Acne treatment Differin gel is a type of topical steroid available in a cream or gel. Differin is believed to be the first topical erythromycin and clindamycin combination medicine. It can provide relief from active infection, while moisturizing dry skin. The gel version is administered twice daily, with the dose being applied twice daily to affected areas.
From the manufacturer
Let’s be honest, at a certain age you’d rather have another breakup than another breakout. We feel like acne as an adult shouldn’t happen, but it does. Over 50 million Americans suffer from it annually. So, you’re not alone. But before you head into that board meeting sporting your three-piece suit and your latest breakout — it might be time to give Differin a try.
Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
Differin contains the first OTC Rx-strength acne-fighting retinoid. Retinoids play a crucial role in the treatment of acne by regulating skin cell turnover & reducing inflammation deep in the skin to clear & prevent pimples. What makes the retinoid in Differin (Adapalene) so cool is that it’s gentler on your skin, while still effective — that means you get the clearer skin you want without having to do things like completely avoid sunlight forever!
How to get the most out of Differin Gel
Use a mild face wash, like Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser, to remove surface oil and dirt without overly drying skin.
Then apply a thin layer of Differin Gel once every day all over your face — even when you’re not breaking out. Differin Gel might take a few weeks to start to work, and during this time, you could experience some dryness and irritation while your skin gets ready for gorgeous.
Keep skin protected all day with a hydrating SPF lotion like Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer, and soothed all night with a gentle moisturizer like Differin Soothing Moisturizer.
Clearer skin, eventually! The retinoid in Differin Gel may take a few weeks to work, and it may seem like it’s getting a little worse before it gets better. But, like your old track coach used to say, ‘You just gotta push through it!’
Why use Differin
In 2020 we won an Allure Best Of Beauty award, and in 2018 we won a Glamour Beauty Award. So we’re kind of a big deal.
Trust the process
This stuff isn’t like the other OTC products you’ve tried. There’s no true magic wand to get rid of a bad breakout, but Differin Gel renews skin from the inside out, resulting in clearer, smoother skin over time.
Before & after
When used every single day, Differin Gel can reduce up to 87% of acne in just 12 weeks (Cunliffe et al 1998, Galderma Laboratories). That’s about the time it would take to leisurely binge-watch your favorite old TV series.
Differin Gel (15g) Differin Gel (45g) Differin Gentle Cleanser Differin Soothing Moisturizer Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer Differin Dark Spot Correcting Serum Try Other Differin Products Clears and prevents pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores to restore skin tone and texture. Up to a 30-day supply. Clears and prevents pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores to restore skin tone and texture. Up to a 90-day supply. Gently removes makeup and other impurities, even on sensitive skin. Lightweight moisturizer for hydrated, healthy skin, with no greasy feel. Reduces appearance of redness from dryness and visibly improves skin texture by rehydrating skin overnight. Helps lighten post-acne marks, hyperpigmentation and blotches to improve overall skin tone and clarity. Category Treat Treat Cleanse Moisturize Moisturize Correct Size 15g 30-day supply 45g 90-day supply 4 oz 4 oz 2.5 oz 1 oz Added benefit Contains the retinoid Adapalene Contains the retinoid Adapalene Great for sensitive skin Relieves dryness for 48-hour hydration Contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid With hydroquinone 2% to fade dark spots Usage Once Daily, AM or PM Once Daily, AM or PM Daily AM and PM Daily AM or PM Daily PM Once Daily, AM or PM
Alexis Brianne –
Let me start off by saying I have combo/oily, sensitive skin so I’m prone to breakouts (but have never had major acne issues) and have a particular issue with blackheads around my nose, mouth area. I also had issues with discoloration and skin texture. I was scared to try this, but it’s only been about two weeks and I already see a lovely difference in my skin. I haven’t had any breakouts this week, my pores are nowhere near as visible, my blackheads are slowly diminishing, and my skin is so smooth and happy. With time and consistency, this stuff will really make a difference in your skin. This product will continue to be a staple in my daily skincare routine! ((:My routine: Each night before bed I cleanse my face with my preferred face wash (CeraVe SA skin renewing cleanser). After I’ve cleansed and my skin is DRY, I’ll apply a thin layer of Differin to my entire face (even areas I don’t have issues with). After the Differin has been applied, I apply a good moisturizer (I use The Ordinary for this). Moisturizing is SUPER important if you don’t want your skin to dry out like a lizard. Even for me, my sensitive areas around my nose did dry and peel a little, but nothing that was concerning or embarrassing. I only use this once per night! In the morning, I apply a moisturizer with SPF b/c the gel can make your skin sensitive to sunburns. Then I continue with my daily makeup routine as usual. Note: This is just what works for me. I don’t suggest everyone follow my steps, but perhaps it’ll be a helpful guide for anyone who needs it.
