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Differin Adapalene (0.1%) Gel
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Brand: Differin

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Differin Adapalene (0.1%) Gel


Active Ingredients: Adapalene (0.1%). Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer 940, edetate disodium, methylparaben, poloxamer 182, propylene glycol, purified water and sodium hydroxide.

The list of ingredients above is provided for informational purposes only. Always check the actual product label in your possession for the most accurate ingredient information due to product changes or upgrades that may not yet be reflected on our web site.

Differin Adapalene (0.1%) Gel

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Differin Adapalene (0.1%) Gel

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the worst
Reviewed on January 15, 2017

this is my fist time to ever write a review about an acne treatment , but this product ruined my life , now i can't even get out i'm so embarrassed , i had only 5 little pimples in my whole face , now they are countless small pimples in clusters , and my skin look worse than it ever have been and with time and more use it only increase the acne , i wish i never used it really .

by DesiDurham on 04/13/2017 02:44
Has your face cleared up since, and if so, how?
by matthew132313 on 05/15/2017 21:37
maybe it was an allergic reaction?
On Week 7, Acne Much worse
Reviewed on January 12, 2017

Currently on my 7th week using this, my acne is much worse than before i started, i know its expected to get worse before it gets better, but i'm loosing motivation, going to give it another few weeks before i give up on it, even got a cyst on my face which I have never gotten before, really hoping i see a change in the next couple of weeks

by Lj3509 on 06/13/2017 03:14
has it gotten any better since?
Slow but effective
Reviewed on January 4, 2017

After almost a year of this it cleared up my severe acne by 99%. The initial breakout was real bad tho, however, worth it 100x in the end. This product continued to bring out my acne from deep within my skin so it took about 2 months to actually see any results. If you're using it keep on it, your gonna have to power through it!

Reviewed on September 23, 2016

Started 13/8 and its been 8 weeksish (2 MONTHS) now. I'll write a detailed n thorough review + tips. Differin 0.1 gel is amazing!

History : normal/dry and clear healthy glowing beautiful skin until cue worst stress ever (college)+wrong products (i used two simultaneously and did not patch test ;_;) I got a clusterf**k of closed comedones (flesh coloured bumps) littered allll over my forehead. Worst sh*t ever then. I didnt even bother with ahas/bhas as they were hardly accessible+extortionate where im from.

Differin is available otc&dirt cheap here. About $12/30g tube.

Usage : i started out with applying once every 3rd day for 2 weeks (12 days), then every other day for 10 days then every day at night.

Application : I put it on after my toner+moisturizer (wait 30 mins) then differin. Its called buffering. Im nt a f**king med pro but a lot of people myself included buffer and it still works. Use after t+m for about 3 weeks and then use it after toner for another 3 weeks and see if ur bare skin cn tolerate it, if nt, dial down to applying after toner. Just give it like at least 20-30 minutes for each product to absorb. I use big globs (about 4) for my whole face but you should start out with only 1 big dollop/pea-sized for ur entire face (i built my usage up only after 1 month) just dot on ur face n smear evenly on entire skin & not just affected areas. Differin works by increasing cell turnover rate for ur acne on affected areas & as a preventative measure for the clear parts of ur skin. "As close to bare skin as possible" my f**king ass. A lot of people dont even have a basic QUALITY skincare routine on lock-down. Accounting that fact + harsh, drying cleansers and you'd be lucky if you get away with just a slight stinging sensation. (Trans:most ppl burn their faces off and experience gruesome peeling,flaking,stinging,burning and sensitivity if they apply on bare skin when just starting off.) I experienced very minimal if none irritation.

Honestly most of the douchebags that gave bad reviews just didnt stick with it long enough. Hear me out

Week 1: broke out in a few tiny red pimples, maybe 3-4 on forehead. I freaked out at first bt that just means that differin is working and its pushing all the gunk in ur pores unto the surface, thus causing pimples to rear their ugly heads. Its called purging. Ur fine. Dont freak out. Btw differin worked right off the bat for me but you should experience purge/break out/worsening of acne within the first 8 weeks. It varies frm one person to the other how long ur purge would be. Some people purge for 2-3 months. Sone experience cycles of purge.

