Differin Acne Treatment Gel

Filtered by skin type : Combination
 Differin Acne Treatment Gel

3.9

61 reviews

75% 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

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Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Differin is a wild ride for sure. I used it when it was prescription many years ago, and at that time I had no real skincare routine other than washing my face to speak of, and on top of that I had no idea what the side effects were. It was a terrible experience, but it did clear my acne (in addition to drying my face out so badly that my skin occasionally cracked and bled.) I have continued to struggle with acne, and I am pretty much done with that BS now that I am in my 30s. Once I heard that Differin was becoming an OTC treatment I debated whether or not I'd give it another try since things that had previously been working well for me weren't anymore. I finally bought a small tube about three months ago and did a lot of research on how to prevent the nasty peeling and cracking while still getting an anti-acne benefit from this product. I learned through MUA and other avenues that buffering the gel by using something else underneath it helps to ease the irritation, especially on sensitive skin. I've also been piling on loads of additional moisture and using the gel on alternating nights up to about four times a week. It does still make my skin a little dry and peely, but nowhere nearly as bad as when I used it before. My acne still isn't 100% clear since I am neither using the product full strength directly on my skin and adding a ton of moisturizer/oil to help mitigate the intense dryness this causes, but I am definitely seeing an improvement in the texture of my skin, the appearance of deep pimples, and the healing time of existing pimples. It hasn't been a miracle, but again, I am not using it nearly as often as is recommended. The results are worth the time and the extra work, and I will continue using it this way until my acne has cleared sufficiently. Of course, your mileage may vary, but if you have sensitive skin and acne, I'd recommend this product if you do some research for buffering it and how to moisturize while still letting the product be effective.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.



on 10/27/2017 4:07:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I started using this product in February of this year, used it for three months before stopping (I got a bit lazy to be honest) and have recently started using it again. If I'm honest, I purchased this product because I wanted to diminish some fine lines around my mouth and eyes. I realize there isn't sufficient research out there to market this as a wrinkle treatment, and that Retin A is much more effective for this purpose, but I don't have insurance, and have mild rosacea. Given how mild adapalene is supposed to be, I thought I'd give it a shot. I get a few hormonal pimples around my period but lately, I have also broken out terribly under my jaw line. Since I am prone to hyper pigmentation, the result of these breakouts are ugly, purple brown scars down one side of my jaw/neck area. I started applying Differin to my face and upper neck and was impressed by the results. I have fewer breakouts (and the few I do get heal quickly), has lightened my hyper pigmentation (30-40% better) and the larger pores on and around my nose are definitely smaller. I have also noticed the fine lines around my mouth are also much less noticeable. It hasn't done anything for the lines forming near my eyes, but then again, I haven't used this around my eyes since your aren't supposed to, oh well! It definitely works slowly, but it does work. I did experience some initial purging in February, but now that my skin is used to it, It seems as if I can stop and restart treatment without purging. It definitely made my skin flakey the first time around but it did not cause any additional redness or discomfort.

The way I use this is to apply a VERY small amount (pea sized) onto my ring finger and dab onto my cheeks, forehead, chin and nose before bed every other night. I then apply an even smaller amount to my jaw/neck area. It's a bit difficult to spread at first, but since I follow up with a very emollient moisturizer afterwards (DE Lala whipped) I'm confident the product is being evenly distributed. Lastly, since retinoids make your skin especially sensitive to the sun, be sure to use and reapply sunscreen everyday! Seriously, though, don't use this product if you're going to skimp on the sunscreen you'll end up making things worse. (I like Elta MD UV Elements). I will try to remember to update my review in six months time, I hope by then with continued use and sun protection, I'll have gotten rid of any remaining (or at least 80%) hyper pigmentation! Wish me luck!

7 of 8 people found this helpful.


Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I was so excited to try this when it became over the counter. I try to buy it on sale or with a coupon which helps it to become reasonably priced for me. My skin had already been doing much better in the year prior to using differin but I do think this has helped clear the last 10% or so of my acne and helps to treat any pimples I get here and there. I use every other night and only experience dryness in the winter. I only wish this had a reputation for anti aging as well.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.


Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Other

Eyes: Green

I have sensitive, combination skin with mild but stubborn acne, in my 30s. I'm so glad this is now available without a prescription. It's changed my skin dramatically for the better. I no longer need to use benzoyl peroxide, which is effective but drying. I've tried tretinoin (Retinin A) but my skin is just too sensitive.

A few tips:
* It will take a few weeks to see a result. Skin cycle time is about 6 weeks, plan on it. I saw results in 3 weeks.
* Apply immediately after cleansing to be most effective, unless you are trying to reduce irritation, in which case apply after moisturisers.
* As this is a retinol, your skin may purge. I didn't, possibly because I switched directly from BP.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I purchased this because I wanted to see if this would work for me instead of using retin a. I will say this works very well and on my skin is quite gentle. I have been using this for months daily at bedtime and am very happy with the results. My skin is clear and smooth. But I do still get hormonal spots that I sometimes have to use my retin a on. Reason being the Differin gel works but it's not as strong as retin a so it takes longer for spots to go away. I had a cluster of underground spots and it took months with the differin gel to finally clear it. In the end I did use some retin a to finally get rid of the acne spots I had. So I rated this 5 lippies because if you don't mind waiting and putting in the effort in time this does work.

But if you are still dealing with spots for quite a long time I find the retin a works better. Now granted one is now otc while the other is by RX. So I find now that I use them both but not at the same time. I use differin gel daily while I'll spot treat with the retin a when I have a spot that's taking forever to heal. The Differin gel though is an excellent product no doubt about it as both me and my sig other loves it. I use it on his spots too but he only needs it as a spot treatment. For me it comes down to speed and convenience if you have the patience to use this for the long haul it will work. But if you want speed and rapid exfoliation the retin a is the route to go.

I will continue to use differin gel everyday and that is the key with this you must stick with it. I find it very gentle and it's a great daily acne treatment. So to me this does work as long as I use this daily without fail. Also I do not peel at all with this whereas with the other I peel and that's something I really dislike. So for me I prefer the Differin but if I want anti aging use plus acne treatment the retin a is better hands down. So if you're looking for an acne treatment my advice with this is to just stick with it. Give it at least 8 solid weeks or longer. It does work and it does work well. Plus being able to get this otc I think is excellent and a great product for me. Also the fact that it's so gentle makes it a great product for my sensitive skin. Recommended.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.


on 9/17/2017 2:16:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I can truly say I think I've finally found the cure to my acne after years of misery and embarrassment. ANYONE who feels like they have tried everything besides accutane (which i refused to use), please give this a try. Obviously, its not an overnight thing, give it a few weeks! My acne would be cystic and painful, and would always reside under my cheekbones, and contouring my face would always be the worst part of my make up routine. The way the directed use with this stuff is has cut my skincare regimen in half. I cut out any salicylic acids/harsh products and just let the adapalene do it's job. I haven't seen my skin this clear since I was in high school, it honestly puts me all up in my feels how much my skin has improved. My skin is almost 100%! This stuff has allowed me to be able to start the process of evening out dark spots and scarring. I am so thankful for this product, and I'm begging you guys to give it a try! <3
side note:
1. STOP PICKING YOUR FACE!!!!! The dramatic improvement I saw from this product made me leave my face alone. I used to pop and pop and pick and pick and my skin would look angry, and my acne would swell. Whenever I pick my face now, I instantly regret it because my skin looked great until I started messing with it!!
2. Use an SPF with this stuff, your skin gets a bit sensitive to UV. I've began using Bareminerals Bareskin spf 20 for some protection.
3. Definitely use before bed! I put this stuff on after a good gentle cleansing and my witch hazel toner. Retinoids, for me, have always been so much more effective as a before bed product.
4. Try to cut out harsh drying products! This stuff has trained me to not over do it (I used to be so guilty of this) I use dermalogica gentle calming cleanser, I also did buy Differin's cleansing wash as well. I seldom use benzoyl peroxide products, maybe for the occasional mask or spot treatment, but my skin is loving the adapalene, that's really all it needs now.
Good luck everyone, I hope this stuff works miracles on you too! xoxo