The first 8-16 weeks of use was rough, my skin purged, was very dry, and very sensitive. As many people document online, trust the process! After the initial purge I noticed my acne would appear and leave much quicker. After a few months I had less and less cystic acne, and now my small pimples every once in a while is pretty much directly hormone based. After about a year I noticed my hypertrophic scars were fading. From what I’ve learned over the past 2 years using this product, I highly recommend simplifying your products while using this, as it’s very strong. Adapeline is a chemical exfoliate, in my opinion other products should be gentle and a basic formulation.
This is a great product! But there is a side effect you should make sure you’re ready for.I’m almost 26yrs old & I’ve been struggling with acne since I was a teen. I had been using Aveeno Clear Complection face wash for years & it usually kept it under control. The past few months my skin just kept getting worse & worse (no change to my diet, skin products, etc.) & no idea what caused my skin to have such horrible breakouts. I decided to look into Proactiv to help. I know a few people who have been on it & half loved it & half hated it. But all of them hated the price & how difficult it was to unsubscribe. That made me not want to get Proactiv. I did more research & found this product, Differin. It has the exact same amount of Adapalene Gel .1% as the ProactivMD Acne Treatment gel. It’s basically the same product, they just charge you 2x or 3x the cost for it, depending on the size you order.With that in mind, I order the Differin gel & Differin Gentle Cleanser. Now I did read the reviews on the Differin gel. I knew it would cause dry skin. But I didn’t worry about it because I knew I had a pretty good moisturizer (Bio Oil is not meant to be used as a moisturizer but I accidently discovered it makes an awesome one) that I’ve been using for at least a year.However, when I started using the Differin products, my beloved moisturizer did Not stand a chance. I switched to an Aveeno face moisturizer & Nope, that didn’t work either. My skin felt Raw. It was so dry, it started to peel which then made my skin feel raw, itchy & so red. I started shopping around buying different face moisturizers & every one I used made my skin feel like it was set on fire. It burned. I guess because it was raw, I’m not sure. I didn’t want to stop using the Differin product because I had read in other reviews that the dryness & peeling was normal & a good sign that the product is working (hard to believe, I know), all I had to do was use a good moisturizer.So I did some more research for what I could use for very dry & itchy skin. A few websites suggested a number of things that I already wasted money on except petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline). I know… Vaseline? On my face? It’s really thick, won’t it clog my pores? I had given just about everything else a try & my skin was screaming for relief. A website said the thickness of it helps prevent waterloss in the skin. So I decided to give it a try.Oh my goodness…. It worked!! After a couple of days the dryness, peeling, & itchiness was almost completely gone. After a little over a week, no more redness, no more rawness & no more anything. Well I still had acne, lol. The greasy texture takes some getting use to. I apply small dabs & rub it in, leaving a thin layer to soak in.Okay, I found an excellent moisturizer to combat the drying side effect of the Differin products. Since I’ve been using all three; Differin gel, Differin Gentle Cleanser, & Vaseline. My skin is looking Amazing.I started using the gel daily but it was/is too much for my skin. So instead I use it every other day but I use the cleanser & moisturize daily & nightly. You will go through a “purge” phase. This is normal for most acne products, even Proactiv. So don’t be scared away when this happens. Think of it like it’s digging out all of the built up junk that’s been lying under your skin, waiting to pop up at the most inconvenient time like a date or job interview.For me, it’s been about a month. I battled the dry skin side effect & patiently waited out the purge phase & now my skin is truly looking amazing & so much better. I still have acne but only about 50% of what I had when I started. Your skin might take longer or less time to purge before clearing up. Just be consistent. Be patient. Don’t chicken out. And be realistic, this is not a one week or one month cure. It’ll take time & you’ll have to continue using it even when you’re acne is gone. Or else it’ll come back. So you might as well buy the 2 large bottles. I’ve already order again & plan on using these products long term.My advice…. Buy this product!! You won’t regret it. Just make sure you have a really good moisturizer.I would add a photo of my skin now but it wouldn’t mean much because there’s no before photo so you would have no idea of how bad my acne was when I started. Just know, I’m very impressed after one month.
