What Is It?
Adapalene is a vitamin A derivative called a topical retinoid. It helps clear acne by promoting skin cell turnover and reducing inflammation in the skin.
Strength of Evidence
Average 54% reduction in acne after 8 weeks
- Diba, S. Efficacy of adapalene 0.1% versus tretinoin 0.025% cream as treatment of mild acne vulgaris. Bioscientia Medicina : Journal of Biomedicine and Translational Research 4, 18–25 (2020).
- Karan, S., Jadhav, V. & Anil, G. A comparative study between topical adapalene (0.1%) versus a combination of topical adapalene (0.1%) and intense pulsed light therapy in the treatment of inflammatory and noninflammatory facial acne vulgaris: A split-face randomized controlled trial. Indian J Drugs Dermatol 5, 19–25 (2019).
- Kantikosum, K., Chongpison, Y., Chottawornsak, N. & Asawanonda, P. The efficacy of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, gluconolactone, and licochalcone A combined with 0.1% adapalene vs adapalene monotherapy in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: a double-blinded within-person comparative study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 12, 151–161 (2019).
- Dubey, A. & Amane, H. Comparative clinical study of efficacy and safety of adapalene 0.1% gel versus benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 8, 2317–2321 (2019).
- Del Rosso, J. Study results of benzoyl peroxide 5%/clindamycin 1% topical gel, adapalene 0.1% gel and use in combination for acne vulgaris. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 6, 616 (2017).
- Bani, A., Hoxha, M. & Kondakciu, A. Phototherapy versus adapalene 0.1% gel in treatment of acne vulgaris. Journal of Pigmentary Disorders 04, (2017).
- Khemani, U. N., Khopkar, U. S. & Nayak, C. S. A comparison study of the clinical efficacy and safety of topical adapalene gel (0.1%) and tretinoin cream (0.025%) in the treatment of acne vulgaris. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 5, 628–634 (2016).
- Jawade, S. A., Saigaonkar, V. A. & Kondalkar, A. R. Efficacy and tolerability of adapalene 0.1%-benzoyl peroxide 2.5% combination gel in treatment of acne vulgaris in indian patients: a randomized investigator-blind controlled trial. Iranian Journal of Dermatology 19, 105–112 (2016).
- Dubey, A. & Amane, H. Comparison of efficacy and safety of adapalene and benzoyl peroxideclindamycin combination in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 5, 1727–1732 (2016).
- Chularojanamontri, L., Tuchinda, P., Kulthanan, K., Varothai, S. & Winayanuwattikun, W. A double-blinded, randomized, vehicle-controlled study to access skin tolerability and efficacy of an anti-inflammatory moisturizer in treatment of acne with 0.1% adapalene gel. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 27, 140–145 (2016).
- Thielitz, A. et al. A randomized investigator-blind parallel-group study to assess efficacy and safety of azelaic acid 15% gel vs. adapalene 0.1% gel in the treatment and maintenance treatment of female adult acne. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 29, 789–796 (2015).
- Shaheen, B. & Gonzalez, M. Randomized, controlled, double-blind, clinical trial evaluating the mechanism of action, efficacies and safety of methylaminolaevulinate photodynamic therapy (PDT) and intense pulsed light, administered as placebo–PDT, compared with adapalene 0Æ1% gel in the treatment of adults with mild to moderate acne vulgaris. in British Society for Dermatological Surgery: Summaries of Papers (2014).
- Takigawa, M. et al. Clinical and bacteriological evaluation of adapalene 0.1% gel plus nadifloxacin 1% cream versus adapalene 0.1% gel in patients with acne vulgaris. The Journal of Dermatology 40, 620–625 (2013).
- Babaeinejad, S. H. & Fouladi, R. F. The efficacy, safety, and tolerability of adapalene versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of mild acne vulgaris: a randomized trial. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 12, 790 (2013).
- Guerra-Tapia, A. Effects of benzoyl peroxide 5% clindamycin combination gel versus adapalene 0.1% on quality of life in patients with mild to moderate acne vulgaris: A randomized single-blind study. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 11, 714–722 (2012).
- Tan, J., Gollnick, H. P. M., Loesche, C., Ma, Y. M. & Gold, L. S. Synergistic efficacy of adapalene 0.1%-benzoyl peroxide 2.5% in the treatment of 3855 acne vulgaris patients. J Dermatolog Treat 22, 197–205 (2011).
- Lee, H. E. et al. A double-blind randomized controlled comparison of APDDR-0901, a novel cosmeceutical formulation, and 0.1% adapalene gel in the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. Eur J Dermatol 21, 959–965 (2011).
