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Treatments (Face) - Differin Gel

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rated 2 of 5 on 10/21/2011 1:57:00 AM More reviews by marshallmaniac

Age: 30-35 Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Green

*UPDATE 30 Jan 2012* I scrapped Differin at the end of December. Unfortunately, after about 5 months of being on the stuff, I just didn't see enough of an improvement to warrant continuing. I continued to break out though all other side effects - redness, dryness, itching, etc. all went away. Shame. Gonna give Skinoren a whirl now...

Okay, so first let me say that I will be returning in the next couple of weeks to a month to edit my review as I have not yet hit my target number of weeks of being on this medicine. Could be that plenty changes from now till then, but I wanted to write a partial review as normally I just troll this site reading what others have written (thanks to everyone for their input).


I've been on Differin now for just about 10 weeks. I picked it up prescription free from a pharmacy while on a trip to the Emirates a few months ago. I was looking for Skinoren (which I bought two tubes of) and the pharmacist recommended Differin instead.


While I've been on Differin, I have not been using any other acne treatments topically nor systemically. I use a Vichy facial cleanser for all skin types and I moisturize with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (the kind that comes in a big tub). I tried Dr. Haushka's rose light moisturizer, but it left my skin seriously tight and burned like hell. In all fairness though, since starting Differin, even touching my face causes it to burn.

I have moderate acne. Had great skin for years (I'm 30 now) and for whatever reason the last few years my skin has turned to crap - constantly breaking out with whiteheads, pustules, papules, a few blackheads here and there and cysts. Most of this stuff pops up on my chin with a few scattered on my cheeks and hairline. In the past I've tried the typical stuff - BP, topical anti bacterial stuff, etc. I also tried accutane for 1.5 months, but got off because I got bad side effects - blurry vision (which lasted till almost a year later), horrible headaches, body pain, etc. Within the 1.5 months I was on it though, it did a great job. Cleared me right up and my skin somehow was even radiant, but this was short lived. Within a few months, the acne started coming back.


So, back to the Differin. I started a little over 9 weeks ago and within the first week of use, I noticed my break outs were getting worse. My skin was also extremely dry and peeling (which lasted for a good 6-8 weeks, but now it only peels around the nose crevices, corners of my mouth and around the acne lesions - dab some Cetaphil on and I'm good to go) and very sensitive to the touch. Also, the first few weeks, even though this stuff dried my skin out big time, when I'd wake up, my skin was like an oil slick. I know that makes next to no sense, but it would be so shiny and greasy - very weird for someone with otherwise normal to dry skin. Anyway, the breakouts continued to get worse and frankly, quite horrible (so many at once, red and painful and even in places where I didn't get pimples before like my forehead - albeit, I've only gotten 2-3 there).


Oh yeah, I should say that I apply Differin - gel .01%- once per day, in the evening. I don't apply a moisturizer before or after. I only use moisturizer in the mornings. I apply what I think is a thin layer - I don't understand how people can spread a pea-sized amount over their entire face. I dot a small pea sized amount on each cheek, my forehead and chin - 4 'small peas' in total. I also don't wear any make up.


It seems as though just this week my skin MAY be starting to improve. I haven't noticed any new break outs and the stuff that was existing seems to be on its way out. Thing is, I've just started my period which for me means the week before I'm likely to start breaking out (in other words, maybe my skin is normalizing on its own again and perhaps it's not the Differin), so I want to give it another month, till my next period, to see how my skin reacts then.


Differin does a really good job of clearing pimples away. They come to a 'head' faster, pop faster (yup, I give them some encouragement), and disappear quickly. Also, the super hard ones - I think that are called blackheads - start coming out much easier too. In the past week, I've also noticed my skin generally looking more radiant. I hate to use silly words like that, but that's precisely how it is. I'm getting the same 'glow' that I did while I was on Accutane. Overall, my skin's texture is smooth (obviously I'm not talking about the bits with acne) and a lovely even color and just has a nice...glow to it. Granted, all of this just happened within the last week, so it could be fluke. I'm going to stick it out at least until I reach the 12 weeks mark (7 Nov - I keep close track of exactly how long I've been on this stuff) and likely until the end of November so I can see how my skin reacts during another period.


