Differin is a line of over-the-counter anti-acne skin care owned by Galderma Laboratories. It was introduced in 1996 but was only available by prescription. Then in 2016 the FDA approved a 0.1% gel solution for OTC use. The main anti-acne ingredient found in Differin products is called adapalene, a topical retinoid.

image 0image 1image 2image 3image 4image 5


7 products

427 reviews

79% would repurchase

Recent DIFFERIN Reviews

Treatments (Face) -DIFFERIN -Acne Treatment Gel


If you suffer from hormonal acne, try this if nothing has worked before going to the big guns. Based on what I’ve researched from infinite resources most acne is hormonal but I’m no scientist so I’ll refrain from stating that as canon. I’m a hound when it comes to information, I like to see both and all sides and the whole shebang before I try or give an opinion. After growing frustrated with what I was realizing was a persistent case of acne on my jaw and the resulting hyperpigmentation from their healing, I decided to try this. I considered just going straight to tretinoin from alldaychemist but I believe in a progressive way to testing things. I had started with all sorts of OTC retinol before getting this with the goal of advancing to a low grade tretinoin and sticking with it for years until slowly upgrading to the mid level and stopping there. This method has helped me immensely and so has this product. I started using it in January of this year, had a small purge the second week of using it and it was gone within two weeks. Since that little purge I haven’t gotten a single pimple during my periods. Not one. I’ve been using a pea sized amount 3x a week every week for the last four months. Or three? I think three.

My forehead wrinkles have also been greatly reduced. So have my laugh lines and trust me I had very pronounced ones. My teeth are my best feature and I’m a good so I laugh often. That results in my having some very pronounced nasolabial folds that make my cheeks look like chipmunk cheeks since I still have a full baby fat face. They’re nearly gone. Now I just look like a chubby cheeked human with baby butt skin. To me baby butt skin is the definition of perfect skin and this thing gave it to me. Mind you I still have slight “freckles” but they’re more like small raised moles, called “dermatosis papulosa nigra”. They’re indeed a hybrid of moles and freckles and quite common in people with a black or African ancestor that had them. Not all black folks, mixed or nay, have them much like not all Asians have slick straight hair. However they too have been minimized to a nearly invisible degree. Now they look like tiny freckles as opposed to slightly larger rounded dots. I’m still not done with my first tube mind you. I bought the big one. But once I finish it I will proceed to the tretinoin.

All I have to say is that despite its stance as a deviation of retinols, it is potent and a very well crafted product. It gets it done and it does FAST. You just have to brave that purge. I can understand why some many people would be horrified by it, since I hated when I’d get my monthly attack of pimples and though they would heal fast I loathed the spots. I grew up having the most clear, well mannered skin until I started experimenting with makeup and having bad lifestyle habits. To me it was like falling into an ocean of ice cold water when my periods brought acne on with a vengeance. However I decided to own up to it and fix it and let me tell you, this fixed it. I use this and the sunscreen frequently. Mind you my nose blackheads refuse to go away but they have minimized to the point that even I with my 20/05 vision (what my doctor calls eagle eye vision) can barely see them from even up close. And before I could see them from afar. Highly recommend as an acne treatment AND as a transition to the higher levels of retinol. Do be prepared with hydrating gels and creams because it can dry your skin or make it flake sometimes.

Moisturizers -DIFFERIN -Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

on 2/27/2019 3:12:00 AM


PROS: Sheer (no white cast), Soaks in, Doesn't seem to break me out, Mild/low scent, Great pump dispenser, Reasonably priced, Doesn't create fumes that hurt my sensitive eyes (though it did migrate and burn a bit), Actually does mattify on me! (but it takes 30-60 min)

CONS: Migrated into my eyes and burned, Sunscreen active percentages aren't listed on website/marketing materials.

FULL REVIEW: I've been looking for a chemical sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF to replace Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen lotion for years. Both the SPF 30 and 50 versions of that product break me out in closed comedones. I mostly use mineral sunscreens, but am often in need of a chemical SPF because they are more sheer, thus faster/ easier to use (no white cast to cover up).