- Kobayashi, M., Nakagawa, T., Fukamachi, K., Nakamura, M. & Tokura, Y. Efficacy of combined topical treatment of acne vulgaris with adapalene and nadifloxacin: A randomized study. The Journal of Dermatology 38, 1163–1166 (2011).
- Tanghetti, E. et al. Randomized comparison of the safety and efficacy of tazarotene 0.1% cream and adapalene 0.3% gel in the treatment of patients with at least moderate facial acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol 9, 549–558 (2010).
- Eichenfield, L. F. et al. Adapalene 0.1% lotion in the treatment of acne vulgaris: results from two placebo-controlled, multicenter, randomized double-blind, clinical studies. J Drugs Dermatol 9, 639–646 (2010).
- Rao, G. R. R. et al. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of microsphere adapalene vs. conventional adapalene for acne vulgaris. International Journal of Dermatology 48, 1360–1365 (2009).
- Ko, H.-C. et al. Prospective, open-label, comparative study of clindamycin 1%/benzoyl peroxide 5% gel with adapalene 0.1% gel in Asian acne patients: efficacy and tolerability. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 23, 245–250 (2009).
- Thiboutot, D., Arsonnaud, S. & Soto, P. Efficacy and tolerability of adapalene 0.3% gel compared to tazarotene 0.1% gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol 7, s3-10 (2008).
- Langner, A., Chu, A., Goulden, V. & Ambroziak, M. A randomized, single-blind comparison of topical clindamycin + benzoyl peroxide and adapalene in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris. British Journal of Dermatology 158, 122–129 (2008).
- Kawashima, M., Harada, S., Loesche, C. & Miyachi, Y. Adapalene gel 0.1% is effective and safe for Japanese patients with acne vulgaris: a randomized, multicenter, investigator-blinded, controlled study. J Dermatol Sci 49, 241–248 (2008).
- Yeung, C. K. et al. A comparative study of intense pulsed light alone and its combination with photodynamic therapy for the treatment of facial acne in Asian skin. Lasers Surg Med 39, 1–6 (2007).
- Ghoshal, L., Banerjee, S., Ghosh, S. K., Gangopadhyay, D. N. & Jana, S. Comparative evaluation of effectiveness of adapalene and azithromycin, alone or in combination, in acne vulgaris. Indian Journal of Dermatology 52, 179 (2007).
- Thiboutot, D. et al. Adapalene gel 0.3% for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled, phase III trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 54, 242–250 (2006).
- Korkut, C. & Piskin, S. Benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, and their combination in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Dermatol 32, 169–173 (2005).
- Do Nascimento, L. V. et al. Single-blind and comparative clinical study of the efficacy and safety of benzoyl peroxide 4% gel (BID) and adapalene 0.1% Gel (QD) in the treatment of acne vulgaris for 11 weeks. J Dermatolog Treat 14, 166–171 (2003).
- Ioannides, D., Rigopoulos, D. & Katsambas, A. Topical adapalene gel 0.1% vs. isotretinoin gel 0.05% in the treatment of acne vulgaris: a randomized open-label clinical trial. Br J Dermatol 147, 523–527 (2002).
- Cunliffe, W. J. et al. Randomised, controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of adapalene gel 0.1% and tretinoin cream 0.05% in patients with acne vulgaris. Eur J Dermatol 12, 350–354 (2002).
- Tu, P., Li, G. Q., Zhu, X. J., Zheng, J. & Wong, W. Z. A comparison of adapalene gel 0.1% vs. tretinoin gel 0.025% in the treatment of acne vulgaris in China. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 15 Suppl 3, 31–36 (2001).
- Nyirady, J. et al. A comparative trial of two retinoids commonly used in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Dermatolog Treat 12, 149–157 (2001).
- Piérard-Franchimont, C., Henry, F., Fraiture, A. L., Fumal, I. & Piérard, G. E. Split-face clinical and bio-instrumental comparison of 0.1% adapalene and 0.05% tretinoin in facial acne. Dermatology 198, 218–222 (1999).
- Ellis, C. N. et al. Comparison of adapalene 0.1% solution and tretinoin 0.025% gel in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Br J Dermatol 139 Suppl 52, 41–47 (1998).
- Cunliffe, W. J., Poncet, M., Loesche, C. & Verschoore, M. A comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of adapalene 0.1% gel versus tretinoin 0.025% gel in patients with acne vulgaris: a meta-analysis of five randomized trials. Br J Dermatol 139 Suppl 52, 48–56 (1998).
- Differin - Product monograph. (1995).
Low side effects and adverse reactions
Acne.org's Real World Take
May provide partial relief at higher prescription dosages. Comes with less side effects than the other two topical retinoids, tretinoin and tazarotene, but may also work ever-so-slightly less well. No retinoid is likely to be a game changer, but studies do show a partial reduction in acne.