The natural antioxidant gallic acid (GA) has demonstrated a significant inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in a series of cancer cell lines. However, there is no available information to show whether GA induces apoptosis in human skin cancer cells. In the present study, we report GA-induced apoptosis in A375.S2 human melanoma cells. GA affected morphological changes, decreased the percentage of viable cells and induced apoptosis in A375.S2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Observation of the molecular mechanism of apoptosis in A375.S2 cells showed that GA up-regulated the proapoptotic proteins such as Bax, and induced caspase cascade activity, but down-regulated antiapoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2. GA induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and intracellular Ca2+ productions and decreased the level of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) in A375.S2 cells in a time-dependent manner. GA triggered cytosolic release of apoptotic molecules, cytochrome c, promoted activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3, and ultimately apoptotic cell death. In addition, GA also promoted cytosolic release of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and endonuclease G (Endo G). Therefore, GA may also induce apoptosis through a caspase-independent pathway. Our results suggest that GA might be a potential anticancer compound; however, in depth in vivo studies are needed to elucidate the exact mechanism.