Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial
579 Reviews
Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial
Side Effects
Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial’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. Comes with side effects for the first weeks and can bleach fabric. Note: When used correctly, benzoyl peroxide on its own can completely clear the skin.
Topical Retinoid / Topical Antibacterial
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist? Make an appointment to get this medication. Don't have a dermatologist? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find one.
Read All About Adapalene / Benzoyl Peroxide (Epiduo®)
Compare To Other Treatments

Used Adapalene / Benzoyl Peroxide (Epiduo®)? Rate It:

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February 14, 2023
Not for everyone
Everyone’s skin reacts differently to treatment and for me despite using this for just over 5 months i didn’t experience any improvement in my skin. Also… I was so confused last summer whilst using this as to why my face was so much lighter than the rest of my body until i realised not only does it bleach your clothes and towels, it can also bleach ur skin. overall my experience wasn’t great but i know it works well for my friend with milder acne than myself.
April 9, 2019
um ?

this product bleached my face. no joke. 

just because it didn't work for me, does not mean it wont for everyone BUT if you are a darker skinned person (like myself) be wary of the product's bleaching nature. 


November 25, 2018
WARNING before using Epiduo

Before I begin: do NOT apply Epiduo to a large area of the skin until you have completed a 48 hour 'patch test'.

I applied a small amount of Epiduo to the 'T-zone' and did not notice any redness or stinging at first. However, the following evening some redness began to show. I assumed that this was a normal response, since there was no pain, and applied another small amount. 

The area quickly began to burn and I removed the product within 5 minutes of application. By the next morning, the redness had spread to almost my entire face (exceeding where the Epiduo had been applied initially) and my skin was sore, dry and flaky. This continued for another day, getting worse until eventually the burning became so severe that the only relief was from holding my face in ice water, meanwhile the skin became incredibly tight, cracking at the driest points, and swelling.

The burning pain was so excruciating that I was taking both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. Getting no relief from either, I took Codeine whilst continuing to ice my face. I was concerned that I was having an allergic reaction due to the swelling, and went to A&E.

The burning, cracking and swelling was so intense that I had to refrain from screaming in pain in the waiting room. I was administered an emergency topical anaesthetic that is used to treat burns.

The following day the swelling was at its worst and I could barely move my face, however the burning pain had subsided. I lost a layer of skin, but (luckily) it healed within two days.

I am now aware of the fact that with Epiduo 'your skin will get worse before it gets better' (my dermatologist failed to mention this), however the severity of the skin's initial reaction will vary with each patient. Unfortunately, I was left in unbearable pain beyond what is tolerable in exchange for good results.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of leaving your 'patch test' for 48 hours or more as my response to the Epiduo took days to emerge. Some may choose to continue with the treatment, if it does not cause a great deal of pain (or despite the pain, if you really are desperate for results), however you MUST give yourself time to test the product on a small area and fully consider whether you are prepared to go through with treatment. Do NOT apply without testing

November 3, 2018
9 months treatment = no results
Absolutely useless. Has been 9 Months on this f***g s**t. Good luck with it. Maybe it will help you. May we all have beautiful and healthy skin! Much love.
June 14, 2018
I have a question! I have moderate hormonal localised acne (that is mostly purple/red scars now) on my cheekbones right in front of both ears, either side of my mouth and scarring on my cheeks near my nose. I started Epiduo 3 days ago after my skin built up a resistance to Apo-Doxycycline 50mg and 100mg. The first night was fine, pimples under the skin came up and disappeared by the end of the day. I did learn quite quickly that you CANNOT put the cream on popped pimples, cause it leaves a rash! The second day I helped a friend out with a makeup assessment and she put quite a thick layer of foundation on my face. It burned a little around my eyes and mouth, but I said I'd take the makeup off at home as I knew my face would be red underneath. I got home and used Garnier's Micellar Water to take off the makeup, and alas, my cheeks became hot and red and my eyes stung like hell. I put a cold towel on my face and just laid down on the bathroom floor because it hurt so much. I also put Borage Seed Oil on my face, which calmed the redness a bit. I went to bed praying that I'd look better in the morning. This morning I woke up and my skin looked great! My skin was smooth and glowing and didn't hurt at all. I've learnt that my skin gets angry when I cleanse it in the morning, no matter what cleanser I use, so I just use a hydrating serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. I wet my face, and when I touched it I realised why it was so smooth. Epiduo had bloody stripped a layer of skin off my face and there were burnt patches that killed to touch. I was in so much pain! I waited a bit to put any makeup on, probably around half an hour. I dabbed concealer on and that is all I put on my skin. I'm sitting at school now and my face is just burning. My skin is hot, and the skin under my eyes is swollen and ridiculously sore. I don't know what to do! I've read that people have experienced burning, but should I continue using it? I'm seeing my GP on Saturday, if my skin hasn't improved she's putting me back on Doxycycline 50mg. The products that I use: AM: - Cold Water - The Ordinary's Marine Hyaluronics - Dermalogica Active Moist - Nivea Daily Veil SPF 30+ - Clinique Concealer PM: - Cold Water - Clinique Redness Solutions Cleanser - The Ordinary's Marine Hyaluronics - Epiduo Cream (Spot Treatment, very thin layer, I use one pump) - Clinique Redness Solutions Moisturiser and if my face still feels dry - Dermalogica Active Moist
November 5, 2018
I would not use epiduo for localised acne from my experience! I did for a few local areas of acne on my cheeks. Well, it started to purge me in areas I had never had acne, and 1 year later, my face is 1000 times worse then when i started- the acne from cheeks is better, fine. but the rest of my face which had never seen a pimple is covered in cystic acne which i had never had.
July 7, 2017
Product used: Epiduo (Forte Gel)
Worse skin than before
I'm 16 years old, and I've struggled with moderate acne since I was around 12 years old. I tried to put off seeing a dermatologist because I thought it would be embarrassing, so instead, I tried basically every over the counter topical medication I could find; AcneClear, Proactiv, Cetaphil, Biore, and probably at least twenty more brands. I finally worked up the courage to go see a dermatologist, and he prescribed me Epiduo Forte and some doxycycline pills. I wash my face with Cetaphil then apply the epiduo once every night before I go to sleep. I never got any of the burning sensation, to me it felt cool for the first few days, and now it doesn't give any sensation at all. I was SO excited to start using this because most of the reviews were positive and acted like it was a miracle worker. I've been using this for over a month, and I'm disappointed to say, I'm NOT HAPPY. My skin is the worst it's ever been, and I haven't seen any improvement at all. Before starting this, my skin was bad, but it was mostly centered on my cheeks. My chin and forehead were completely clear. After using epiduo, my acne has gone to moderate to severe, and there is no longer any clear area of my skin. At first I thought it must be a "purge phase" but this has been going on for about 6 weeks, so I'm losing hope. I really don't know what else to try.
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April 23, 2018
Go to the dermatologist and get prescribed ACCUTANE! I promise it will work!! It's a 5 month treatment. I had severe cystic acne, and this truly was a miracle!!! Warning, it gets way worse before it gets better & you get really dry. But I promise it is worth it!! It has been 4 years since I did it, & I had literally zero acne for the first 3 years, & now I only get like 1 every few months!
March 5, 2017
Not for me... Skin ruined after one application
I read all the reviews here before using Epiduo, feeling excited that it might just be my cure. I know my skin is a bit sensitive but I didn't expect this. After one application only, my face started burning the second day and got a lot worse on the third day. My skin is insanely red, burning, tight, slightly swollen, oozing pus or some sort of liquid. OMG if I didnt have the same experience six years ago (due to a different product, probably with BP too) , I'd be crying in horror right now. From what I have read, I think my reaction is more severe than just dryness, flaking, peeling etc. as described by most. I'm just glad I didnt put Epiduo on my whole face, but almost half of my face is currently ruined. I have stopped using it after thr first application and dont intend to ever go near it again. Obviously it has been very effective for a lot of people, it's a real shame I react so badly to it. For people who want to try this, beware of the possibility of getting a major bad reaction and be prepared to deal with it. I hope it works for you!
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2 user(s) found this helpful

