Skin Substitutes; an Updated Review of Products from Year 1980 to 2017

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Tissue Engineering and Applied Cell Sciences, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Basic Health Sciences Institute, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran


Skin substitutes help skin repair and regeneration, and restore the efficient properties of skin in the time of acute burn injuries or other chronic skin lesions. They can act as permanent skin replacements or temporary wound covers, depending on their composition and, design.  Recent  studies  have  overcome  some  obstacles,  but  till today no ideal skin substitute has been developed. The aim of this study is to introduce  some  commercially  available  and  under  development  products  and  also  to provide  information  about  these  substitutes  and  their  limitations  in  order  to  use native-like  skin  substitute  design  and  production. Currently, the accessible skin substitutes have several limitations such as infection risk, reduced vascularization and lack of integration to host tissue. The  absence of  various  cells which  are responsible for temperature control and insulation, pigmentation, immune regulation and  nerve  supply  is  among  the  mentioned  limitations.  Further  researches  will  be required  to  resolve  different  issues  and  suggest  practical  solutions  toward  a  true skin substitute with excellent engraftment and durable viability. In addition, availability  and  awareness  of  these  skin  substitutes  in  developing  countries  is  not  adequate in spite of the number of cases requiring this kind of treatment, therefore, it is needed  to  develop  indigenous  economical  technology  to  promote  available  treatments  in  hopes  of  achieving  substitutes  with  higher  quality  and  reasonable  cost available to a greater percentage of patients.