Differin Acne Treatment Gel

Filtered by skin tone : Olive
 Differin Acne Treatment Gel


15 reviews

80% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$


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: Unknown

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

PSA!!! a motto for this product is if you don’t have the will you won’t get your way! background context (bc this is always so useful to me when i’m trying to compare how products will work with my skin so I got you girl): I am 22 almost 23, I’ve dealt with hormonal, genetic, severe acne for 11 years!! I have combination to oily oily skin. As I have gotten older it has become less aggressive but still very consistent in my EVERYDAY life (I always expected to wake up and have a pimple - sad but true) acne areas: mainly cheeks, chin, occasional forehead, and upper lip review: the key to this product is patience!! I have been using Differin for about 3 months now and let me just say.. I’ve never given a review on a product ever and this is my first time bc I believe in this. I was at a breaking point like I have been many times before.. I have never been to a dermatologist so I decided to give an over the counter product one more try before I took that step and I’m glad I did bc the dermatologist is expensive and I’m on a college budget. This is not to discourage anyone but the purge is real and it is heartbreaking. My skin has consistently had bumps but nothing like it did when it purged.. I cried and I got over it bc I was determined to have clear skin and like they always say “it gets bad before it gets worse” and it’s true. My face blew up (yes I know everyone doesn’t “purge” but mine was very severe) and it was devastating. I did read about purging so I would know what to expect but my skin PURGED like I didn’t know it could. BRIGHT SIDE: After the purge which lasted 2 to 2 1/2 weeks my skin started to clear up slowly. I saw a turn so I continued NIGHTLY to put a pea size on after moisturizer (it helps it spread more easily) then put more moisturizer on after it had dried completely. This is a very drying treatment so if you have dry skin make sure you moisturize!! My skin did get a little flaky so exfoliate gently every other day. As I have continued with Differin my skin has done a 180!! the majority of my face is clear - haven’t seen it like this since birth lol. I still have texture and acne scars that I have to work on but as for acne this product has cleared my skin, except for a few little spots here and there - but still a major improvement! I can gladly say for the first time in 11 years I am on the track to permanently clear skin. Last note: I always thought putting sunscreen on would make my skin more oily and disgusting but it is necessary for the moisture this product takes out of your skin. I put the neutrogena face lotion (sunscreen) with SPF of 70 in the morning before makeup and it doesn’t break out my face. Also! do not use any other acne treatment with this including the small amount of salicylic acid that’s in your face wash (it cancels out the Adapalene in this product which is the retinoid that causes it to be successful). I hope this was helpful for anyone who needs some hope in their fight with acne. xoxo J

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

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.

15 of 15 people found this helpful.

on 7/8/2013 7:50:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Okay to start off I have Combination Skin that is sensitive and very prone to acne! I have suffered with pimples (the red inflamed kind) for many many years. Although these stopped completely I realised I wa getting bumps that were very small and hard, under the skin and flesh coloured (non inflames type).

These are often called closed comedones/whitehads/milia. They are actually blackheads under the skin that are flesh coloured because they have not been exposed to air and so hav not oxidised like blackheads do.

I was given differin gel and within the first 3 weeks many of the bumps on my chin and forehead became unclogged and kind of just washed/rubbed/dried off. Gradually they are all going, even the deeper ones on my cheeks where the skin is thicker are going too. Before when I washed my face I could fell the bumps but every day my skin is getting smoother in TEXTURE.

I have now been usin the gel for 5 weeks and my skin has come a long way. I now only have a couple if small bumps on my cheeks left which I am sure will go with continued use.

There is some ADVICE I would like to give to anyone who is or itends to use Differin. 1. First I used the Cream version for 2 weeks but felt like it didn't really sink in so switched to Gel which is more suited for oily skin types.
2. At first I did suffer a 'purging' phase, our skin has many layers around 7, differin makes all the bacteria and sebum blocked in these layers come to te surface. It DOES NOT EXFOLIATE like AHA/BHA products, it REDUCES THE GROWTH OF SKIN CELLS instead. So your skin may get worse before it gets better. I took antibiotics (oxytetralycline) which made the purging not as bad or inflamed.
3. don't think that because of this purging phase you need to use more product or apply more often. This can easily cause irritation and raw/chapped skin similar to sunburnt skin. And people..this is the most difficult kind of skin to cover with makeup. So AVOID OVERUSE of differin
4. Differin can make skin dry and flaky, i prevente this by appying a light, non iritation, non pore clogging lotion 45 mins after applying differin. (skin care routine below)
5. To reduce and prevent any irritation and sensitivity whilst using differin use products that DONT contain alcohol fragrances, bha, aha or certain cleansers with over drying sulphtes in them. Some sulphtes are good, others are bad..look these up on paulas choice website or make sure your cleansers, lotions,spfs and foundations is suitable by seeing its review on the beautypedia webiste.
6.You must use a SPF! Even If u live in cloudy England with rubbish weather u must wear SPF! You can even burn through a window. If u do get this Raw chapped burnt skin dont apply differin in that area untill it has completely healed..la roche posay cicaplast helped ALOT when i had overuse differin and when applied 3 times a day healed in a couple of Days. but trust me You don't want to add sunburn to already existing skin problems!
7. Many prople experience more dryness around mouth and eyes even though these are places differin is never applied to. So i use a slightly thicker cream around these areas.
8. It Should never be applied more then once a day unless prescribed to by doctor. Don't get too close to eyes or lips and don't apply on any creases or corners or the nose, Dents in chin or near nostrils or upper lip!!
8. DIFFERIN SKIN CARE ROUTINEI used Paulas choice hydralight cleanser, paulas choice hydralight lotion, Paulas choice skin balancing moisturiser with spf 30 and Paulas Choice Mousture boost treatment cream around eyes and lips.

