Here, we examine the currently available information which supports that the adipokine, leptin, is a major player in the biology and pathology of mammalian skin and its appendages. Specifically, the potent metabolic effects of leptin and its mimetics may be utilized to improve, preserve and restore skin regeneration and hair cycle progression, and may halt or even partially reverse some aspects of skin ageing. Since leptin can enhance mitochondrial activity and biogenesis, this may contribute to the wound healing-promoting and hair growth-modulatory effects of leptin. Leptin dependent intracellular signalling by the Janus kinase 2 dependent signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, adenosine monophosphate kinase, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma coactivator/PPAR converges to mediate mitochondrial metabolic activation and enhanced cell proliferation which may orchestrate the potent developmental, trophic and protective effects of leptin. Since leptin and leptin mimetics have already been clinically tested, investigative dermatology is well-advised to place greater emphasis on the systematic exploration of the cutaneous dimensions and dermatological potential of this pleiotropic hormone. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S.