Week 2: more tiny red pimples on forehead. 5 more.Ur still fine dont freak out. Right cheek appeared 2 tiny red pimples.

Week 3-5: got a papule, its sooo red and inflamed and it hurtss to touch it. 7 tiny red inflamed pimples, whiteheads, blackheads. Later that night 2 more papules popped up. 1 on forehead and another on on right cheek (my forehead & right cheek had ccs and were congested) thiz is where it got the absolute f**king worse. My forehead was sooooo inflamed and ANGRY and RED. It HURTS to touch my forehead and it wasnt just bumpy it HURTS coz of active acne. I remember thinking "id rather live with the fleshy bumps bcuz this is so much worse than when I started" Needless to say my self esteem took a huge toll, everyone used to comment and praise me on how beautiful my skin is on a daily basis and now I get comments + snides like "what happened?" "Your skin used to be sooo clear and pretty!" Or just the plain STAREEEEEEEE. F**k. I had school and it was EXCRUCIATING. I wanted to hide until i got my clear skin back. Im proud of myself for powering through. Because...

Week 6: (FIRST HALF) breakouts stopped. Pimples got smaller. Tiny red ones r still appearing but theyre gone real quick. A lot are disappearing. A patch on my forehead is smooth and bump-free. I had a healthy glow on. Things improved by leaps and bounds. I am so happy. I see light at the end of the tunnel. (SECOND HALF) I swear some pimples just appeared outta nowhere like within a few days....

Week 7 - Okay so I still have leftover cc's and some active tiny pimpz and they're purging (the fleshy bumps called closed comedones are turning into red pimples that have whiteheads on them!) I feel like Differin takes a lot of patience because it the mildest retinoid product (in comparison to tretinoin and tarozatene{¿} ) so it takes a lot longer to work but pose the least irritation compared to tretinoin! Its improving and the right side of my forehead is clearing up nicely. Left with lots of PIH on skin! :) tldr skin is improving bt still purging bt fear not its nt nearly as bad as the first purge this is really really mild and nothing to worry about! :)

Week 8 - My skin has A SH*TTON OF PIH (Dark marks) and active acne and still some closed comedones...I can them using 2 hands, isn't that nice? lol ahhaha...I can see that things are steadily improving...Remember it won't work overnight, be realistic about this :) I can actually go out and feel confident about it..just avoid mirrors guys..exp when ur washing ur face other than that plz avoid it , it wud just make u feel like sh*t, but remember that u r not sh*t, u r a GEM and that people are vain and they care more about themselves (we are our own worst critic, i keep saying this but its true so dont worry about it and just be patient and LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING!)

Week 9 - im purging a bit bt its nt that bad, the cc's turned into red pimples... but sokay cause Its never as worst as the initial purge!!! Also clean ur glasses (i got pimples coz of greasy glasses TT) all is well! The dark marks n red marks r fading

Week 9 (end) - huhuhuhu I felt sore bumps on my right cheek and then the next day a hugeeee cyst appeared and little pimples cropped up around the cyst....GOD its terrifying Im STILL purging and its almost 2 months 2 weeks TT ughhh POSITIVE! IT'LL ALL BE WORTH IT!!


1) give it 3 months. At least. Im 6 weeks in and i see significant improvements! Its improving slowly but surely!

2) pick up a gentle products:cerave hydrating cleanser, cerave am+pm cream with ceramides, garnier micellar water in pink r good drugstore options. Avoid alcohol in products.

3) cleanse ur face morning or night but i only splash with water during mornings coz dry skin. You can cleanse twice if you are oily-skinned. Use garnier micellar water(pink) to remove ur sunscreen or makeup at night. Pour adequate amount on cotton pad and do GENTLE, CIRCULAR MOTIONS to evenly distribute on skin. Then cleanse with cerave hydrating cleanser (do not for the love of God use cetaphil's oily cleanser. those sh*ts are very very stripping and they will f**k ur skin up)

4) for the love of God (or whatever the f**k u believe in) WEAR F**KING SUN PROTECTION. La roche posay n elta md uv clear 46 are options bcz i knw the americanas have gross goeey sunscreens (majority). Apply 1/4tsp or APPLY a lot, two layers, 15 minutes wait time in between.

