Differin Gel


176 reviews

77% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$


DIFFERIN Gel contains adapalene 0.1% (1 mg) in a vehicle consisting of carbomer 940, poloxamer 182, edetate disodium, methylparaben, sodium carbomer 940, edentate disodium, methylparaben poloxamer 182, propylene glycol, purified water and sodium hydroxide. May contain hydrochloric acid to adjust pH

on 8/26/2012 5:36:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I'm not gonna tell you my whole life story with acne but it's just generally been a very rollercoaster-y few years with my skin. I finally went to the derm and got a prescription for Differin. Let me tell you, this stuff is miraculous. The first two months really suck, don't take it remotely lightly. You break out in places you've never even seen a zit before. But by the third month everything gets so much better. Perseverance is key with this stuff. And don't forget sunscreen, I was a lifeguard this summer and forgot a few times..... BAD IDEA. It messes with all of the progress you made. Now I can walk out in public with not a lick of makeup on and feel so proud of my skin.
Morning: Clean and Clear Cream Face Wash
Cetaphil Moisturizer
Night: wash rag and boiling hot water to wipe your face before cleansing (purges dirt and oil from your pores so the face wash goes as deep as possible)
Clean and Clear Cream Face Wash
Differin 0.3
Before workouts or showers during the day: Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Cleansing Wipes (smell sooooo good too!)

Hope this helps!

on 6/22/2012 6:10:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

I use the 0.1 gel nightly and use sunscreen underneath my makeup in the morning. I apply this right after I shower; my damp skin helps absorb it better. At first I thought a pea size wasn't enough, as my skin wasn't reacting to it at all. However, the dryness and redness set in by night 5, and my skin peeled when I applied makeup. My usual cleanser started to sting a bit, and surprisingly my lips peeled from the differin (I didn't even apply it there). I normally don't use moisturizer, but I immediately went down to the chemist to buy physiogel cream, and will now use it after applying differin. Will update with further use.
5 Weeks Update **

My skin had gotten way too sensitive because I was using too much, so I cut the dosage to only the size of a green pea and only applied it to my T zone. After using it for three weeks with no effects, I added a AHA+BHA exfoliating serum, and my blackheads have decreased significantly. Now the blackheads are not completely gone, but the exfoliating serum has helped clear out my pores, and the Differin gel helps to shrink pores and renew the skin. So far nothing impressive.
Week 9 Update

Finally seeing some results. I now use a pea sized differin on my T-zone, then add an AHA+BHA serum on top (T-zone only), then moisturize with a water-based gel (all over). Recently I have not been wearing makeup and have extracted my blackheads with a tool a couple times, and my blackheads have cleared about 85%. I found out that with Differin, you have to be patient (waiting out the initial breakout and flaking), and "help" the product work. Not wearing makeup and keeping the skin moisturized at all times will help your pores decrease in size. Also, cleansing the skin with cleansing oil will help melt the blackheads away. This new skincare routine is working out great for me.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 6/1/2012 10:23:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I bought this months ago, after hearing about it from a friend. I went to my doctor and he prescribed it to me, along with Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Gel. I started using it, but had to stop after 1-2 weeks after it started making my face peel horribly.

Recently, I started using it again to see if my skin could handle both. The Topical Gel in the morning, and Differin at night. It worked really well for the first 3 days with no outbreaks or dry skin. Overnight, the burning woke me up. It felt like someone had sprayed acid on my face. My skin was bright red, all my acne (I have mild to no acne, but I wanted to clear up my skin and blemishes with the medicine) stood out extremely bad. I couldn't put any lotion on my face, even Aveeno Smart Essentials SPF 30. Anything that went on my face, including make up, burned my face and would reduce me to tears from the pain.

I immediately stopped using both products and had to keep my face covered in an ice-cold, damp rag. If the rag wasn't on, my face dried out and I could barely smile due to how tight it was. The next day, the peeling began. And it came with reckoning: my whole face started peeling to the point where the new skin underneath would sting really bad.

I started soaking my face with a rag and PH water. The water dried out my skin more and put me in misery. I have a huge event next Thursday and today is Friday; I'm afraid my face won't get better before then.

I've resorted to using Curel Fragrance Free Lotion for dry and sensitive skin. The lotion has helped with the pain and peeling, but I don't know if it'll help aid my skin before Thursday.

I will NEVER use this product again! I understand it doesn't work on some people, but people with sensitive skin - BEWARE. This last week has been torture for me, and my face is as red as a tomato.

on 5/5/2012 10:29:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Oily, Tan, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I didn't really have bad acne. I initially went to th dermatologist because I had really clogged pored on my nose and a bit of acne on my chin and forehead, but it wasn't really noticeable or that bad. I was given a prescription for this. I use it every other night, just a pea size amount. My skin really cleared. It looks so nice and smooth. The problem is that I feel like it has caused a new problem: oily skin. When I wake up, my face is like an oil slick. It has gotten so bad that I recently spent almost $200 on skin care products just for oily skin. I really am liking the way my skin looks, but I hate the oiliness! My skin was never oily before. It is uncomfortable and makes putting on makeup hard. I'm going to stop using it and see what happens.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 5/2/2012 1:05:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I started on Differin .1, but quickly moved to .3, and I LOVE it!
I have combo/oily acne prone and sensitive skin, and this hasn't caused any irritation, almost no peeling either. I had occasional minor flaking (no one would have noticed but me) for the first few weeks and still occasionally around my hairline in the am. But, it is nothing a gentle morning face wash can't clean up. This stuff clears my skin so well! I had no purging, and I wasn't red either. It does make me super oily though. I have to Use blotting papers at least twice a day. But, my skin is looking almost flawless, so a little blot here and there isn't anything to complain about, especially when I hardly have to wear makeup now.
This is not the only thing I do for my skin, but it is a major contributor to my clear skin. amazing! (I have tried retinA micro, and that made my skin tight and itchy).

on 4/2/2012 2:31:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I put down a 3 for price - without insurance, this is expensive, but if you have insurance, you can probably get it for cheaper. I have the 1% gel, and I've been using it for nearly a decade - all over my face when I was in my early 20s and my skin was bad; now that I'm 31 and my skin has cleared, I use it as a spot treatment. If I feel a nasty bump growing under the skin, I'll slap some of this on it overnight, and the swelling is reduced by morning; usually, it completely clears within a couple days (spots usually last 5 days without it).

