Ostomy patients are dependent on the integrity of their peristomal skin to maintain a normal lifestyle. Peristomal skin problems are thought to be common and may interfere with the use of ostomy pouching systems. This is a specialist area not commonly seen by dermatologists. This article seeks to provide an overview of the topic for the general dermatologist. A systematic literature search was conducted. The articles found were reviewed and relevant articles were selected by two investigators. Loss of skin integrity may be related to chemical injury, mechanical destruction, infectious conditions, immunological reactions, disease-related conditions. Peristomal irritant dermatitis caused by skin contact with ostomy effluent is by far the most ordinary condition seen. Mechanical trauma, infection and aggravation of pre-existing skin diseases are also seen. Allergic contact dermatitis, which is often cited as the cause of peristomal skin problems, appears to be a rare condition with an estimated prevalence of only 0.6%. In spite of the importance of the integrity of peristomal skin, the topic is poorly described in the literature. The existing publications suggest that although peristomal skin disease can be diagnosed and treated, additional information on both patients and physicians is necessary to optimize patient care.