Some folks say they didn't start seeing results till the 6 month mark. I don't have the heart to keep at it for that long and I'm surprised at myself for sticking with it as long as I have. My 'initial breakout' lasted, um, until this week (perhaps longer depending on how the next weeks go). And let me tell you, it SUCKS. It is no exaggeration to say that each day I woke up with more and more acne and just washing my face became painful (due to wiping my hands over the acne). And this stuff was angry looking. It's really hard to be 30 and have this kind of skin.


The thing is, I'm really hoping the folks who've written reviews and told everyone who's trying Differin not to give up are right. Anyway, if this week turns out just to be a fluke after all, and if there's no continued/obvious improvement by week 12 or end Nov, then I'm likely going to bail. Differin really does do a good job of smoothing out the skin - no more under the skin bumps (which, in my case, all turned into either blackheads or nasty pustules) and the healing rate of my acne is much faster, but I want a CLEAR F

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rated 5 of 5 on 10/6/2011 9:55:00 AM More reviews by tightkitty

Age: 25-29 Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Grey

My HG acne treatment!!
AT FIRST-Prior to using this product,I've struggled with acne since I was about 12. My skin would fluctuate greatly from a few random pimples to cystic ruptures that would scar my face. My skin had always made me self conscious and I always cursed my friends with perfect skin, because they never knew the continuous struggle people with acne face.
When I entered my early 20ís my skin went from unpredictable to my cheeks covered with persistent medium-sized pimples that would never come to a head and large, painful cystic pimples mainly cluttering all around my cheeks. Some pimples were sticking out and some were deep cysts underneath that would take weeks to months to finally go away and most times leaving me with dark marks or hyperpigmentation that took months to fade. This was the worst my skin had ever been. But, how could that be? Iím not a teenager anymore but at this point I have tried everything OTC including some persriptions,retin-a,benzamycin,sulfur wash to name a few..even I had already tried Differin but this time I followed directions lol I was 14 and I was applying WAY to much back then and becameto irritated to continue..

03/11-My derm prescribed this product as part of an anti-acne regimen: Differin cream .1 + oral antibiotic(doxy or mono) or one that you can handle, topical antibiotic (she gave me clindamycin lotion to offset the dryness that may occur), Cetaphil cleanser, and olay sensitive skin sp 15). She also wanted to put me on b-control but that's not an option for me since I tried that before and my blood pressure rose to levels that could give me a stroke but anyway--- To be completely and utterly honest, the first two weeks were a little rough. Initially, this product did dry out my face and it became more sensitive to skin care products. But since I have oily skin it kind of made it NORMAL from drying it out a little.Adapalene (Differin) has been shown not to break down in sunlight like other Retinoids. Adapalene is actually a synthetic version of Vitamin A. It can make you photosensitive and the sun be sure to use a gentle sunscreen!!! I did get some dryness and flaking and a little discomfort. My skin felt, flaky, tight, irritated, felt raw,and at sometimes felt like I had slight windburn. But all the meanwhile my skin was steadily improving!!! Make sure you do not get this anywhere near or under your eyes btw.Like many of the other reviewers, I did suffer an "initial breakout" of sorts but if you take an oral antibiotic with it,it minimizes with your purging process . Some will purge more then others depending on how many pimples you have under the surface that did not come out yet. My derm also recommended if the purging becomes to much or to painful to use a PEA size every OTHER night,a few nights I did do that but for the most part I would still apply but do what works for you. Sometimes I would wake up and my face would be an absolute oil-slick overnight. I'd wake up in the morning and my face would be completely covered in oil, That has since stopped. I don't know if that was part of the purging process of oil and impurities or what but still my face was steadily improving!! I could quickly see a change in the way the pimples that were forming. During my purging process I got small pimples that quickly went away ,that was already a big difference since I was used to getting huge painful cysts!!!! just small pimples that go away quickly sometimes even over night if I apply to my face and then apply and a good dab on that pimple as a spot treatment as well. I find that differin clears up my acne without giving me down time or looking a mess..I only went through a short time of discomfort and it was so worth it. I love when I get little flakies and new baby skin is waiting for me!! There are no instant results. But with any Retinoid product you have to have patience. It clears the gunk out of your pores, revealing fresher skin and helps with cell turnover. I haven't had any major problems with more breakouts I still do get an occasional stress or hormonal pimple. My skin texture and tone were improving and many of my acne scars were beginning to fade very happy.