5) reapply sunscreen every 40 minutes if ur sweating vigorously and avoid going out in the sun during peak hours (10-4pm)

6) wear wide brimmed hats and sunglasses.

7) differin strips the outermost layer of ur skin so plz wear sunscreen unless u want to get a sunburn and have ur dark spots/hyperpigmentation/acne scars darken and take 2 eternities to fade.

8) no waxing threading no aha no bha no harsh scrubs/exfoliation for the 1st month, slowly incorportate afterwards. Btr safe than sorry.

9) apply around eyes n below eyes but not on the browbone or eyelids or creases of ur nose unless u wanna burn ur skin off. Around the lips where pimples r are fine but not on the lips (duh) and dont get too close to it it will burn. Laugh lines are fine

10) ur skin will look bad one week and then btr/good the next this is normal & cn continue well into 3 months, if u

Violently purges and creates 'acne' in normal skin
Reviewed on October 21, 2016

I suppose if you have terrible acne, you have nothing to lose with trying this. But if you have mild acne and sensitive skin, this is absolute garbage and will likely create acne where you never had any to start.

Sadly, Differin ended up working out just as terribly as Retin A-Micro did for me. After Retin A-Micro [cream] gave me chemical burns and cysts that formed over them as a result of the trauma, my derm suggested Differin because it was "weaker" and would "gently" push closed comedones out. I thought extraction could work just as well (since I don't have many cc's) but he assured me that Differin was better. I used a very thin layer, as directed, over my problem areas every other night for a week, then every night. By the end of week 2, I had no redness and peeling...but my pores were purging VIOLENTLY, namely in the most sensitive areas of my face. Several large, painful papules appeared in place of the closed comedones around my nasal folds that were stinging and burning. The skin of my right nostril was red, itchy and inflamed. One or two cc's around my mouth became huge and problematic, while the rest remained stubbornly under the surface and were only removed with extraction.

Having painful papules anywhere is completely unlike me...Differin caused acne I never had, and I refuse to believe that these papules would have eventually come to the surface and Differin was helping because I DON'T GET PAPULES. How does this make any sense? It's an absolute joke that doctors tell you it's bringing trapped acne to the surface when there was never an acne issue to begin with! More like 'acne' appears when you're having a reaction to the chemical formula and all its lovely PARABENS [which damage the endocrine system and can cause cancer].

by somewhereovertherainbow on 10/26/2016 10:05
1. I have cc's too 2.5 months ago, It's cleared up quite a bit and theres 5-6 active pimples on my face 2. I never had acne my whole life so purging was seen as horrendous even though in retrospect it wasn't that bad and fairly normal. 3. It could be that you had an allergic reaction? Chemical burns & cysts (if you are not prone to them getting it is probably a bad sign...) or ur skin could just be dried out/dehydrated thus using retin-A/differin dries them out even more causing pimples (irritation-breakouts) Okay i lost count but yeah maybe ur just purging? I got papules too..a lot of them and tons of redness and my skin is doing well now...its still purging (purge clears purge clears purge clears) though the initial breakout/purge was THE worst and now its just 4-6 of them. Parabens dont cause cancer.....its just a myth[link removed] Usually an allergic reaction is itchy and painful and u break out HORRIBLY in cysts!
by cloudydreamer on 10/31/2016 17:00
I think I am simply unable to tolerate retinoids of any kind. I am still getting the occasional residual bump from the Differin and it feels like a wasp is stinging my face when a cc comes to a head in a huge, itchy, red lump. This isn't normal to me. It's so upsetting and painful when it happens I have to hold ice on the spot and if this had been all over my entire face I probably would have had a mental breakdown since it's hurt so badly, and itches so horribly. I highly discourage everyone I know now from trying this because even patch testing is a waste of time. I did a patch test on my neck and because my neck doesn't have cc's I didn't get the same stinging huge bumps it caused on my nasal folds. Also, parabens are quite bad for you and have been scientifically proven to cause disruptions in the body, mainly in the endocrine/reproductive systems. It builds up and causes imbalances over time.
Reviewed on October 5, 2016

