Oncogenesis is closely linked to abnormalities in cell differentiation. Notch signaling provides an important form of intercellular communication involved in cell fate determination, stem cell potential and differentiation. Here we review the role of this pathway in the integrated growth/differentiation control of the keratinocyte cell type, and the maintenance of normal skin homeostasis. In parallel with the pro-differentiation function of Notch1 in keratinocytes, we discuss recent evidence pointing to a tumor suppressor function of this gene in both mouse skin and human cervical carcinogenesis. The possibility that Notch signaling elicits signals with a duality of growth positive and negative function will be discussed.