The skin is a complex stratified organ which acts not only as a permeability barrier and defense against external agents, but also has essential thermoregulatory, sensory and metabolic functions. Due to its high versatility and activity, the skin undergoes continuous self-renewal to repair damaged tissue and replace old cells. Consequently, the skin is a reservoir for adult stem cells of different embryonic origins. Skin stem cell populations reside in the adult hair follicle, sebaceous gland, dermis and epidermis. However, the origin of most of the stem cell populations found in the adult epidermis is still unknown. Far more unknown is the embryonic origin of other stem cells that populate the other layers of this tissue. In this review we attempt to clarify the emergence, structure, markers and embryonic development of diverse populations of stem cells from the epidermis, dermis and related appendages such as the sebaceous gland and hair follicle.