Excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a constituent of sunlight, can induce multiple types of skin damage. We recently demonstrated that americanin B, a lignin compound, protected cells against hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced damage by exerting antioxidant effects and inhibiting apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the ability of americanin B to protect against cell injury induced by UVB (280-320nm), the most harmful UV wavelengths, in human HaCaT keratinocytes. Americanin B absorbed UVB, eliminated UVB-induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decreased the extent of UVB-induced oxidative modification of lipids, proteins, and DNA. In addition, americanin B inhibited UVB-induced apoptosis, as indicated by reductions in apoptotic body formation and DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, americanin B reversed the depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane induced by UVB exposure. These protective activities were associated with down-regulation of apoptosis-promoting proteins, Bax, caspase-9, and caspase-3 and up-regulation of an apoptosis inhibitor, Bcl-2. These results suggest that americanin B can protect human keratinocytes against UVB-induced cell damage.