The plant Houttuynia cordata, which is called "dokudami" in Japanese, is known as a potent antioxidant herb that has been traditionally consumed as a folk medicine for various ailments, such as diabetes, obesity, cough, fever and skin diseases, in Asia. However, its antioxidant mechanism remains largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of Houttuynia cordata extract (HCE) on human keratinocytes. HCE activated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and nuclear factor E2-related factor 2, with subsequent induction of the antioxidative enzyme NAD (P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 gene. HCE inhibited the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in keratinocytes stimulated with tumor necrosis factor α or benzo(α)pyrene. Moreover, HCE upregulated the gene expression of filaggrin, an essential skin barrier protein, in an AHR-dependent manner. HCE may be beneficial for treating ROS-related photoaging and barrier-disrupted skin conditions.