Ageing is a complex and multifactorial process resulting in several functional and aesthetic changes to the skin. We found that α-Naphthoflavone (α-NF) concentration-dependently induced pro-collagen type I protein expression and inhibited MMP-1 protein expression, in both normal and UVB-irradiated cells. SB431542 and SIS3 - inhibitors of TGF-β and Smad3, respectively - significantly alleviate α-NF-caused response of MMP-1 and pro-collagen. LY294002 (PI3K inhibitor) can reverse α-NF-induced ERK, Akt, Smad-3 activation, pro-collagen synthesis and α-NF-suppressed AP-1 activation. PD (ERK inhibitor) was not involved in pro-collagen generation and MMP-1 inhibition. We concluded that α-NF promotes pro-collagen production and inhibits MMP-1 expression via the activation of a PI3K/Akt/Smad-3 pathway in normal and UVB-irradiated human skin fibroblasts, while TGF-β may play an important role in transducing this pathway. These results suggest that α-NF, a natural plant product, has the potential to become a novel anti-ageing skin application.