The human epidermis models EpiSkin, SkinEthic and EpiDerm: an evaluation of morphology and their suitability for testing phototoxicity, irritancy, corrosivity, and substance transport

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2005 Jul;60(2):167-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2005.03.004.


The commercially available reconstructed human epidermis models EpiSkin, SkinEthic and EpiDerm demonstrate reasonable similarities to the native human tissue in terms of morphology, lipid composition and biochemical markers. These models have been identified as useful tools for the testing of phototoxicity, corrosivity and irritancy, and test protocols have been developed for such applications. For acceptance of these tests by the authorities, prevalidation or validation studies are currently in progress. Furthermore, first results also indicate their suitability for transport experiments of drugs and other xenobiotics across skin. Still, however, the barrier function of these reconstructed human epidermis models appears to be much less developed compared to native skin. Further adaptation of the models to the human epidermis, especially concerning the barrier function, therefore remains an important challenge in this area of research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Caustics / toxicity*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Dermatitis, Phototoxic / diagnosis*
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / drug effects*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Irritants / toxicity*
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Skin Irritancy Tests / methods*
  • Skin, Artificial*
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*


  • Caustics
  • Irritants
  • Lipids
  • Keratins