10/06/11-Now my skin is clearer than it was back then, I still get an occasional pimple due to stress and hormones. I still have a few old marks from past volcanic pimples that are fading from YEARS of eruptions. My skin's now also really soft and smooth, which was never the case on other topical treatments. I no longer use the oral and topical antibiotics, I only prescription medication I use is the Differin and it has been a godsend for me!! I have since bumped up from the .1 lotion, I now I alternate the .1 gel with the .3 gel nightly and love it. But if you never took Differen I would suggest starting with the .1 lotion and take it slow since the .1 gel seems stronger. Some days I'm even brave enough to go without foundation before I had to cake it on.

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rated 3 of 5 on 10/4/2011 9:06:00 AM More reviews by LianneN

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine Eyes: Blue

I used to use Tretinoin gel (0.01% and 0.025%) for over a year, it made me purge like crazy for about 3 months. Thereafter I had skin clear of spots but it never stopped making me peel and sensitive. I have been using differin for over 2 months and I like it sooooo much better! I wished that it had the same anti aging effect as tretinoin though. My skin is no longer so flakey. I don't think its doing as good a job at keeping my skin clear but it still works. I can leave this on all night without any issea, tretinoin I could only do short contact therapy for about 10mins.

I will use this and hope one day my skin can tolerate tretinoin!

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 8/20/2011 5:54:00 PM More reviews by specialribbons

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I was given this a long time ago by the derm when I was about 12, when my acne problem first started. I was turned off by the amount of patience that was supposedly needed to use this project. Fast forward, I'm 16 and still suffering from acne. About a month ago, I went back to the derm and was given this product once again. This time, I used it as intended. I'm more patient now. But actually, patience wasn't so necessary this time around. My skin is already clearer than it has ever been before, and I didn't even have to suffer a "purging" period.

But now, I still have to do something about this pesky hyperpigmentation. Grrr.

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rated 4 of 5 on 8/3/2011 7:17:00 PM More reviews by missrr

Age: Unknown Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I have used Differin 0.1% gel cream for almost 4 years. My skin is oily, acne-prone, huge pores, occasional cystic acne, etc.

In the beginning, my skin was very sensitive. Initial breakout was bad, after months I noticed a difference. Differin would get rid of acne within the week, faster than just using my salicylic acid cleanser.

Skin is very sensitive to sun, must wear SPF. Differin does dry out my skin, moisturizer is key (I use pond's). I use Cetaphil cleanser since it is from the same company as Differin. *note: you should not use a salicylic acid cleanser as stated w/the product, benzoyle peroxide is okay*

My skin is clearer than it was back then, I still get some acne due to stress, hormones, lazy days. I still have bumps on forehead, sides of cheeks, w/occasional cystic acne. I find that differin clears up my stress,hormonal acne. Keeps it in control.

1 tube lasts almost 5 mon. - year. Skin texture is smoother. Acne scars lighten up within the month.

Still sticking to Differin, just trying out different cleansers to see if skin will be 100% clear.

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rated 4 of 5 on 7/16/2011 12:38:00 AM More reviews by sienna987

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

i'm 15 years old with SLIGHTLY oily skin but i'm still very prone to breakouts.
HISTORY: I have many acne scars between my eyebrows and on my cheeks. So this comes out as your typical odorless and translucent gel and you take your Q tip and apply it to the places where your HIGHLY and SLIGHTLY prone to break outs and when I woke up the next day I saw that a few of my acne cleared up and my acne scars faded a little more. After a week or two my acne got worse (of course) since it brings all the impurities to the surface. Right now i'm on my first month of using differin and this product claims that results will be shown in 8-12 weeks. So i don't have much say in this but yes I did see a difference, the acne i had the first 2 weeks are much smaller and my pores aren't as large and my acne scars aren't as pigmented as before and it also helped clear up redness!
I'll admit , it made ONE of the sides of my nose dry and swell (nothing serious), because i applied WAY TOO much on that area so USE THIS SPARINGLY , a little goes a long way. I only use this medication at night in conjunction with my prescribed cleanser which my doctor prescribed that helps with acne because it kills bacteria (if interested in knowing what it is msg me) and my shiseido pureness toner. In the morning I use the same cleanser, toner, then i use a BHA aka salicylic acid (neutrogena 3 in 1 stress control lotion) and i finish off with my shiseido ultra sun protection SPF 55.
Note. if you're thinking about using Differin, WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY rain or shine. this medication will make your skin more prone to sun damage such as cancer and pre-mature aging