12 of 12 people found this helpful.


on 4/26/2017 2:47:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Please note, no reviews should be even considered if they use the gel less than 8 weeks. Results may even take slightly longer. There is a purge, READ the documents included in the differin package, and FOLLOW them. In 5 weeks I noticed smoother skin, smaller pores, less blackheads, less redness (it's also an antinflammatory). Who needs highlighter when your skin is smooth and glowing. Give it a shot, but only if you can commit to a purge and at least 8 weeks of nightly application.

12 of 14 people found this helpful.


Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I've started using Differin gel, not for acne but for age prevention/ tone correction. I've been a user of Retin A on and off since '08, and love it after the initial purging and peeling stage. Sadly I can no longer afford to go to my derm twice a year or pay for the RX. But I discovered that Differin is available OTC since last year, at $28 a pop. So I figured it was worth a shot to test out its efficacy for non acne issues. I have read that Differin is more photo stable than Retin A, so you are at less risk of sun damage (that being said, I will still be using sunscreen during the AM hours). I've been using it for about a week now. Far too soon to have yielded results, but I'll edit my review as I go. So far I'm liking it better than Retin A in the initial stage. I'm am starting to peel lightly, but not anything like the snakeskin molting that occurs when I'm starting out with the RA. I'm also not experiencing the blistering on my chin/side of mouth like I do with RA until I've built up a tolerance to it. I am starting to get pimples popping up that were under my skin, but that is the normal purging process of retinoids. My combination skin seems to agree more with the gel Differin that to the cream RA. I'm a recovering product junkie trying to embrace minimalism in my skin regime. My night time routine is as follows. I use a baking soda face wash from Biore, for light daily exfoliation. Afterwards I mist my face with pure rosewater and rub in organic rosehip seed oil. I then apply a pearl sized dab of Differin onto my whole face, then use CeraVe Pm facial lotion, as it really seems to soothe the inevitable irritation that comes with retinoid use. I know not to expect the same results that RA gives me, but my skin is in a good state right now, so I'm not in need of a serious overhaul, just general maintenance. We'll see if Differin fills that need. Stay tuned...
***Update 9/18/17
So I've been using this almost every night (sometimes I get lazy and skip my routine, just wash and slap my night cream on), but I'm pretty impressed! No, it's not the same as my Retin A, but my skin tolerates the Differin better. My skin is nearly poreless, and my glow is seriously no joke. The shallow wrinkles that go from my nose to my mouth have filled in almost completely. The skin under my eyes have plumped up, in a good way. The little comma by my right eyebrow remains the same, but should I want to fix that one, it would probably require a neddle and some bee toxin. No thanks. I did experience some purging and peeling, but nothing that wasn't alleviated by babying my skin (I'd be lost without CeraVe healing ointment!). All in all I'd have to say that if you want to experiment with a retinoid but can't get to a derm or afford the rx retin a to give this a shot. Its works a lot better than all the skin care retinols on the market. Recommend!

14 of 14 people found this helpful.


on 11/6/2016 4:50:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

People give up wayyyy too soon, with a retinoid like this you're unlikely to see any actual improvements till month 3, and the differin has likely yet finished improving your skin even then, so when I see people giving up 2 days in, or 9, I can't help but laugh, clearly this med isn't for you if that's how long you're willing to give it, unless you got actual contact dermatitis from using this there's absolutely no reason to stop or judge the med before month 4-5, you shouldn't even be leaving reviews as a few days isn't long enough to judge any skincare product ever.
An initial worsening of your acne is possible and even likely which is why it's often paired with a topical/oral antibiotic to get through the purging months until the Differin starts working, so no, it's not Differin being terrible or useless rather your lack of research and ability to commit to something.

14 of 23 people found this helpful.


on 9/21/2016 10:08:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

Differin gave me an impressively painful chemical burn all over my face. Would not use again.


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