Differin Acne Treatment Gel

Filtered by skin type : Acne-prone
 Differin Acne Treatment Gel

3.9

84 reviews

82% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

INGREDIENTS

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

Where to Buy



Start your review


Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Sorry guys, I'm here to crash the Differin party. Using this stuff was a nightmare for me. Is this product designed to trick people into thinking their skin is worse than it is so they keep using it?! I tried it on 3 different occasions, stuck with it for months, but alas the only difference I saw in my skin was negative -- redness, irritation, peeling, bumps on my forehead, big cystic pimples that scarred my face, and a horrible "orange peel" texture when I would try to put on my makeup. Some of these can be considered normal side effects of using a retinoid and I told myself for a while it was normal, but ultimately once I stopped using Differin for a week my skin was calm, happy, healthy, and 90% of the acne I thought was hormonal was gone. If you want to give Differin a shot it might work for you, but be careful and pay attention to your skin. If you continuously break out in areas where you normally don't, you are NOT purging and you should stop use immediately.

7 of 12 people found this helpful.



on 11/8/2017 5:44:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

i have been using 0.1 gel for 11days/still on week 2. no changes or improvement or break out yet. pores are still very clogged. im waiting for the purge to start. i was hoping it would start sooner because im not going anywhere this week. but sadly it dint start yet. i was starting to suspect adapalene dont work for me, because i didnt experience any dryness or flaking of skin.
i use it a few times few months ago with only a few applications and stop. it did burned a few spot that time and give me new whiteheads along my jaw. But this time round nothing happen at all i find it strange.
will continue to use it to see if it do anything and update here.

UPDATE: im on mid third week. more clogged pores. 2-3 clogged pores become inflamed and become a no head pimples. maybe this is the purging phase?

UPDATE: 4weeks, i have stop using it. it has no effect on me beside making my skin very oily. it dint get worse or any better. if it get worse i would assume its the purge phase but theres none.


Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Here comes a little update... last time I wrote that I freakin love this product but unfortunately dont anymore. At first it removed all of my pimples and I was so happy to have found a product like that but a few months after using it it just stopped working. I didn't change any skincare or makeup products. Hate this atm...


on 12/27/2012 8:38:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

Since I was 12/13 I've had acne. Usually a cyst, a nodule or two, and whiteheads primarily. Through out middle school and high school I tried everything: Neutrogena (I used to love one of their spot treatments until it stopped working), Clearasil, Pro-Active (destroyed my skin!), Murad...I think you see what I'm getting at here. I'd start to get clear, maybe only have a pimple or two, before breaking out again.

During my spring semester of my first year of college my skin became terrible. 3-4 cysts and nodules with a few whiteheads at once, but mostly big and painful pimples. In July I finally went to the dermatologist and she prescribed me Differin 0.1% gel and Doxycycline. She told me to be prepared for things to get bad before they got better. For me, it never got better.

I think it took a few days before I started breaking out. Along with the first break outs came extreme dryness and flaking. I normally have oily skin, so having my skin completely dry out and itch scared me, but I stuck with it. Eventually the dryness did go away and I wasn't as oily anymore. Also Differin made my skin very sensitive to other products, even causing some products to burn which I'd NEVER experienced before.

I broke out everywhere on my face. Through the almost 4 months I used Differin, I don't think one part of my face DIDN'T get a pimple. What's worst is they were almost all nodules and cysts. Before I primarily broke out on my chin and a little on my jaw and t-zone, but now I was breaking out in places I'd never gotten even a whitehead before! I had at least 15 active pimples at once!

In December I went back to my derm, I think I had around 15-20 pimples at the time, and she switched me to Epiduo at night and Aczone during the day- let's hope these work out! Obviously Differin has worked for some people- I was sadly not one of them.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.


Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I used this in conjunction with minocycline and I have to say it did NOTHING! It just made my skin irritated, sore and oily but it did make it smooth so it gets one lippie for that.


on 7/23/2008 12:41:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Used the 0.1%. Wish this had worked for me since it costs me $130 something! It initially cleared up much of my acne during the first two weeks and then it went downhill. I figured it was the purging stage but after two months, I just got more whiteheads instead, especially around my jawline and my right cheek, and they'll just stick around. Others mention Differin did well for spot treatment but it didn't for me either. Btw, I never flaked or had any irritation associated with it -- I guess it's just not for my skin. Currently using Tretinoin (Retin-A generic) .025 and the whiteheads are decreasing. So I think that if Differin doesn't help by the 2nd month, you should switch out to a different retinoid.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


on 9/16/2007 5:19:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I was prescribed Differin by my derm to clear some mild, non-inflamed acne (and occasional inflamed chin pimples). It made my skin 10x worse within the first two weeks. It gave me inflamed red bumps all over my chin, which never went away for the entire 2 months I was using Differin. I didn't start to improve until I went off Differin and started going to an esthetician who specializes in treating acne. I hated this stuff!!!!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


on 8/4/2016 1:54:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I've used this product intermittently for years. I have combo skin, acne prone. My doctor prescribed this for me because I had no success with antibiotics (oral/topics), OCP, benzyl peroxide (limited success) or glycolic acid/AHA/BHA et etc.

It's expensive, more than $50 a tube.

To be completely honest, I haven't noticed it changing the appearance of my pores. It's hard to say with the quality my skin because I always wear a ridiculous amount of sunscreen anyway and since my teens I have been using high end skin products as a preventative measure. I'm also not entirely sure it helps with my acne, but it's something I use because I get desperate when nothing works.

I have restarted taking this again because currently my acne has become completely intractable.

I'm on the fence on whether to repurchase this or not. It's another tool for me before considering Roaccutane. Anyway, I suppose this might help you, and it might be worthwhile testing out. I just wish I could give a more definitive answer.


on 5/29/2014 9:15:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

I'm glad this helps some people, but it didn't work at all for me. I had a massive, continuous breakout after taking Plan B (so, hormonal acne) and this didn't do anything but make my skin redder, itchier, drier, and flakier, on top of cysts that continued to erupt. I will acknowledge that this made my skin go from 4~5 new pimples a day to maybe 1~2. But, still, the flakiness made my face look even worse than it'd looked before. I pushed through for two whole months before realizing that my whole face constantly looked like it'd been burned, there would be clumps of dead skin hanging off my face by noon, and it just wasn't worth it anymore.

I now follow a more natural skincare/acne-care routine, which has drastically reduced my hormonal acne. I never put chemicals on my face anymore, partly because of my experience with this gel. For THREE WEEKS after I stopped using it COMPLETELY, the itchiness/dryness/flakiness/all-around irritatedness did not go away, and I started flaking on my chest and arms as well. This really scared me, because it was obvious that the Differin had really, really affected my whole body, not just my skin. I guess it's true what they say to be careful what you put on your skin, it really does get absorbed into your bloodstream.


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

8 of 8 people found this helpful.


Back to Top