Introduction: Discovery of novel drugs, treatments, and testing of consumer products in the field of dermatology is a multi-billion dollar business. Due to the distressing nature of many dermatological diseases, and the enormous consumer demand for products to reverse the effects of skin photodamage, aging, and hair loss, this is a very active field.
Areas covered: In this paper, we will cover the use of animal models that have been reported to recapitulate to a greater or lesser extent the features of human dermatological disease. There has been a remarkable increase in the number and variety of transgenic mouse models in recent years, and the basic strategy for constructing them is outlined.
Expert opinion: Inflammatory and autoimmune skin diseases are all represented by a range of mouse models both transgenic and normal. Skin cancer is mainly studied in mice and fish. Wound healing is studied in a wider range of animal species, and skin infections such as acne and leprosy also have been studied in animal models. Moving to the more consumer-oriented area of dermatology, there are models for studying the harmful effect of sunlight on the skin, and testing of sunscreens, and several different animal models of hair loss or alopecia.