All in all it is an AMAZING PRODUCT in unclogging and unblocking congested skin but it HAS to be used correctly AND with the correct skin care routine. Hope this helps because I know a lot of these reviews helped me in preparation to using DIFFERIN.

19 of 22 people found this helpful.

on 6/2/2013 2:54:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I am 24 years old and have been dealing with hormonal acne since I was about 13. My acne was controlled in high school and college on Spironolactone. In college, I weaned off the meds, but my acne returned about a year ago. I am back on the Spiro, and my derm prescribed Differin .1% gel about a month ago. At this point, most of my inflamed, hormonal acne is gone. I wanted the Differin because I have lots of clogged pores, tiny little bumps, hyperpigmentation, and just dull looking skin. Anyway, I've been using the differin for about a month. The first week, I went all in and used it four nights in a row. Needless to say, my skin was irritated and peeling. I have now been using it every other night and it's been working pretty well. I apply it at night after washing my face, and then I apply my CeraVe PM lotion on top. I wake up in the morning with dewy, smooth, glowing skin. I still have hyperpigmentation from previous acne marks and I do still have lots of clogged pores, but I'm hoping the Differin will help with that in time. I have heard that it can take 8-12 weeks to really see results. I did not get an initial breakout on my face, but I did apply the differin to my shoulders (I have some old acne scarring and some little pimples), and it caused me to break out. Hopefully that clears up soon. Differin was 100% covered by my insurance ($0!!) so I will definitely continue to refill this prescription.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Normal, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I don't know WHY or HOW it happened that in my 5 year battle with acne I learned about this product only now, but I am grateful to all people and circumstances that got me acquainted with it. I know that everybody's skin is different, and this might not be the panacea for everyone, but fellow pimple- sufferers, there IS hope! I first tried Differin in tiny sample packages of 3 grams ( three of those was enough for 3 weeks) and I never looked back. I was suffering from medium to severe acne for years and while doing so I tried everything under the sun - 75% of marketed anti-acne products, all the diets, supplements, food group eliminations, juicing, fruiting, starving, de-warming ( viva pseudo science), regular facials, peels, prescription medication topical and oral with no results to follow.
I started using Differin 3 months ago and my skin just keeps getting better ( knock on wood). No initial breakout, no redness, just some really minor peeling at the very beginning of the treatment. I eat ice cream and carbohydrates ( yes, the simple kind!:), I do not freak out about sleeping on a pillow case two nights in a row, neither am I following a fancy or complicated skin routine, and every morning I am waking up with clearer skin and this is a miracle. Please, consider this medication if nothing else worked. Good luck and healthy skin to you!

10 of 11 people found this helpful.

on 11/19/2012 12:58:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

*updated with pictures and routine on Jan 30, 2013

Before Differin:


After Differin:


I love this product. I did not have a very serious initial outbreak, but I did break out from time to time over and over again. It always seemed to be all clear of pimples and bumps one week and return a week after.But the overall progress was always better than when I initially started so I always persisted through using this product, hoping it'd purge out all of the impurities.

The one key thing I learned with this product is that LESS IS MORE. Only use a PEA SIZE amount for your ENTIRE face. Trust me, I know you feel like if you layer on just a bit more that it will work more effectively, but it will not. It will only aggravate your skin, causing it to be extremely red, flaky, and sensitive. Even after 2 and a half months of use, I found the best results when I cut down to about half the amount of what I was using because my skin was getting extremely sensitive ALL THE TIME.

I use this only once a day at night time. I use 2.5% benzoyl peroxide in the morning, following the same consistency of a pea size for my problem areas.

I highly recommend that you ALWAYS wait until your face is DRY after washing and cleansing before you apply anything. As well, you should always moisturize and use a sunscreen if you are going to be exposed to sunlight. I thought for the first two months that being without a suncreen would be okay since it's wintertime here and often dark, but once I added suncreen to my routine, I noticed a HUGE difference in the way my skin was healing.

It is okay once in awhile to skip a day of two of your routine if you feel like your skin is so sensitive that it burns even when you touch it. I did it and it always helped to let my skin have a breather for a day or two,
My face was moderately severe, FULL of cysts that I could not get rid of and blackheads all over my nose. I no longer have any cysts and blackheads have completely disappeared from my nose. I am left with a lot of PIH (post-acne inflammed hyperpigmentation marks) but I am confident that with time, they will leave minimal scarring if any at all.
I can't stress enough that you cannot and should not pick at your skin. Your skin with differin will be extremely delicate and tear very easily. Let it do its work and give it up to 12 weeks before you decide to quit. My skin was up and down for about two months and a half before I saw a steady uphill progress.

