Water-soluble carbon nanotubes have been found to be one of the most promising nanomaterials in biological- and biomedical-based applications. However, there have been major concerns on their ability to cause cellular and DNA damages upon exposure. In this work, we explore the toxic effects of three multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs: nonpurified, purified and carboxylate-functionalized) on human skin keratinocytes (HaCaT). Cytotoxicity tests using the conventional thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and the water-soluble tetrazolium (WST-1) assays for 0.5 or 24 h exposure to 20 μg/mL of MWCNTs show that all three caused minimum cytotoxicity that is generally not statistically significant. Assessment of direct and oxidative DNA damages using both alkaline Comet assay and formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase-modified Comet assay reveals that the treatment with 20 μg/mL of MWCNTs does not cause significant direct DNA damages, but causes great amount of oxidative DNA damages in HaCaT cells. The oxidative DNA damage reaches the maximum amount at 4 h of incubation in Dulbecco's minimum essential medium, but decreases to the minimum at 8 and 24 h of incubation, indicating repair of the oxidative damages by the intrinsic DNA repair mechanism of the cells.