Wednesday, September 28, 2022

What Does Differin Gel Do For Acne

Mistake #: Using It As A Spot Treatment

Differin Gel for Acne Review || Does It Work?

Mistake number one is thinking that differin gel works as a spot treatment.

I see a lot of people making this mistake. They just use it as needed when they get a breakout.

It doesnt work that way!

You want to use differin to the entire face except to the eyelids.

Differin gel works to treat acne below the surface of the skin before it even appears and it works to prevent breakouts in the future.

It is not a spot treatment. You need to use it consistently to see results, daily as tolerated. However you can use it as little as a few nights a week and still get good results, but does not work as a spot treatment.

if you get a breakout and you try and use differin as a spot treatment, its not going to do anything. It takes a while for it to start working.

See: Salicylic Acid vs. Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne Which is Better?

The Myth Associated With The Treatment Of Acne

Its a common myth that an acne product is working only if it stings or burns. After all, stinging and burning are signals from your skin saying that it is being damaged. As mentioned, damaged or irritated skin quickly becomes inflamed in an effort to protect itself, and this inflammation can actually lead to more acne. Therefore, if your skin is easily irritated, most retinoids will probably cause more harm than good.

If you have normal, oily, or combination skin, this may not apply. Some of these symptoms may occur during the first month of treatment with adapalene 0.1% and 0.3%, but depending on what your doctor advises, it should be OK to continue . According to the Differin package insert, these usually disappear within a month.

Can You Use Differin Gel For Wrinkles

While Differin Gel is approved as an acne treatment product, many people are aware that retinoids also provide anti-aging benefits. This might leave you wondering: can you use Differin Gel for wrinkles? And the short answer is yes!

According to,Differin Gel is useful as an anti-aging product for the improvement of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, and sallow skin. If youre not already using a retinol product, you could consider using Differin Gel for wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Acne Scars Overnight

How Is Differin Affected By The Sun

Avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps or sunbeds while using this medication, as it increases your skin’s sensitivity to UV light. If exposure to sunlight cannot be avoided, use sunscreens or protective clothing over treated skin.

If your skin is sunburnt, you should not use this medication until your skin has fully recovered. Severe irritation may result.

How Does Differin Differ From Other Acne Treatments

[Acne] Using differin? DO NOT GET YOUR EYEBROWS WAXED ...

As a mid-range treatment, Differin is an excellent first option for acne sufferers – other available treatments can be weaker , stronger , or designed with broader actions .

For a more detailed explanation of how Differin compares to other treatments, you can view our acne treatment comparison page.

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What Is Differin Gel

Differin Gel is manufactured by Galderma Laboratories LP. The gel contains .1 percent adapalene, a third-generation retinoid, meaning its a derivative of the first retinoid used as topical medication .

Differin Gel is the first acne treatment the FDA approved in more than 30 years. Adapalene has been used to treat acne for more than 20 years.

Retinoid is a compound of vitamin A, which helps regulate cell turnover. This means it helps with the shedding of the initial layer of skin cells to promote the production of new, healthy skin.

In addition, this fat-soluble retinoid penetrates the skin cells and, according to 2019 research , it reduces water loss and protects collagen from degradation.

Vitamin A and its derivatives are among the most effective substances slowing the aging process, the research states.

Differin Gel was launched in 2017 and is available widely in U.S. pharmacies, retail stores, or online.

There are other products on the market that contain adapalene. For example, Proactive sells an adapalene gel, as does La Roche Posay, neither of which requires a prescription. Both of these gels are comparable in price to Differin Gel and use the .1 percent suspension.

If you have a prescription, Differin Gel is also available in a .3 percent concentration.

Differin Gel treats acne vulgaris, a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit, which contains the hair follicle and sebaceous gland.

Acne may be caused by a variety of reasons, including:

Mistake #: Using It With Retinols

Retinols are cosmeceutical ingredients that youll find in anti-wrinkle creams. These work similar to differin, they have many of the same outcomes.

Some people ask is it okay to alternate one day using differin and another day using a retinol.

No! All that does is lead to excessive irritation. It doesnt help you out, it doesnt give you more acne control, its not better, its not more anti-aging. None of those things, it just wastes your money, causes too much irritation.

Many retinols are a slow release formulation, theyre slowly released into your skin. You may use one and not have any irritation and then say Im going to piggyback it with my differin gel.

Differin gel will start working faster than the retinol and then all of a sudden, the retinol is going to start working to peel your skin, to exfoliate it, and youll get a lot of dryness and irritation.

