Although skin pigmentation, which results from the production and distribution of melanin in the epidermis, is the major physiological defence against solar irradiation, hyperpigmentation is a common and distressing problem caused by various inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema, allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. We evaluated the effects of a preparation containing alpha-bisabolol on pigmented skin of a group of subjects. The effectiveness of the active compound, alpha-bisabolol, in a base-cream preparation for the treatment of pigmented skin was tested on 28 female subjects as follows: the cream was applied once a day to the back for 8 weeks. These same women also applied a vehicle control cream to the pigmented skin. The results were evaluated by clinical and biophysical test methods. After 8 weeks of treatment of the alpha-bisabolol-containing cream, there was significant lightening effect in the pigmented skin for the majority of the subjects who tested the cream.