This is marketed as a moisturizer with broad spectrum protection. According to Beutypedia, the former version of this product (named Differin Oil Control Moisturizer Broad Spectrum) is similar in formula to Cetaphil Derma Control Oil Control Moisturizer (confusedly, also now renamed Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30/possibly reformulated). Of Differin's product, Beautypedia wrote "Differin Oil Control Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has a fluid lotion texture that feels lightly hydrating. It blends imperceptibly into skin and dries down to a natural finish, all the while treating skin to reliable broad-spectrum sun protection. Formula-wise, Differin included a couple proven soothing ingredients to target redness—although it's impossible to know how potent they are considering the ingredients are listed alphabetically" (To be clear, that was a review of the former version before it was renamed- it's unclear if it has also been reformulated).

I was trying to decide between both "new" products from Cetaphil and Differin. Since this was priced lower on Prime ($10), I thought I'd give it a shot.

So far it's promising. It leaves no white caste on my skin at all (compared to Neutrogena Clear Face, which leaves a slight white cast that is easily blended in, but leaves white marks on my collar). Differin claims this has "Micropearl technology" that "absorbs surface oil for a matte finish." It did soak in, and wasn't super greasy, but it was shiny on application and I thought this didn't work the first time I used it. Like most moisturizers/chemical spfs, I thought I still needed a dusting of translucent powder...but not a ton of color correcting powder like I do with mineral sunscreens. The second time I tried it I only used powder on my t-zone and noticed that the shiny look was gone even from the areas I didn't powder after an hour. The third time I I didn't use any powder at all. In 30 to 60 minutes the shine was gone and I was left with a dewy matte finish. Only my nose was a tiny bit shiny, so
I'm pleased that I only need a dusting of powder there.

I really like the dispenser-- it's a precise pump that keeps the lotion from gushing out. I also like that it's barely scented.

The first time I wore it, I accidentally fell asleep with it on that night (w/ powder/blush). I wash my face until after noon the next day, so it was left on over 24 hours . I was expecting it to wreak havoc, but nothing bad happened.

I have sensitive eyes usually use a separate mineral sunscreen on my eyelids and undereyes for years now. Every chemical SPF product has stung my eyes in the past, some even WITH keeping the lotion far, far away from my eyes. The first time I wore this I kept mineral sunscreen around my eyes. I didn't have any issues with fumes from this sunscreen in proximity to them. The second time I wore it, I put it on my eyelids and my under eyes as well as my face. This did not produce fumes or burning when applied. However I noticed an hour later, it did migrate a little into my eye and it burned (my eye was weepy for hours). So, unlike a lot of chemical based SPFs, I would feel 'ok' using this all over, if I were in a rush. Otherwise, I'll stick to mineral sunscreen on my eyelids/under eyes, to avoid the possibility of migration.

One thing I didn't like was how the sunscreen actives percentages weren't listed on their marketing materials/ online product info, so consumers can make an informed decision before purchasing online. I asked, and the company replied that the actives are listed on the bottles/packaging (in tiny lettering) as such: Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7%.

(The FDA website claims "All products that claim to provide Broad Spectrum SPF protection are regulated as sunscreen drug products. Therefore, the regulations FDA has developed for OTC sunscreen drug products apply to cosmetics and moisturizers labeled with SPF values")

The Ingredients from Differin website:
Water, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, allantoin, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, caprylyl glycol, carbomer, diisopropyl sebacate, dimethicone, dimethiconol, disodium EDTA, glycerin, glycyrrhetinic acid, hydoxypalmitoyl sphinganine, isopropyl lauroyl sarcosinate, panthenol, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, polymethyl methacrylate, polysorbate 61, potassium sorbate, silica, sodium stearoyl glutamate, sucrose tristearate, tocopheryl acetate, triethanolamine, xanthan gum, zinc gluconate.