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rated 4 of 5 on 7/10/2011 3:28:00 AM More reviews by ayoitsanna

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Oily, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

i've always suffered acne ): but fortunately my dermatologist came to the rescue :D and i am so glad she did. i don't use this alone. i use clindamycin phosphate topical gel along with it too. ive used clindamycin before. but it didnt work as good with my differin gel. i have to say, the differin gel over the first month made my acne worse. like real bad. i wanted to give up on it already, but my dermatologist mentioned you will get most of your acne out of all three layers of the skin first. i waited patiently, and after three long months, my skin is the best it could ever be (: i just need to treat my scars and oily skin "/ but im just happy my acne is as never as bad as before. i get a pimple here or there, but i am happy with my results. im just about to start high school too. i am so happy i went to my dermatologist. i totally recommend this to anyone with cystic acne.

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rated 4 of 5 on 6/22/2011 9:00:00 PM More reviews by betteefelon

Age: 30-35 Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine Eyes: Hazel

I've been on the generic version of Differin (adapalene) for several years now. It really works for me. This will not clear up underlying hormonal acne, and it won't work overnight. It's a long-term treatment that will reduce surface-y breakouts. My skin can be sensitive, but I don't think I even experienced any signficant dryness when I started using this stuff. In fact, I think it makes my skin a little more dewy. Although I've read that this stuff is fine to use during the day (it's a synthetic retinoid -- natural retinoids like Retin-A can be changed in a dangerous way in the sunlight), I wear it at night only, after washing my face before bed. It does feel a bit gooey (doesn't sink in all the way), but I notice a difference when I wear it (glowy-er, healthier-looking skin) so I do it. I don't even need to put a moisturizer over it -- that would be waaaaay too much goo for me, but I know that is a matter of personal preference/needs. During the day I make sure to use at least SPF 15 (usually SPF 30), and I am all set. It's not a cureall, but I think it makes a difference. ALSO: Although it isn't marketed as an anti-aging product, I think years of cumulative use have slowed down my wrinkles a little (knock on wood!!) -- I'm 31 and I don't have crows feet or anything like that. Score!

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rated 5 of 5 on 6/20/2011 2:45:00 PM More reviews by raroux

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

If your dermatologist will prescribe this, it is definitely worth it if you can get your hands on it. I'll admit that I don't use my Differin every night because I forget to, but when I do remember to use it at night, I wake up and my skin is completely changed. My pores seem smaller, there is MUCH less redness to my skin, there seems to be less blackheads, and it clears up any pimples I had the night before. It really is a miracle worker for me. I have acne scars from when my acne was really bad, and Differin helps lighten them, and even out my skin texture. Overall, it's an amazing product and I can't think of any cons with it.

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rated 5 of 5 on 4/18/2011 10:31:00 AM More reviews by greenyshell

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

You all know what could be worse than having a really BAD skin for almost your entire teenager life? well i'm one of those unfortunate ones. Acne became part of my life ever since i started to get my first period. My face continuously grew some pimples mainly on my problematic cheek area and around my forehead. After years of struggling and desperation, i came to a GP and was prescribed a differin gel as well as a mynocycline tablet (which i have to consume twice a day after meal). At first i was being skeptical but since i tried many product without significant result, i was desperately thought that this is gonna be my last option and why not just give it a try. After a month, voilaaa my skin looks 95% better than before. It dried up my skin alot but hey you sure know why they invented moisturizer right? so that won't be a big problem. Differin gel and mynocycline tablets are both really saved my life. I have been using these since 2009 already. Now, i dont really use them regularly since my skin looks so crystal clear now. Note that you need to get a GP prescription to get this gel. it's definitely worth it!!! =)

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