You dont want to use differin gel and a retinol together and that includes alternating them, like differin one night, retinol the next night.

Dont do that!

Its okay to skip a night of using differin if you have too much irritation, but on that skipped night, dont use another retinol. That defeats the purpose of skipping a night of differin.

It doesnt help you get acclimated to differin. It should only take about two weeks to get acclimated to the dryness and peeling of differin and then that subsides and it really starts to go to work.

Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Bad Back Acne

My Experience With Differin

Alrighty. Now to talk about my 2 week long experience with this stuff. Wait, what?? 2 weeks?!?! I can hear you already.

Yes, Ive only used this stuff for about 2 weeks BUT I plan on using it a full 3 months and will update here periodically. I have dropped everything from my routine except EltaMD AM Therapy and EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. If all goes well Ill start incorporating things back in after a couple months. Consider this the differin experiment.

I want to give it a full shot at working its magic before ruling it out. And quite frankly, mixing it with other actives might decrease its overall effectiveness by increasing my skins sensitivity.

For whatever its worth, here are the reasons I decided to drop all my other chemical exfoliants in favor of differin.

1. I still have minor atrophic scars on my cheek that I wish werent there. Given that adapalene helps acne scars in 0.3% concentration, I figure it might help.

2. It most likely has anti-aging benefits.

3. It has good tolerability in cases of adult acne. Yay because Im 24 and have sensitive acne-prone skin!

4. Differin works by targeting the start of the cell cycle as opposed to the end. This means theres less potential to over-exfoliate, damage the stratum corneum, and end up with dull and tired looking skin. Something Ive experienced all too often with chemical exfoliants. -___-

Hope youve enjoyed this Differin Gel overview / review!



It’s A Retinoid Not A Retinol


While there are many over-the-counter retinol creams on the market, Differin is a retinoid. They’re similar, but not exactly the same, explains Ava Shamban, MD, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and founder of SKIN FIVE. Both ingredients are derived from vitamin A, a powerhouse anti-ager that increases cell turnover, but retinol is much weaker than its prescription counterpart and can take longer to deliver noticeable results, she says.

Nor are all retinoids the same. “Differin is adapalene and has a slightly different chemical structure than other retinoids, making it less irritating,” says Dr. Shamban.

Differin is the only retinoid currently available over the counter you still need a prescription for its stronger form, Differin Gel 0.3%, as well as for other types of retinoids, such as tretinoin , isotretinoin, and tazarotene.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars On Cheeks

Why Should You Not Use Differin

Differin is known to cause inflammation, skin irritation, and even worsening of acne in some cases. If you are someone who suffers from eczema or seborrhoeic dermatitis, it might be wise to consult a dermatologist before making the decision to try Differin.

It might also be important to note that, while using Differin, you shouldnt use any creams that contain benzoyl peroxide because you might experience dryness and skin irritation.

There is an inadequate amount of information about the effects of adapalene during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so it is recommended to consult a health care professional before trying Differin in these cases.

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It Has Some Other Perks

In addition to treating and preventing acne, this miracle gel addresses acne-related inflammation and even scarring. It also helps with any discoloration from acne by increasing the turnover so you get rid of the hyperpigmentation, Dr. Saedi adds. Basically, as it helps to shed your dead, damaged, and inflamed skin, it simultaneously promotes the growth of new skin, unveiling clearer skin.

There are also anti-aging benefits to using Differin. After all, it is a retinoid. By promoting cell turnover, it stimulates collagen production, which results in younger-looking skin. Dr. Saedi sometimes uses it for this purpose herself, in lieu of other stronger, prescription-only retinoid treatments. I personally use it in the winter months because it is less irritating than Retin-A, she reveals. If you need something with more hydration, check out these anti-aging creams dermatologists trust the most.

Read Also: What Helps With Acne Scars

How To Use Retinoid Products Every Day

Normally, low-concentration adapalene is safe for use in all skin types. Here are the steps on how and when to use Differin for acne, as advised by the manufacturers:

  • After washing with a non-medicated soap, pat dry your face. Then apply a thin layer of Differin gel to the affected area every evening. Adapalene is safe to use once every day, but no more. This includes lower concentrations such as adapalene gel 0.1%. Increased use doesnt automatically mean increased efficacy, and it may be harmful.
  • Avoid application to the skin around the eyes and lips , and on the inside of your mouth and nose.
  • Dont apply to sunburnt skin.
  • Be careful when using any adapalene product with other acne treatments.
  • A mild sensation of warmth or slight stinging may occur shortly after application, but this should be transient.
  • Avoid direct sunlight during the day and use an SPF 30 or higher sunblock when going out. Retinoid products can make the skin more sensitive to harmful UV rays .
  • Apply a good moisturizer if the affected area gets dry.
  • It may take up to 12 weeks for the product to work, but if no significant improvement is noticed by then, you should reevaluate the use of Differin.

