It shows a looping image of a black woman removing a dark-brown t-shirt to reveal a white woman.
The three-second GIF appeared on the company's Facebook page Friday.
Complaints about the ad, along with screenshots, quickly went viral.
The company tweeted an apology, saying it had "missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully" and quickly removed the ad.
An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.— Dove (@Dove) October 7, 2017
This isn't the first time Dove has been accused of depicting racism in its advertising.
In 2011, an ad featuring three women with different skin tones from dark to light standing in front of the words "before" and "after", which were meant to show skin dryness, was also removed due to a backlash.