Hailie Perry –
I have been ordering products off of Amazon for years but this is the first time I am going to write a review. I have suffered from semi-severe acne for the past TEN years and have tried many different things that promise clear skin but I have never found anything that worked. I even went to the dermatologist a few times and did not see any results with what they prescribed me. I was seriously about to just give up until I saw this mentioned on Reddit with someone who had similar skin conditions as me getting results with it. Even though I knew this probably would not work as everything does, I tried it out because $14 wasn’t too much to waste. Oh boy. I have only used this since March (about 3 months) and my skin is COMPLETELY CLEAR!!!! I was literally crying to one of my friends yesterday about how happy I was to be able to do basic things without the pain from my acne disctracting me. I haven’t had a single pimple in the past month while I used to get 3-4 a day. I can’t believe the day has finally come that I can glide a finger over my skin and it is completely smooth, I can finally wear makeup, I can sleep on the side of my face, I can wear a mask without changing it from getting acne gunk on it. I finally beat acne after 10 long years thanks to Differin.On that note, here is some advice for those who have just started using this. For one, use this at night and MAKE SURE to buy a sunscreen. Differin increases sensitivity to light and it can actually make your skin worse if you do not use it with a sunscreen. For the first week or two, I would reccomend only using it once a week and gradually increasing to twice/thrice a week. If you are like me and have sensitive skin this is a must or else you may have irritation which can inturn cause more acne flair ups. Additionally, once you have started using it for the first few weeks or months you may expirence what is called a “purge”. Differin increases cell turnover, i.e. speeds up the way your skin replaces old cells with new cells. As this happens, acne that is present in the lower cells waiting to come up is sped up and comes out all at once. This is what many call the “purge” and I expirenced it pretty bad for the first month. But if this happens to you it may just be a sign that the product is working, so try not to quit too soon. And remember: this may take longer to work for some people and may not work at all.But with that, I am extremely greatful for this product and hope that someone else can expirence the same joy as I did 🙂 Thank you.
I have been using Differin for over a year now (around 14 months giver or take) and did not publish a review until now. If you want an in-depth review, read on. For the tl;dr version: it works, just stick with it. Btw, I was not paid for this nor was I sent this product (although they should be sending it, given how many tubes I’ve bought).I had the MOST TERRIBLE acne. No, I’m not talking about a small tiny excuse of a blemish that your friend with great skin complains about when she has her “bad skin” days. My face was RED and PAINFUL. My cheeks were COVERED all the time, and I had no area on my face where acne wouldn’t pop up. Nose, brows, chin, jaw, underneath the jaw, you name it. I had tried Curology and while my skin got amazing for the first 6 months, my acne returned with a VENGEANCE. I had tried so many things, clay masks, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, other AHAs and BHAs, sulfur, rosehip oil, and even supplements like zinc and milk thistle, you name it. Nothing worked at all. I was so so embarrassed of my skin, but I couldn’t wear makeup either since makeup made my acne SO MUCH worse.I heard about Differin and I figured “well, might as well give this a try cause it can’t get any worse”. Boy, I was wrong. It did get worse. Much worse. Suddenly I had SO much more acne and I felt like crap. I couldn’t believe my skin could get worse, but it did. Differin was the only thing I was using so I knew this was it. I was depressed but I stuck with it, cause I wanted to test it for at least 4 months. I thought I might as well test the claim, since my skin is so bad already.The first month was really really bad. It brought all underlying acne to the surface i.e. the purge phase. It did the purging for 3-4 months, but the first month was THE WORST. Not gonna lie to you, that first month will probably be the worst skin you’ve had in your life. Your skin will become SO SENSITIVE! Anticipate that! My skin has never been sensitive to products but while using this, my regular moisturizers and masks would sting like crazy (get stuff with no fragrance/alcohol or acids!). It didn’t affect my skin in any other way, it just stung a lot. Oh, and I used to get my upper lip and brows waxed. Not with this you can’t, the wax will tear off your skin since it gets much more sensitive. I learned the hard way. ONLY do threading!However, after I waited out the terrible, terrible first month, I slowly began to see improvements. Marginal, though. I had acne, but I probably had just a tad less. And it continued that way, it kept improving. Eventually, my skin was so much clearer than before! I still had acne, mind you, it’s not a miracle drug, but it was few and far in between. There would be times when I had no active acne, which was HUGE for me!! My face usually looked like a connect the dots game. However, I did hit a plateau. This worked phenomenally at reducing my ugly acne all over my face to a few zits here and there, however, my issue was deeper than that. Eventually, I went to a doctor and got on spironolactone.Now, I am both on my Spiro and this. The combo of these two have made my skin so clear! I could have never imagined this day! I still need to use this, I have noticed my Spiro is not enough to keep zits at bay and if I skip a couple of nights putting on differin, new zits come up. I am so much happier now that I don’t have zillions of gross zits on my face. I still get zits if I eat sugar or near my period but man, I am a long way from before! I have a few blemishes left over from before but I honestly don’t care, my skin looks wayyy better. I can hide my blemishes with a sheer foundation of spot concealing if I want.So if you’ve read till the end, the lesson is: be PATIENT and be realistic! Your acne did not appear overnight and will not disappear overnight. If you stick with this, it WILL work. However, your mileage may vary. My acne was extremely bad, so after I hit my “acne plateau” I went to the doctor. If your acne is not as bad, it’s likely differin is all you need for clear skin! If you’re on the fence, confused, depressed, frustrated and/or can’t afford a doctor, it’s worth a shot! Just be patient and gentle with your skin!