Okay guys hi!! So I am writing this regarding my experience to try and help anyone suffering with acne who has been prescribed differin by a doctor or derm. So, little background, I have tried almost everything under the sun, I have closed commodones, pustules, blackheads and bumps typically under the skin. Sometimes cystic acne as well, not just your usual whitehead above the skin due to oiliness or menstrual cycle what have you. I was prescribed differin by my dermatologist along with a oral medication at the time, it seemed that differin worked for a couple days and then old issues just came back and it really didn't do anything for me whatsoever. Really bummed considering I had JUST purchased the medication ( wasn't too expensive because most insurance covers a majority of the cost) but I had a full bottle left still. So, my boyfriend struggles with acne as well, nothing serious, he just has extremely oily skin which if he would just wash and moisturize regularly ( doesn't really care to, go figure) he would probably have perfect skin. One night, seeing me do all my 30 min skin care regimen he asked me to put something on his face to make his acne go away, I figured well sh*t I still have this full bottle of prescription acne medication ( I KNOW IT WASNT PRESCRIBED TO HIM AND THIS ISNT RECOMMENDED) but I wanted to do an experiment to see if this stuff actually works on any acne at all ( remember his isn't under the skin, not cystic) Just above the skin white heads easily extracted, I used this on him every night for a few days and his skin looks AMAZING!!! It really does work but IN MY OPINION only on the above the skin pimples, not people who suffer from cystic or a lot of bumps and blackheads. I really hope this helps someone as when I was prescribed I was looking for any info on whether or not this would work for me, thank you for reading!!!

Good product
Reviewed on August 27, 2016

I've used it for about a year and a half now, my skin has never looked better. i never get any visible peeling which annoys me because I feel like I could see its effectiveness if I did peel, but my skin looks good.

Reviewed on August 4, 2016

Below is a detailed look at my journey. If you don’t feel like reading it, here are the 2 major points:

1. Adapelene worked great for me, however it took much patience; about 8 weeks to get my desired results.

2. Adapelene makes you VERY sensitive to the sun. I got second degree burns & sun poisoning on my face by going out unprotected for a few hours. Wear lots of sunscreen & avoid the sun if possible. If you do end up getting a burn, discontinue the Adapelene until the sunburn is COMPLETELY healed.

Start date: May 9, 2016

So here’s my story: I started going to the dermatologist almost a year ago. I had, what I considered to be, horrible acne. Not cystic or anything, but very bad hormonal acne along my cheeks. I believe I made it much worse by all the DIY acne treatments I used before going to the derm: Oil pulling, raw honey, every OTC facewash imaginable, steaming my face every day, any product I could find off Amazon, Proactiv, etc. I finally gave up and went to the derm. I was prescribed 200 mg of Doryx (Doxycycline) and instructed to wash my face twice a day with Cetaphil, exfoliate 3x a week with NEO cleanser (which I bought directly from my dermatologist) and put on Aczone cream twice a day. Over the course of 7 months, I gradually decreased the antibiotic until I completely stopped. Also during this period, I had 3 chemical peels done, as well as 4 sessions of micro needling (for my acne scars) The difference was amazing. I had almost no acne and finally felt confident in my skin. I had pimples every now and then, but they were few and far between. When I went back for a check-up in May, my dermatologist said that I still have a lot of clogged pores and that is where my current acne was coming from. She prescribed me 0.1% Adapelene gel and instructed me to put it on every night after I put on my Aczone. She told me to make sure to put on moisturizer afterwards as well, because this product would dry my skin. I am still on the same exact routine as when I first started, minus the Doryx. I’ve documented my journey thus far below, week by week:

Week 1: Nothing noticeable yet. Missed a few nights here and there (I had trouble remembering at first). The only thing to note is that I had a pretty big pimple on my chin, but it went away within my first 2 days of using this gel.

