We investigated the effects of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) on the healing response of cutaneous wound defect in rats. Sixty male rats were randomly divided into three groups including control, vehicle and treatment (n = 20 in each group). A 2 × 2 cm2 wound defect was made on the dorsum. The control, vehicle and treatment groups were treated daily with topical application of saline, cream and cream/ASU for 10 days, respectively. The wounds were monitored daily. The animals were euthanised at 10, 20 and 30 days post injury (D). The dry matter, hydroxyproline, collagen, n-acetyl glucosamine (NAGLA) and n-acetyl galactosamine (NAGAA) contents of the skin samples were measured and the histopathological and biomechanical characteristics of the samples were investigated. Statistics of P < 0·05 was considered significant. Treatment significantly increased tissue glycosaminoglycans and collagen contents at various stages of wound healing compared to controls. Treatment modulated inflammation, improved fibroplasia and produced high amounts of scar tissue at short term. At long term, treatment reduced the scar tissue size and increased the quality and rate of wound contraction and reepithelisation compared to controls. The treated lesions were more cosmetically pleasing and had significantly higher biomechanical characteristics than controls. ASU was effective in rat wound healing.