Neutrogena.cim Clear Face SPF 30 ingredients:
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.5%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 3%, Oxybenzone 4%
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Silica, Cetyl Dimethicone, Styrene/acrylates Copolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Steareth-100, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Dimethicone, Steareth-2, Polyester-7, Chlorphenesin, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Bisabolol, Disodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/dimethicone Copolymer, Diethylhexyl 2,6-naphthalate, Mannan, Xanthan Gum, BHT, Capryloyl Glycine, Trideceth-6, Sarcosine, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Portulaca Oleracea

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Moisturizers -DIFFERIN -Soothing Moisturizer

on 11/27/2018 6:50:00 AM


This is a very moisturizing, medium consistency, fragrance-free white lotion that comes in a nice pump bottle that is easy to use. It used to be called "Balancing Moisturizer." It has no SPF; it is designed just to moisturize. It definitely is "soothing" which my skin often needs in winter as I use the strongest Rx tret gel available as well as intermittent BP. It sinks it quickly and leaves my skin feeling very well moisturized and a little plumped w/o any high shine or oily/greasy feel. I wouldn't call it matte, though. I usually cannot use oils and this contains avocado oil, but this has not caused any problem whatsoever.

For reference, I have oily/dehydrated/sensitive skin w/ both rosacea and acne that is usually pretty well controlled w/ Rx tret gel. It is very hard for me to find a moisturizer that does not clog me, and this is one that does not. Being FF is another huge plus, as so many fragrances cause me problems. Differin describes this as being pH balanced. While it's been great so far in dry winter, it might be too rich for me in humid summer, but in humid hot weather I typically don't use or need any moisturizer. It's definitely richer than LRP Toleriane Fluide, another of my faves. I've been using it day and night, not every day.
I tend to use the LRP Fluide except when my skin is looking dehydrated or flaky, and that's when I use this. The ings are:

Water, glycerin, hydrogenated polyisobutene, ceteareth-20, cetearyl alcohol, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), dimethicone, panthenol (vitamin B5), citric acid, sodium levulinate, caprylyl glycol, benzyl alcohol, stearoxytrimethylsilane, stearyl alcohol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium anisate

Normally, hydrogenated polyisobutene and avocado oil would not have impressed me as appropriate for my skin, and my face tends to hate all oils, but for some reason this works. Overall, an excellent moisturizer for acneic, oily skin that is dried and irritated from acne txs or just dry air.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Treatments (Face) -DIFFERIN -Cream

on 10/27/2018 8:16:00 AM


I have recently come off more than 20 years of hormonal therapy and of course, I get hit by a ton of deep cysts around my jawline and forehead. I live in Japan, but we also have access to this cream with a prescription. I can tell you that as soon as I applied it as a spot treatment at night, the next morning all my zits had somehow flattened and were hurting as much. Within a month, they’ve started receding. The nasty whiteheads that kept popping up here and there are completely gone, and even around the time of my period, I hardly ever get any breakouts. This is a little miracle worker for me. Even though my skin has cleared now, I continue to use it and I am hoping to switch to Tretinoin at some point. If it’s not prescribed in Japan, I will go to Europe and see a dermatologist there. I think Vitamin A is one of the few things for which there’s actually scientific AND personal evidence that it works for my skin.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Moisturizers -DIFFERIN -Balancing Moisturizer

This lotion was recommended to me as someone using the Differin .5% adapalene acne treatment gel, which can be very drying. Needless to say, I am using this gel because I have acne-prone oily skin. This lotion has lots of great ingredients (avocado oil, Vitamin B5) and provides an easier skin surface on which to apply the Differin gel (we all know that can be a bit of a pain). It does not absorb super well, however, and it feels both slightly greasy and not quite moisturizing enough, if that's possible. My main issue is that I've discovered I am not reacting well to the tocopheryl acetate (lab-created vitamin E) in this product, and it is causing my skin experience slight burning and redness upon application. Some people cannot tolerate tocopheryl acetate well, and I am one of the lucky few. If I were not sensitive to the vitamin E, I would continue using this product until it ran out but would not likely purchase it again due to the unpleasant texture. However, if you are using Differin gel, this lotion is under $10 and a little goes a long way, so it's not a large risk to try it out.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Popular DIFFERIN Products

124 Reviews

Back to Top