The inhibitory effect of a water extract from Pemphis acidula on melanogenesis in mouse B16 melanoma cells was investigated. The results showed that the P. acidula extract (PAE) inhibited melanogenesis in 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthin (IBMX)-stimulated B16 cells in a dose-dependent manner, with an IC50 value of 33.5 μg/ml. In addition, PAE also inhibited cellular tyrosinase activity. Moreover, western blot and real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analyses respectively confirmed that PAE down-regulated levels of tyrosinase protein and its mRNA in IBMX-stimulated B16 cells. These results demonstrated that PAE inhibits melanogenesis of B16 cells by reducing tyrosinase gene expression. From the present study, PAE is proven to be a good candidate as a skin-whitening agent for treatment of skin hyperpigmentation.