If you don’t read any further in my review, please know this: IT GETS A LOT WORSE before it GETS MUCH BETTER. HANG IN THERE.I’m posting this in hopes this helps someone. First, some history: I’ve struggled with moderate acne from my teenage to adult years. In my early and mid 30s, my acne has turned into painful cysts that predominantly cover my cheeks, jawline and neck. I also have breakouts on my shoulders, back and chest, though they aren’t anything like my face. The areas I break out in would lead me to believe it’s hormonal. Since I’ve also had hair loss and have had cysts on my ovaries, there was a thought it was PCOS, but dozens of blood tests and expensive doctor visits later, that was ruled out.I spend COUNTLESS, and I mean COUNTLESS hours researching about acne. It’s ruined my self-esteem and confidence, I never feel attractive, and I even have trouble looking at people sometimes. My skin is PAINFUL due to the deep cysts and inflammation. So much so, some days I just wanted to cut my skin off. It’s been hard not to pick, but of course even if I don’t, my skin is left with red marks that are just has hard to cover up as the inflamed bumps.I’ve tried EVERYTHING over the years. You name it, I’ve tried it, and that includes Acutane (but I wouldn’t stay on it due to concerns over liver damage). The only thing I haven’t tried that I heard could work is Spirnolactane. I was actually prescribed it but decided not to take it, again, over concerns about what it would due to my health. I don’t even know how many dermatologist, primary care and OB/GYN appts I’ve had to discuss the matter. One derm went so far as to tell me, “If you still have acne at this age, you’ll always have acne.” In other words, I’m hopeless. I hated that guy. That was told to me when I was around 22 and I’ve never forgotten it 13 years later.Recently, I moved to a new town and got a facial. The woman that was treating me suggested Differin Gel. She mentioned she’d seen some success with it and that it was a fairly new OTC product. I figured, what in the heck do I have to lose. Desperate, I ordered it from Amazon.And after using it for the first time, I BROKE OUT EVERYWHERE, particularly my forehead. It was AWFUL. My only patch of clear skin was now what seemed to be infinite whiteheads. Every pore was a whitehead. It was awwwwwful!!! I immediately quit the product, and was so angry that another thing failed me. It took WEEKS for the whitehead breakout to clear up.While I waited, I kept researching it. I don’t know why. And I read how people talked about it “purging” the skin so people get a bad initial breakout. Ok. Well, I don’t know if it was out of frustration or a little nagging gut feeling, I decided to try it again.AND MY SKIN GOT SO RED AND DRY AND BURNED SO BADLY. I mean, excruciatingly painful. And it turns out that’s just because I was coating on a thick layer of it all over my skin. How embarrassing showing up for work and my whole face is just red and massive FLAKES.But after all that flaking and peeling, and using non-stop aloe on it (also borrowed my husband’s thick Aveeno Eczema lotion… it seems to really work!), I had…. clear skin. I can’t believe I’m typing this. It’s been weeks, and my skin has cleared up 98% (I did have a couple neck and jawling cysts this period cycle, though – but they’re not as hidden under the surface as they used to be). My skin doesn’t get nearly as oily (overcompensating for the dryness of Differin) or as flaky (because I’m using a little bit for the whole face with a little more added onto my problem areas). It seems to have finally balanced out.I really just can’t believe it, and I am so unbelievably happy and feeling so much more confident than I have in a long time. I truly hope this helps someone. Shoot me a question on here if you have one and I’ll be happy to answer.For the record, after a ton of my own research, I believe I have a sensitivity to DHT. My blood test DHT levels are normal, but as I understand it, sensitivity to DHT cannot be measured, and I believe that may explain my female hair loss and cystic acne. I recently purchased Saw Palmetto Extract to see if that can help — though it made me feel very faint so I stopped after a third day.
