Melanocytes characterized by the activities of tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein (TRP)-1 and TRP-2 as well as by melanosomes and dendrites are located mainly in the epidermis, dermis and hair bulb of the mammalian skin. Melanocytes differentiate from melanoblasts, undifferentiated precursors, derived from embryonic neural crest cells. Because hair bulb melanocytes are derived from epidermal melanoblasts and melanocytes, the mechanism of the regulation of the proliferation and differentiation of epidermal melanocytes should be clarified. The regulation by the tissue environment, especially by keratinocytes is indispensable in addition to the regulation by genetic factors in melanocytes. Recent advances in the techniques of tissue culture and biochemistry have enabled us to clarify factors derived from keratinocytes. Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, basic fibroblast growth factor, nerve growth factor, endothelins, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, steel factor, leukemia inhibitory factor and hepatocyte growth factor have been suggested to be the keratinocyte-derived factors and to regulate the proliferation and/or differentiation of mammalian epidermal melanocytes. Numerous factors may be produced in and released from keratinocytes and be involved in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of mammalian epidermal melanocytes through receptor-mediated signaling pathways.