Acne Treatment Journal

Differin® Drug Information
A guide to the anti-acne drug marketed as Differin Gel or Cream with a 0.1% adapalene medication concentration.

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Differin is one of the newer topical retinoids that are derived from synthetic Vitamin A.

The active ingredient in Differin is a drug named "adapalene" which offers the same anti-acne benefits of older natural Vitamin A derived medications with less irritation.

Another benefit of Differin is it's stability when applied in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide. Older natural Vitamin A retinoids such as Retin-A and Avita break down chemically when applied at the same time as benzoyl peroxide.

Differin gel is a prescription only drug and can not be obtained over the counter. Dermatologists can prescribe Differin in a gel form for patients with oily skins or as a cream for dry skin types. Both the gel and cream varieties are oil free, alcohol free, and odorless.


I used Differin Gel for about two months at the beginning of my Accutane course. I experienced the usual side effects of stinging, burning, peeling, itching and sensitivity to the sun. Of all the side effects from Differin Gel I'd say that the peeling was the most troublesome. I had to go check my face in the bathroom frequently during the day to remove any loose skin.

The results were promising but I was already seeing dramatic effects from the Accutane so I stopped using Differin and solely relied on the isotretinoin to clear up my acne.

I think that Differin would be a great solution for people with mild to moderate acne because the side effects are tolerable when used correctly and your skin gets used to it after a few weeks. Combined with P. Acnes bacteria killing benzoyl peroxide, Differin gel is very effective at preventing comedones and inflammatory acne lesions.

My dermatologist told me to gently apply just a pea sized amount of Differin gel to my entire face every night before bed and to follow up with a benzoyl peroxide anti-acne cream. It can also be used with a topical antibiotic such as clindamycin.

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