Amazon Customer –
This gel works but it requires alot of patience, endurance and skin maintence on your part! I used it for approximately 5 months and my skin went from having constant acne and bumps to mostly clear skin. After all the treatment, i do get one or two acne on my tzone area but nothing as chronic and constant as before. This product is not for everyone as its really harsh on the skinBE WARNED ⚠️ you will get worse before you get better! Dont be alarmed if you break out more the first few weeks. I didnt see result until around a month in when the acne started to decrease.You will have to keep up with your skin care everyday for it to be successful. Wash your face with a cleanser before apply, I reccomend applying at night. You only need a pea sized amount and dab a bit on your entire face then spread it out. You must use moisture after application as it will dry out your skin and is super painful at first. Personally, the first week or so was the worse part. Its extremely uncomfortable with a constant stinging sensation. I kept the fan on my face to relief some of the pain and stinging. You must apply sunscreen on your face in the morning as it makes your skin sensitive to the sun!They say to apply it everyday on packaging insert but you can start with everyother night for the first week just to acclimated with the senstive skin and discomfort and then transition to every night.The process is going to take AT LEAST 3 months for best results so alot of patiences is needed
Jhony corrales –
The product works amazing. You must be patient, it takes time to achieve amazing goals…. You only need to be patient. I 100000% recommend it. I use would suggest starting using it every other day and then progressively increase the use. I also found out that “buffering” (moisturize first before applying) was the best way my skin tolerates the product. I get almost daily compliments about my skin. The product not only got rid my acne, but scars, texture, pores, fine lines, and any other radicals. I get questions regularly about my skin care. These are the products I use:Morning:* I don’t wash my face with any facial cleanser product in the morning I only use water* I never dry my skin with a towel. I let it dry by its own.* vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E serum in the morning (only one serum with all these ingredients)* cerave hydrating lotion after the vitamin C* after 20-30 min I apply a thin layer of Hydroboost hydrating gel*Sunscreen last step in the morningNight:* Cerave Hydrating facial cleanser (only at night)* cerave hydrating lotion* after 20-30 min I apply a layer of Differin all around the face and neck. (Avoid eye area)* after close to 1 hour I apply a final layer of Cerave Moisturizer creamI do this everyday now and my skin is glowing looking and it’s best. All these Products I use are non comedogenic and they work amazing in my sensitive, acne prone skin.Differin made an amazing impact in my skin look and health…. Please try it and be patient. I have been using it non stop for already a year.
Zachary Ruddock –
I literally never write reviews. I have struggled with acne on and off my entire life. After pregnancy/weaning it was worse than ever. Nothing helped. I tried this stuff before briefly but gave up after a few weeks because I didn’t understand how it works. It takes quite awhile, folks. And sadly, it gets worse before it gets better. Your face will “purge”. You will curse this stuff. You will almost quit. But I’m telling ya, don’t!! I swear the improvement suddenly happened overnight. Weeks 2-4 were the worst- my acne was awful. Then suddenly at 5 weeks, I started getting fewer and fewer pimples. I am now 7 weeks in and seeing so much improvement!! Ignore the bandaid I got whacked in the face, but the first pic is before I began and the second was taken today at 7 weeks in. I am excited to see the rest of the improvements to come by 12 weeks!! I will say, I do still get *some* pimples from hormones. However, there are way less and they clear up much faster. Try it. I was a skeptic, too. Also- avoid the eye area. It will get dry. And get a good moisturizer-it will dry things out especially at first.
Savanna Rose –
I am 28 years old and have had acne since I was about 12. I thought I had tried everything and honestly lost hope for my skin completely and gave up years ago.Then, in preparing to get married, I decided to try again as I didn’t want to feel self conscious for any reason on my wedding day. Then I saw Differin was now OTC so I decided to try it because, at that point, I really had nothing to lose.Oh my gosh am I so glad I took at chance on this product! My skin has literally never looked this good. It has massively helped with scarring and redness and, though I do still have small breakouts (mainly around my period) they are more easily managed and do not stick around for as long as they used to.Note: it is definitely drying and I do recommend using a good moisturizer and hydrating face wash with it (I use La Roche Posay and it works great with this).