Because I've used it for so long, I can't really comment on its anti-aging properties - I didn't have any wrinkles when I started using it. However, nothing beats this stuff when it comes to treatment for spots.

on 4/1/2012 7:54:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

My must have backup for when I get the occasional pimple or break out. It sorts it out quicker than other things and without the intense drying or stinging (tiger balm, anyone?). I was also told by my doctor that it helps with scarring, but I'm not so sure about that. If he means that it gets rid of the pimple before I get tempted to pick at it though, then that works as well. Definitely works against those blemishes!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 3/11/2012 11:54:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I had a tube of this for 4-5 years and have tried to use it 3/4 times n everytime I gave up coz of the purging n irritation. Recently I have it a go again because my skin just wouldn't improve with anything else n I was desperate. I researched thoroughly n for the first time I m using it correctly. I use a tiny and I mean very tiny amount over my face acne prone areas at night and alot of moisturizer. The breakout started but I persisted and for the first time I'm seeing dramatic improvement. It's wk 5 now n since wk 3-4 I've seen dramatic improvements. I should have persisted with this previously n used it correctly, such a waste of time n money the last few yrs experimenting with wrong products n even resorting to laser therapy!! All I should have done was use sparingly and with persistence n alot of moisturizer!!! Excited to see how it will continue to improve from wk 8 onwards.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 3/8/2012 9:29:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel


Sorry for the all caps, but no one warned me, and now I have ugly red marks under my eyebrows where the skin was ripped/burned off. Google "differin eyebrow waxing" and you will see that many other people have had this problem. Differin thins the skin and can make it much more prone to damaging. Just wanted to warn you guys because I didn't see anything in any of the other reviews about this, and trust me, it is NOT attractive.

Now, on to the review. Basically, I love this stuff. I had been using OTC retinol (RoC) for about a year but felt that I had gone about as far as I could with it. I have some blackheads on my nose and small whiteheads on my chin that seem to always have been there. The occasional zit, but nothing major. Since starting the Differin two weeks ago, this is all clearing up beautifully. My skin is getting a lovely glow and wrinkles seem to be diminishing. I got this for the anti-aging benefits but love that it's clearing up my skin as well. I use only at night, but want to work up to 2x/day. There are some flaky spots as would be expected, but these went away after I had used the retinol for a few weeks and I expect that it will be the same with the differin.

I cleanse my face at night with CeraVe, wait about half an hour, apply the differin, wait another half hour, then apply vitamin E oil. I am LOVING this combo.

I chose this over retin-A/taz/etc. because it was the only retinoid product that my insurance (blue cross) would pay for for a person my age. To get the others, I would have to be 24 or under. Why I don't know, but for some reason they would spring for the differin, so that's what I asked my Dr for. It was $15 after my co-pay.

I think that because I had already used retinol, my skin was more used to it, and caused me to tolerate the differin very well. Just not on anything that I will be waxing!
EDIT: According to Paula Begoun, retinol/retinoids are NOT exfoliants. Yes, they speed up cellular turnover which is why people get the "flakies" with these products, but they do nothing to actually remove the flakies from the skin's surface. Since reading this, I have started using a mild salicylic acid lotion (CeraVe SA) to remove all the stuff that the Differin brings up. NOT at the same time (Differin at night, SA after work). I let the SA lotion set on my face for a bit and give myself a facial massage. All the dry bits literally roll off my skin in little pills (sorry to be gross) and I am left with baby smooth skin afterwards. I have found all mechanical exfoliants to be too harsh on my skin since using Differin.
BONUS: This seems to be removing my syringoma which everyone says only a dermatologist can do. YAY!

on 2/26/2012 8:14:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Black

Got this in 0.1% from my derm for my mild acne (whiteheads and blackheads mostly on my cheeks). Been using for almost a mth and now i cannot live without it! My bumps looks much lesser just after a few days into this treatment. So far it didnt cause me any purging nor did it stings my skin. After about 4 days into it, my skin burns so badly after cleansing at night (im using mu remover n cleanser which contains aha and my clarisonic brush). So much so tat watever i put onto my skin after tat just makes my skin burns like mad! I know i should not be using harsh cleanser with differin but im not comfortable using a gentle cleanser at night... Perhaps i should not use clarisonic too but i dont feel my skin is clean without a strong cleanser plus clarisonic! So whenever it starts burning real bad, i skip using differin a few days and resume when my skin no longer burns upon washing (my skin dosent burn in the am with my gentle cleanser..). Im receiving microdermabrasion treatment every forthnightly as well so was advised to stop differin a few days before and after the treatment so ive been on n off on differin but still, it gives me great results! Perhaps since im going on n off on differin, i dun get all the bad reactions too.. My derm says its perfectly fine to go on n off like this till my skin get used to it without burning so im just gonna do tat! i realised my skin is less oily, pores looks a bit smaller, skin looks smoother (lesser bumps) overall with no bad side effects except the burning. Very happy with this!!

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