Acne Treatment Journal

Adapalene Topical Anti-Acne Drug Information
A guide to the anti-acne drug known as "adapalene" which is a retinoid derived from synthetic vitamin A.

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Adapalene is one of the newer anti-acne drugs in the "retinoid" family which are composed of natural or synthetic Vitamin A.

Before synthetic Vitamin A retinoids such as Adapalene were created, acne sufferers had to use "Tretinoin", a retinoid derived from natural Vitamin A that was more irritating to the skin.

Adapalene is currently only manufactured by Galderma Laboratories and marketed under the brand name "Differin".

Differin is available in a cream for dry skin types and also a gel for oily skin types while both medications have a 0.1% concentration of adapalene.

In the future, once the exclusive patent held by Galderma Laboratories expires, we can expect to see less costly generic adapalene medications appear on the market.


Adapalene has two major benefits over using the older Tretinoin medications such as Retin-A, Avita,  and Renova. First, this newer synthetic Vitamin A retinoid is much less irritating to an acne sufferer's already sensitive skin.

Secondly, adapalene can be used at the same time as benzoyl peroxide, unlike Tretinoin which breaks down when combined with benzoyl peroxide. This means that adapalene can open up the pores, and allow the subsequently applied BP to penetrate down to kill the P. Acnes bacteria in the hair follicle.

To use adapalene gel or cream, you should gently spread a pea sized amount over your entire face and then depending on your dermatologist's instructions you might follow with a topical antibiotic or benzoyl peroxide medication. Some of the side effects you might notice include mild burning, peeling, stinging, redness, itching, or sensitivity to the sun. If any of these conditions become severe, you should discontinue use of the medication and talk to your dermatologist.

Just remember that your acne may get worse before it improves. This is true of just about any acne medication, so be patient and give it at least a few weeks to see an improvement before you seek other alternatives.

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