Antioxidant and antimelanogenesis activities of protocatechuic acid (1) from Origanum Vulgare (oregano) were investigated. The antioxidative capacity of 1 was confirmed from its free-radical-scavenging activities, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, and suppression of reactive oxygen species in H2O2-induced BNLCL2 cells. The inhibition by 1 of tyrosinase and DOPA oxidase activity and melanin production was possibly related to the down-regulation of melanocortin-1 receptor, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor, tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related proteins-2, and tyrosinase-related proteins-1 expression in R-melanocyte-stimulating hormone-induced B16 cells. After a gel containing 1 was applied to mice, the values of L* slightly increased, and a* and erythema-melanin levels of skin were reduced by comparing the values of untreated control groups, indicating 1 can reduce melanin production. These results suggest
that 1 may act as an effective quencher of oxidative attackers with antimelanogenesis properties.