TIP: You should create a strict skincare regimen to see optimal results. Stick with a routine and DON'T GET LAZY. There were times were I got too busy to remember to wash my face thoroughly and apply differin and during those times, I would always break out again. Even though it was a very mild breakout, it seems to defeat the purpose and go backwards instead of forward towards clear, flawless skin.

The differin I used is 0.1% gel.


1. Cleanse face with Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser.
2. Pat dry with a clean towel if I'm in a rush, but if not, wait for my skin to completely dry.
3. Apply 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, the "Treatment" from Acne.org (I use a thick amount now that I have built up tolerance to it)
4. Wait for Treatment to completely dry
5. Apply moisturizer (I rotate between the Acne.org moisturizer and a thick CeraVe cream for extra dry days)
6. If I am going out, I will wait for the moisturizer to completely dry, apply a light sunscreen (I use Neutrogena) and then apply my make-up after my face has dried

1. Use Pond's Cold Cream to remove all make-up
2. Cleanse with Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser
3. Wait for skin to completely dry
4. Apply a large PEA SIZE of Differin all over face
5. Apply Kiehl's Avocado eye cream

Additional add-ons:
- Cleanse with the Clarisonic Mia every other day at night, combined with the Boscia cleanser
- Using AHA once a week to replace my moisturizer in the morning (I use Dan's AHA)
- Washing my face with oatmeal before my shower twice a month
- Using a clay mask or Boscia Luminizing Black Mask when my face is particularly oily
- Using My Beauty Diary Aloe sheet masks when my face is particularly (and usually, painfully) dry

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Other

Eyes: Brown

I love this stuff it keeps my skin clear and I use it nightly, afterwards I apply a glyoylic gel product to areas where I have trouble (combo skin here) keeps my skin tone even and pimple free and helps with clogged pores which is actually my biggest issue

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I LOVE this stuff. Ive always had acne prone skin and a very oily T zone. I started using this years ago and at first i used it all over my face but it made my cheeks dry. So i started only using it on my forehead and chin. And then any pimples elsehwere. I dont have bad acne. Only a few breakouts every once and awhile. But they always left scars. This stuff made my scars fade drastically in weeks! I only realized how well it worked until i stopped using it and now my scars take months to fade on their own. I really need to get more of this stuff. It is pricey but with my insurance cost me only 25 dollars. Love this stuff!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 11/25/2010 4:43:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I got this through a doctor's prescription a few weeks ago when I was starting to get a lot of pimples again, and I started using this daily at night. Was cheap because it is now government subsidised in NZ, and my doctor said I could even use this for keratosis pilarus (the tiny red bumps frequently seen on arms and legs). At first, the pimples seemed to be getting worse, and I expected this since my doctor warned me beforehand, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to deal with bad acne all summer long before it got better, so I stopped for a few days. Also, I think it made my skin really dry and flaky, especially on the cheeks, it was soo dry, but it got better after using Cetaphil moisturiser. So now it's been roughly a week, and yesterday my skin was really good, even had a slight glow and hardly any visible pimples. However, this morning I've got quite a few annoying large ones again, so it's up and down. Overall, can't judge yet. But it appears to be having some effect, however small. Will let you know how it goes in a few weeks.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 6/14/2010 4:36:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I have been using retinoids for about 14 years - Retin A cream at first, then gel when it became available and Differin for the last 8 or 10 years. Although I am oily and acne-prone, I really regard Differin as my anti-aging treatment as I find Skinoren/ Finacea more helpful in preventing outbreaks than retinoids.

My skin had been used to AHAs before I tried retinoids and was fairly clear when I decided to experiment after having bought a tube of Retin A in a chemists in Ukraine. I was rather nervous, expecting my skin to errupt and go red - but virtually nothing happened, apart from a little flaking around my mouth during extremely cold weather. However, if I attemt to use retinoids on my neck I get a red, scaly rash. I
noticed a gradual improvement in the general condition of my skin and when I returned to the UK two years later everyone said how well I looked. I now use Differin because adapalene is the only retinoid available in Russia [11 if you shop around] and I like the gentle water based formula which I find light and non-clogging, but not so drying in the extreme winter weather as the Retin A gel. I generally don't moisturise afterwards, but I do sometimes dilute it with a syrum or oil in extremely cold, dry weather.

I am very happy with Differin, sunscreen [I have had to keep out of the sun since my mid twenties due to melasma ], facial gymnastics and a good diet as my anti-aging regime. It seems to work as most people are surprised on finding out my real age. I didn't find that retinoids particularly helped with melasma, I had the best results with Skinoren. Once I return to the UK and my supplies run out, I may try a stronger retinoid if I have to order online anyway.

Update 24/8/10: I have been using a Russian Isotretinoin 0.1% cream for 2 months and have noticed a definite improvement in my skin- both clogs and wrinkles. In future I will try to obtain either this Isotretinoin cream or order Retin A/generic online.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

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