Differin Gel

Filtered by hair type : Other
 Differin Gel

3.6

30 reviews

70% 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: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

In combination with Vitamin C serum, Differin has totally changed my skin for the better. I've been on Spironolactone for the last 15 years to manage my hormonal acne, and that worked beautifully up until the beginning of this year. Out of nowhere (and without even starting new products!), my skin freaked out, and I started getting clogs and painful cystic acne in places where I've never before broken out. I tried all the usual things: washing my pillow cases every night, doing a very bland skincare routine, keeping my hands/hair/etc off of my face. Nothing helped.

Two months ago on Prime Day, Amazon had a lightening deal on 0.5 oz of Differin gel for $8.48. For that price, why not give it a try? I started out using it twice a week at night and using only a pea-sized amount for my entire face. After the first week, I went up to every-other night, which I did for the remainder of the first month. Since then, I've worked up to every night.

Even after two months, I probably have 3/4 of the tube still left. I use only the tiniest amount and dot it around my cheeks. It spreads easily and dries down quickly. I usually buffer it with my other facial products (2 drops squalane+3 drops Timeless hyaluronic acid), and this seems to help with irritation. I have a drastic decrease in the number of painful lesions, and my clogs are almost entirely gone. Differin definitely helps acne go away more quickly, and it also makes it easier to extract clogged pores.

I did have some initial purging, but I honestly expected much worse. Working up slowly to nightly application helped mitigate the flakiness and irritation that others experience. My skin continues to get clearer the longer I use it, but it does take a bit of patience to starts seeing results. I imagine that a lot of the negative reviews are from people who use it too frequently in the beginning and also don't give it enough time to start working. As with all skincare YMMV, but Differin is worth a shot if you have congested skin or hormonal acne (where Spiro or BCP aren't enough).

Will I repurchase? Absolutely!

8 of 8 people found this helpful.



on 8/24/2017 8:34:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

It doesn't seem to be effective on active inflamed acne for me, but I'm hoping it will help with clogged pores. It helps peel. I've been using it for one month.


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 11/4/2014 11:16:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Push yourself past he first 6 to 8 weeks of use. I have clear, dry skin and was prescribed this for its anti-aging benefits. The dryness and irritation subsided . My advice is learn how to use this product properly. Apply a tiny amount on clean dry skin and hold out on you moisturiser for a bit after applying. I have been using this for 3 years and, at nearly forty, I haven't a wrinkle in sight. My skin is smooth and bright and looks as good or better than it did 10 years ago. Wear sunscreen! I have used the cream as well and honestly find very little difference between the two. It Is simply a preference.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

It's miracle cream!. It does make my skin a little dry, but nothing moisturizer can't fix. Highly recommend!!


on 4/9/2013 6:06:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

UPDATE: So I couldn't help but give this product one last shot after writing that review! LOL! And I am glad I did. I use it every other night, and I don't seem to have the extreme flaking reaction to it or the sensitivity. I guess I was using it too often. I will continue to see how my skin reacts, but so far, so good.

I have mixed feeling about this product. I think I could have given it a higher rating if I could have tolerated it better, but I don't necessarily think that that is the product's fault.

First, it definitely cleared my cystic acne. Good job! It also clear my blackheads, whiteheads, etc.

Second, it REALLY irritated my skin, causing such severe peeling and flaking, I looked like I had a flake goatee by 10 am!

Third, the skin under my flake goatee was BEAUTIFUL and glowing! However, it also flaked off :(. I just couldn't get through all the flaking and irritation, so I eventually discontinued use. That's why it only got three lippies, that might be unfair, but it is what it is.

I wouldn't try this again, but I do recommend others trying it, because if you can tolerate it, it is worth it.

I got the generic kind and I have really excellent prescription drug coverage for generics (not so much for brand names), so I paid about $6 for it. I also got the lower 0.01% gel.


on 1/5/2013 10:27:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Other, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I've had persistent cystic acne on my chin for the last 7 years or so, and I really, really wanted this to work. Instead it's been like a bad relationship that I just can't quit. After 8 months of dedicated use, at best, it did not do much of anything (except cause these tiny clogs on the side of my face, so I started to apply to my chin only). But a few days ago, a planet started growing in the middle of my chin, and in my panic and desperation, I grabbed my Differin to give it yet another chance. I don't know what happened, maybe I applied too much, but by the next morning, the planet had spawned its own galaxy and taken over my entire chin. No joke, my chin and lower lip were so red and swollen that it actually hurt to talk. It's been two days now, and I've been icing it and taking ibuprofen to bring down the swelling, which has helped some, but wow. I think I'm finally breaking up with you for good, Differin. You and me are just no good.

4 of 5 people found this helpful.


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 of 2 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

WARNING: DO NOT WAX EYEBROWS WHILE USING THIS PRODUCT!!!!

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!

2 of 3 people found this helpful.


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

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


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