March 7, 2017
Sorry to hear. At the first sign of redness I washed it off and started the next night with 50/50 Epiduo and Cetaphil eczema moisturizer and I am doing great on Epiduo. You must use good moisturizer and only use Epiduo at night. Always apply good sunscreen if goong outside. Only use a sensitive skin soap like Cetaphil sensitve that Dan recommended
December 31, 2016
Product used: Epiduo (Forte Gel)
Hasn't helped yet
In the past I've been on clindamycin and epiduo + deoxycyclin. Each was effective for about a year before my skin got bad again. Currently I'm on three different prescriptions, aczone in the morning, epiduo forte at night and erythromycin twice a day. As well as going completely dairy free.I hoped there wouldn't be a "binge" period like there was with my old epiduo but there was. I'm in my third week and I've seen zero improvement. I have cysts all along my hair line, on my chin, and on my forehead. I hope I'll see improvements soon.
July 29, 2016
It's a No For Me
I've had acne for a few years and this was the first thing I tried. I have a blurry memory with Epiduo because it was 3 years ago but it did not work
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1 user(s) found this helpful

January 3, 2016
Did not work for 14 year old female
This was the first prescription cream my kid was prescribed along with Doxycycline pills. No significant progress was made by either in reducing her acne.

Finding a Doctor

The right dermatologist can make a big difference to your patient experience and the success of your acne treatment plan. Here are the steps to find a dermatologist who is a good fit:

  1. Use the search feature on the American Academy of Dermatology website to look for board-certified dermatologists in your area, and filter the search results for doctors with a special interest in treating acne.
  2. Read online patient reviews of any dermatologists you are considering and ask people you know whether they have any experience with these dermatologists.
  3. Do your research and go to your first appointment with questions prepared.
  4. Listen to what your gut feeling tells you once you see a dermatologist in person. If you are not completely comfortable, try a different dermatologist.

Finding a Doctor

Only a select few plastic surgeons specialize in acne scar revision surgery. Be certain to find a provider who specializes in acne scar repair and who is passionate and experienced in this area.

Be sure to:

  • Look at before and after photos, the more the better, especially patients with similar scarring to your own.
  • Be realistic about results. Look for improvement, not a cure.

Questions to ask a potential scar revision specialist:

  • Are you board certified? Be certain that they are board certified.
  • How long have you been performing these procedures? Normally, the more experience the better, however, some younger surgeons may be more on top of the latest procedures.
  • Can I speak to some of your other patients? Ask for references for several patients who had similar scarring and speak to them about the process and their satisfaction with results.

Red flags:

  • Their story changes: As you discuss different treatment options, if they tend to change their mind easily, or agree with whatever you say, consider this a red flag. A confident, experienced surgeon will possess strong, unwavering opinions.
  • Your gut tells you "no": Trust your gut. If you just don't feel that the doctor is the right fit, trust that and move on. On the other hand, if you feel they are the perfect specialist for you, trust that feeling.