We performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to clinically evaluate the protective and ameliorative effects of ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on pigmentation in the skin after ultraviolet ray (UV) irradiation, using female subjects in their 20s to 40s. Thirteen healthy volunteers per group were randomly assigned to three groups; namely, high dose (200 mg/d ellagic acid), low dose (100 mg/d ellagic acid) and control (0 mg/d ellagic acid: placebo). Each group received the respective test foods for 4 wk. Each subject received a 1.5 MED (minimum erythema dose) of UV irradiation on an inside region of the right upper arm, based on the MED value measured on the previous day. Luminance (L), melanin and erythema values were measured before the start of the test food intake, and after 1, 2, 3 and 4 wk following the start of the test food intake. Further, questionnaires were conducted regarding the condition of the skin before the start of the test food intake and at the termination of the test food intake. As a result, decreasing rates of L values from the baseline in the low- and high-dose groups were inhibited by 1.35% and 1.73% respectively, as compared to the control group. Further, a stratified analysis using subjects with a slight sunburn revealed an inhibited decrease of L values compared with the control group at 1, 2 (p<0.01, respectively) and 4 wk (p<0.05) after the start of the test food intake in the low-dose group, and at 2 and 3 wk (p<0.05) in the high-dose group. Furthermore, the results of questionnaires showed ameliorating tendencies due to the test food, in some items such as "brightness of the face" and "stains and freckles." Based on the above-mentioned results, it is suggested that ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract, ingested orally, has an inhibitory effect on a slight pigmentation in the human skin caused by UV irradiation.