Resveratrol, a phytoalexin present in grapes, has been reported to inhibit multistage mouse skin carcinogenesis. Recent studies showed that topically applied resveratrol significantly inhibited cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) induced by tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in mouse epidermis. The aim of the present study was to further explore the effect of resveratrol on TPA-induced signaling pathways in mouse epidermis and to compare with its dimethylether, pterostilbene. Resveratrol and pterostilbene significantly reduced activator protein 1 (AP-1) and NF-κB activation. In the case of AP-1, the binding of c-Jun subunit was particularly affected, while only slight effect on c-Fos binding to TPA-responsive element (AP-1 binding consensus sequence) (TRE) site was observed. Both stilbenes inhibited the activation of NF-κB by blocking the translocation of p65 to the nucleus and increasing the retention of IκBa in the cytosol. The latter might be related to decreased activity of IκB kinase and/or proteasome 20S. Reduced activation of transcription factors decreased the expression and activity of COX-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In most assays, pterostilbene was either equally or significantly more potent than resveratrol. Pterostilbene might show higher biological activity due to its possible better bioavailability, since substitution of hydroxy with methoxy group increases lipophilicity.