Fibroblasts and their activated phenotype, myofibroblasts, are the primary cell types involved in the contraction associated with dermal wound healing. Recent experimental evidence indicates that the transformation from fibroblasts to myofibroblasts involves two distinct processes: The cells are stimulated to change phenotype by the combined actions of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and mechanical tension. This observation indicates a need for a detailed exploration of the effect of the strong interactions between the mechanical changes and growth factors in dermal wound healing. We review the experimental findings in detail and develop a model of dermal wound healing that incorporates these phenomena. Our model includes the interactions between TGFβ and collagenase, providing a more biologically realistic form for the growth factor kinetics than those included in previous mechanochemical descriptions. A comparison is made between the model predictions and experimental data on human dermal wound healing and all the essential features are well matched. © 2012 Society for Mathematical Biology.