Topical Retinoid
1910 Reviews
Topical Retinoid
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
Topical Retinoid
Side Effects
Topical Retinoid’s Real World Take
This topical retinoid medication provides partial relief at higher prescription dosages, but don’t look for complete clearing. Relatively affordable and comes with less side effects than tretinoin, the other affordable topical retinoid. As a bonus, it improves the look of skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles a bit too.
Topical Retinoid
How to Get It
Adapalene is available in strengths up to 0.3% by prescription. 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. Adapalene is also available over-the-counter in 0.1% strength. Here are some places you can find it online.
Read All About Adapalene
Compare To Other Treatments

Used Adapalene? Rate It:

Choose from 1 to 5 stars
September 9, 2018
Life changing
Differin is the only product to finally clear my cystic acne. I am 38 years old, and started my battle with the dreaded chin cysts in my early 20's. I will share my story in hopes it helps you. I am red head and fair skin that is not only sensitive and reactive but also partly oily and was prone to painful, ugly, embarrassing cysts. All of the other acne products caused redness and flaking. An old boyfriend once told me, Eew, it looks like your face is peeling off. That was horrifying. No amount of makeup would help and actually often made it look worse. As I have become older and became more established in my career it has been even more embarrassing to show up with acne. So anyways fast forward to today, September 2018. I discovered Differin OTC in May 2017. I was afraid of the dreaded purge and other side effects of retinoids like flaking peeling and dryness. So I started VERY slowly. I mean i used a pea sized amount once every 3 or 4 days. And lots of gentle moisturizer. And NO OTHER ACNE PRODUCTS. I emphasize because i had literally no negative sode effects and I think it was because I was serious about being careful. About 3 or 4 months later I was able to use Differin every night. I can honestly tell you I have not had a single cyst since May 2017. And I did finally get one this month, but it helped me realize it's been over a year since I had to deal with a cyst, and that's not bad. So i did end up going to my Derm for a cortisone injection, and she recomend I move up to the stronger Rx Adapalene now. Apparently it might aslo be good for wrinkles so that's cool, too.
This Was Helpful

1 user(s) found this helpful

February 26, 2019

reading this, im glad it helped u but im so disgusted by your "old boyfriend". how can he say that to you? ugh, people like him are so gross and you shouldnt feel hurt by shallow people. (: happy your skin is healed.

August 29, 2018
Im allergic to it. Meh
Didnt work for me. Broke out in hives and scratchy neck even though I didnt apply it there. Apparently Im allergic to differin. Time to change derms again...
August 9, 2018
I guess it's the perfect treatment?
Great product, it just always works.
June 30, 2018
Psychosis, dry eyes, closure bone plates
Title says it all, don't use any Vitamin A derived products when there's other alternatives out there (e.g. benzoylperoxide). I took this for 2-3 years during my adolescence and my body feels as if I've taken accutane.
May 31, 2018
Did nothing
Didn't help me at all :( Was even on it for 6 months.
May 23, 2018
Very emotional
Before I started Differin I had moderate acne on my forehead . I tried everything !! Nothing worked! My dermatologist decided to prescribe me differin. My first week of differin , I was breaking out. I thought that was normal because it was a common side effect. But then every week it kept getting worse. I gave this gel 3 MONTHS and NOTHING HAS IMPROVED. It just made my skin worse.
May 22, 2018
I don't have a single pimple now.
This product is a hit or a miss. It either works for you, or it doesn't. I developed moderate acne around late January 2018. I started differin treatment around late February. It has been about three months and I can say that my skin is finally back to being clear again. That being said, I did have really good skin for a very long time, and when my acne did surface, I was going through very stressful and depressing situations. I have oily skin usually, but during differin, my skin became sensitve and not oily, but not dry. I am currently 17 years old, and started differin when I was 16 almost 17. Right now, although I have no pimples (no clogged pores either), there is some minimal redness and hyper pigmentation, which doesnt bother me. There are also a lot of enlarged pores, which does bother me. I will continue to use differin in fear of the acne coming back again, but this product did do what it claimed. Differin did make my skin very sensitive in the first few weeks, to the point where it hurt to touch it and the cold nyc winter wind would sting my face very bad. I highly recommend aloe vera gel to use 30 mins before your differin because it really soothes and calms down some of the sensitivity and redness. I applied aloe vera in the morning too.
May 17, 2018
Didn't Help Me :(
This didn't improve my acne, and I have oily skin. I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone. I used this for over 3+ months along with the other steps.
May 10, 2018
Surprised it works
Very good. Am 28 year old female. At first this made me break out for 3 or 4 weeks straight and then by the second month I saw improvement then third month it gets better and better. Now I only have 3 pimples compared to 20 I had bad acne caused by losing a bunch weight really fast and throwing my hormones out of whack. I also noticed my skin is nicer texture. I apply every night before lotion on bare skin, then lotion. The only reason I gave it four stars is because I still get acne. But I only been on it 3 months
May 2, 2018
sadly doesn't work!
I have moderate acne around my t zone, mostly focused on my forehead and I was recommended this by my GP. I was given 3 months to use this product and if it didn't work I have to go back. Safe to say I've got another appointment booked! My skin had no change and has just progressively gotten worse :(

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.