Obesity is a serious global health problem, perhaps the biggest public health issue of our times. Excess body weight may be a factor in carcinogenesis in general, as well as contributing to the pathogenesis of metabolic, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders. Obesity also has many cutaneous features, which form the basis for this review article. Many of these clinical entities are common to the majority of obese patients, e.g. striae distensae, plantar hyperkeratosis and an increased risk of skin infections. However, it may also be associated with poor wound healing, malignant melanoma and an increased risk of inflammatory dermatoses, such as psoriasis, as well as some rarer disorders. Therapeutic interventions for obesity, whether over-the-counter, prescription medicines or surgical interventions, are increasingly commonplace. All of these treatment modalities potentially have dermatological side-effects too.