The manufacturers also advise that you should stop using the product and consult with a doctor or dermatologist immediately, if you find that any side effect persists or worsens.

Who Will Benefit Most


We recommend Differin for people who have already tried acne treatment products that address inflammation and oil production, yet still struggle with clogged pores. If your skin isnt very inflamed, and it isnt producing extra oil, then excess skin cells are likely the reason for your clogged pores. This means that regulating skin cell life cycles with Differin gel could help to clear existing acne, and also prevent new acne from forming.

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Faq About Differin Gel Expectations

How long does Differin Gel take to work?

Differin Gel starts working immediately, and results may be seen in as little as two weeks. It may take some time to see significant results, but with continued use, its been proven to work, so hang in there. In a clinical study, patients reported up to an 87% decrease in acne after 12 weeks of use.

Are there any side effects?

Differin Gel has superior tolerability compared to other retinoid acne formulations not containing adapalene. Common side effects include dryness, redness, irritation and burning/stinging. These symptoms usually peak at the 2- to 4-week mark before subsiding. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and in clinical studies, average scores were less than mild.

What is retinization?

Retinization is the adjustment period in which the skin becomes acclimated with the retinoid. During this time skin may become irritated, resulting in dryness, scaling, redness and burning/stinging. Irritation usually lessens after four weeks of continued, once-daily use. Its also important to note that some never experience retinization. This simply means Differin Gel is still working under the surface of the skin without causing any irritation. Differin Soothing Moisturizer works to help relieve the dryness associated with retinization.

When is irritation most likely to occur?

If I experience irritation , should I discontinue use? What can I do to minimize skin irritation?

How does Differin Gel look and feel?

How Should I Use This Medication

Apply a thin layer of adapalene once a day before bedtime after washing the area with a gentle cleanser and drying gently with a towel. It should be applied to all the areas that are prone to acne this may include the chest and back as well as the face. Do not apply adapalene to cuts, open wounds, sunburned areas, or areas of the skin with eczema.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss one application, do not apply it more than once per day. Skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule the following day at bedtime. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing an application, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

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Where To Buy Differin Gel

Differin Gel is not sold on the brands website. You must buy Differin Gel from a third party online retailer, such as Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.

Differin Gel is also sold in physical retail locations throughout the United States, such as Target, Walgreens, Walmart, and other drug stores. The brand has a store locator on their website so you can find a location near you that sells Differin Gel.

What Differin Is Like To Use


Since buying it, I’d been applying the gel infrequently at night to avoid drying out my skin . My skin had been comparatively good, but I hadn’t noticed a huge change. On vacation, though, turning to it out of necessity, I realized it’s not your average product. Years of buying the same salicylic acid blend in differently branded tubes had lowered my expectations.

After the first night’s application, I woke up relieved to see my skin was already clearer: problem areas had diminished in size and severity, and no new blemishes had appeared. After two nights of application, all my blemishes were gone.

This is not standard for me. Usually, I have to dedicate a week to fighting a breakout products like help me, but far less drastically or immediately. And, far too often, I forget the pre-emptive measures of using my other Holy Grail products, like the Aztec Mask or Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial and have to deal with the consequences. With Differin, I spent two days of vacation concerned about my skin rather than five.

The difference between this and my other underwhelming CVS purchases was its prescription strength. Differin contains 0.1% adapalene a powerful retinoid that fights blackheads and whiteheads and prevents future blemishes. It’s anti-inflammatory, so it reduces redness and swelling, and it helps assist in skin cell turnover, meaning pores are less likely to get clogged in the first place.

Recommended Reading: Can Baby Acne Be On Chest

Key Info To Know About Differin Gel And Cream

Differin is a brand name for adapalene cream and gel.

Differin is suitable for most people but must not be used by pregnant women or children under 12 years of age.

Differin cream/gel can be used on your face, back or chest. It should not be used if you have severe acne affecting large areas of skin.

Apply Differin thinly to the whole area where you get acne once a day before going to bed.

Protect treated areas of skin from sunlight with suncream or clothing while using Differin, even on a bright but cloudy day. Do not use sunbeds or sunlamps.

The most common side effects are a mild burning sensation, redness and dryness of the treated areas of skin.

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