advanced level