Scientists in France have developed human skin which may reduce chemical testing on animals.

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal showed Sky News their new product called Episkin in an exclusive visit to their laboratory in Lyon, France. The skin is grown from cells removed from donor skin left over after cosmetic surgery.

Tests have shown it gives more accurate results than animal skin. The new skin has been cleared for use and will now be available to use in the cosmetic industry.

Dr Estelle Tinois-Tessonneaud, who led the research said: "It was very important because following regulation in 2009 the cosmetic industry will not be allowed to sell a cosmetic with raw materials that have been tested on animals so it was absolutely fundamental that we get this model."

"People are amazed at what we've been able to do. They say 'Wow, you can grow human skin in a laboratory, that's fantastic."

From next year, EU laws will ban animal testing of cosmetics across Europe.

The L'Oreal development was welcomed by animal rights campaigners.

Dr Margaret Clotworthy, science consultant at the anti-vivisection group Europeans for Medical Progress Trust, said: "Human skin models have been stringently validated, unlike the animal models they replace.

"More human-relevant models are not only good for laboratory animals, they mean safer products for humans too."