In this study, the inhibitory effects of volatile oil from ginger on melanogenesis and its antioxidant characteristics were investigated. The effects of volatile oil from ginger on cell proliferation, melanin content and tyrosinase activity were determined using a microplate reader. In addition, the expression of melanogenesis-related protein was determined by western blotting. The results indicate that the tested concentrates of volatile oil from ginger showed inhibitory effects on cell proliferation and melanogenesis. This revealed that volatile oil from ginger exhibited apparent capacities for scavenging ROS and lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, volatile oil from ginger improved the activities of GSH, SOD and CAT in B16 melanoma cells. These results demonstrated that volatile oil from ginger suppressed melanin synthesis through its antioxidant properties and the inhibitory effects on tyrosinase activity and melanogensis-related proteins. Hence, volatile oil from ginger could be used as an effective skin-whitening agent applied in food industry.