Diabetes mellitus is frequently accompanied by chronic complications like delayed wound healing, which is consider to be attributed to the accumulation of advanced glycosylation end product (AGE). However, the impacts of AGE on epidermal stem cells (ESCs) are largely unknown. This study aims to address the influence and mechanism of AGE on ESCs. ESCs isolated from rats were cultured in AGE-modified bovine serum albumin and transfected with small interfering RNA to knock down AGE-specific receptor (AGER). Expression of stem cell markers integrin β1 (ITGB1) and keratin 19 (KRT19), cell viability, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were examined. Wnt pathway-related factors Wnt family member 1 (WNT1), WNT3A, β-catenin, v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC), cyclin D1 (CCND1) and matrix metallopeptidase 7 (MMP7) were quantified. The interaction between forkhead box O1 (FOXO1) and β-catenin was assessed by co-immunoprecipitation. Results indicated that AGE down-regulated ITGB1 and KRT19 expression, suppressed ESC viability and promoted apoptosis, and ROS level (P < 0.01), implying decreased capacities of ESCs. AGE also promoted AGER and FOXO1, while AGER knockdown had the opposite effects. Moreover, AGER knockdown elevated the level of WNT1, WNT3A, MYC, CCND1 and MMP7 that were suppressed by AGE (P < 0.01). Immunoprecipitation analysis showed that FOXO1 could compete with lymphoid enhancer binding factor 1 to interact with β-catenin, which might help to elucidate the mechanism of AGE repressing ESCs. This study helps to understand the mechanism of accumulated AGE in affecting ESC capacities, and provides potential therapeutic targets to meliorate diabetic wound healing.