Week 2: Some very small bumps forming on my cheek. I actually didn’t notice until I looked at my reflection outside. It freaked me out a bit, but it’s nothing compared to the acne I used to get. Also beginning to notice itchiness and dryness, I can’t see the dryness of my face until I put on my foundation in the morning. (I found that exfoliating with NEO cleanser 3 times a week got rid of this problem) My only complaint is that I went to six flags while it was very hot outside and by face BURNED all day. I was prepared for this, since I had read reviews about sweat making your face itch and burn while on this product. I used moisturizer with sunscreen in it that day, so at least I didn’t get a sunburn, just the itchiness.

Week 3: All the small bumps on my cheek are basically gone. However, two huge whiteheads formed on my chin within 24 hours. I didn’t want to pop them, so I just put the Adapelene on as usual and hoped it’d dry them out quickly. The next day they were even worse so I couldn’t resist. I put on the gel right after I popped them and went to bed. The next morning the bumps were pretty much flat. They still had a little redness around them, but looked much better. Still having slight burning when I sweat and also starting to notice the exfoliating isn’t helping the scaly look of my skin as much as it did at first.

Week 4: Not as much burning on my face anymore, but I am getting more breakouts on my cheek and forehead. Other people are just now starting to notice that I’m getting breakouts again. Luckily, I have learned to stop giving a sh*t. Yay!

Week 5: Still more breakouts coming up, especially in places I never got acne before. It’s the worst on my chin, which I expected because I’ve always gotten bad breakouts there. But now I’m getting them on my nose, forehead, and between my eyebrows. Still experiencing some drying. I’m not sure if I accidently got some near the corners of my mouth & eyes, but those areas are drying badly. The corner of my mouth is so dry that it hurts to open my mouth just to brush my teeth. I’ve slept with makeup on once this week (a big no-no) and paid the price: A couple huge pimples on my jawline and forehead. I doubt that was Adapelene’s doing as much as it was having makeup on for so long. This is the first week I’ve considered just stopping the product, because I’m terrified of destroying the face I’ve worked hard for (or should I say, “The face I have paid a lot of money for”?) Regardless, I’m going to push through it.

Week 6: Zero pimples came up this week. All side effects (Burning, itching, redness, etc.) have completely subsided. I’m seriously amazed, it really does get worse before it gets better. It’s like my face changed overnight!

Week 7: The first half was pimple free then suddenly 4 new pimples came up. I’m not sure it’s from the Adapelene. I was on an antibiotic for an infection and those usually wreak havoc on my skin. Man are they STUBBORN though. Going to keep on pushing through.

Weeks 8-12: Not one single breakout! My skin is heavenly!

**WARNING** On week 11 I went on a trip to my lake house and was in the sun for a few hours with no sun screen on my face. HUGE mistake. My face was burnt to a crisp- literally. Eyes swollen for days, the peeling process took a week and was extremely painful. This was my own fault- I had read that Adapelene makes you sensitive to the sun but I did not heed the warnings. Consider yourself warned! If you do end up getting burned, discontinue the Adapelene until your sunburn is COMPLETELY healed.

In terms of retinoids - just ok
Reviewed on July 29, 2016

I used this on and off for years - ended up on Accutane. Used this post Accutane and relapsed 8 months after Accutane.

I have found more success with Isotrex gel. After my second course of Accutane I used that and it kept me clear for 1 year 2 months.

So far so good
Reviewed on July 24, 2016

I suffer from hormonal acne, and have for a couple years now. It's probably one of the most stressful things ever, I hate looking at myself in the mirror and I would LOVE to be able to walk out of the house with no make up on and feel completely comfortable. However, that is not the case. I went to see my dermatologist a little over a month ago and she recommended this to me. I started off using it every other day and only in my problem areas because I read that it can be extremely drying and cause breakouts in the beginning and I wanted to avoid this as much as possible. Luckily, I did not experience any drying and only had about one or two more pimples show up. Now, a month and a half later I'm pleased to say I experience far less breakouts than before, and most of them occur around my time of the month. My advice is to start slow with this, only apply in problem areas, and do not use too much! Most importantly, moisturize when using this product to help offset some of the drying that can occur. The only reason I did not give this product a full five stars is because I wish I could see more progress now, but I know that it takes around 3 months to see any real improvement. I will update again then.

Sidenote, I am also taking spironolactone once a day, and applying Aczone in the mornings after washing my face.