Adapalene / Benzoyl Peroxide (Epiduo)

Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial

What Is It?

Usually known by its brand name Epiduo, this topical treatment is a combination of adapalene, which is a type of medication called a retinoid that reduces inflammation in the skin and helps promote skin cell turnover, along with benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne bacteria and dries/peels the skin. 


Strength of Evidence
Average 67% reduction in acne after 12 weeks
  1. Patel, R. R. & Karelia, B. N. A study of effectiveness and safety of topical combination therapy for acne vulgaris patients in dermatology department of a tertiary care teaching hospital. (2020).
  2. Zheng, Y. et al. Efficacy and safety of 2% supramolecular salicylic acid compared with 5% benzoyl peroxide/0.1% adapalene in the acne treatment: a randomized, split-face, open-label, single-center study. Cutan Ocul Toxicol 38, 48–54 (2019).
  3. Tan, J., Bissonnette, R., Gratton, D., Kerrouche, N. & Canosa, J. M. The safety and efficacy of four different fixed combination regimens of adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: results from a randomised controlled study. Eur J Dermatol 28, 502–508 (2018).
  4. Ghosh, A. & Das, K. Efficacy and safety of nadifloxacin and benzoyl peroxide versus adapalene and benzoyl peroxide in acne vulgaris: A randomized open-label Phase IV clinical trial. Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics 9, 27–27 (2018).
  5. Dréno, B. et al. Prevention and reduction of atrophic acne scars with adapalene 0.3%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel in subjects with moderate or severe facial acne: results of a 6-month randomized, vehicle-controlled trial using intra-individual comparison. Am J Clin Dermatol 19, 275–286 (2018).
  6. Dreno, B., Tan, J., Rivier, M., Martel, P. & Bissonnette, R. Adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel reduces the risk of atrophic scar formation in moderate inflammatory acne: a split-face randomized controlled trial. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 31, 737–742 (2017).
  7. Bouloc, A. et al. A skincare combined with combination of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide provides a significant adjunctive efficacy and local tolerance benefit in adult women with mild acne. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 31, 1727–1731 (2017).
  8. Alexis, A. F., Cook-Bolden, F. E. & York, J. P. Adapalene/benzoyl peroxide gel 0.3%/2.5%: a safe and effective acne therapy in all skin phototypes. J Drugs Dermatol 16, 574–581 (2017).
  9. Stein Gold, L., Weiss, J., Rueda, M. J., Liu, H. & Tanghetti, E. Moderate and severe inflammatory acne vulgaris effectively treated with single-agent therapy by a new fixed-dose combination adapalene 0.3 %/benzoyl peroxide 2.5 % gel: a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, controlled study. Am J Clin Dermatol 17, 293–303 (2016).
  10. 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).
  11. Sittart, J. A. de S. et al. Multicenter study for efficacy and safety evaluation of a fixeddose combination gel with adapalen 0.1% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5% (Epiduo® for the treatment of acne vulgaris in Brazilian population. An Bras Dermatol 90, 1–16 (2015).
  12. Abhinaya, J., Sudar Codi, R., Yuti, N. & Manimekalai, K. Comparison of the efficacy and safety of topical 1% clindamycin with 0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide with 0.1% adapalene in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris: a randomized prospective study. International Journal of Current Research 7, 17457–17460 (2015).
  13. Tabasum, H., Ahmad, T., Anjum, F. & Rehman, H. The effect of Unani antiacne formulation (Zimade Muhasa) on acne vulgaris: A single-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists 24, 319–326 (2014).
  14. Eichenfield, L. F. et al. Preadolescent moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized trial of the efficacy and safety of topical adapalene-benzoyl peroxides. J Drugs Dermatol 12, 611–618 (2013).
  15. Gonzalez, P., Vila, R. & Cirigliano, M. The tolerability profile of clindamycin 1%/benzoyl peroxide 5% gel vs. adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel for facial acne: results of a randomized, single-blind, split-face study. J Cosmet Dermatol 11, 251–260 (2012).
  16. 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).
  17. NCT01188538. Anti propionibacterium(p.) Acnes activity of Epiduo® gel compared to benzoyl peroxide (bpo) 2.5% gel. (2011).
  18. Zouboulis, C. C., Fischer, T. C., Wohlrab, J., Barnard, J. & Alió, A. B. Study of the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of 2 fixed-dose combination gels in the management of acne vulgaris. Cutis 84, 223–229 (2009).
  19. Pariser, D. M. et al. Long-term safety and efficacy of a unique fixed-dose combination gel of adapalene 0.1% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5% for the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol 6, 899–905 (2007).
  20. Capizzi, R., Landi, F., Milani, M. & Amerio, P. Skin tolerability and efficacy of combination therapy with hydrogen peroxide stabilized cream and adapalene gel in comparison with benzoyl peroxide cream and adapalene gel in common acne. A randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 151, 481–484 (2004).

Side Effects

Low-medium side effects and adverse reactions's Real World Take

A way of using benzoyl peroxide in combination with the topical retinoid, adapalene, that studies show works a bit better than benzoyl peroxide alone. However, when used properly, benzoyl peroxide on its own can completely clear the skin. Comes with annoying side effects for the first weeks and can bleach fabric.


578 Reviews