Differin Acne Treatment Gel

 Differin Acne Treatment Gel


220 reviews

77% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.1

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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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.

on 10/13/2012 7:28:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

The very best product I've ever tried against acne. I had clear skin in general but always had only one, but very deep pimple on my nose. Literally ALWAYS - once I've get rid of one, the other one just arrived. My nose was left with scars, red spots and dark marks. But then I was prescribed to Differin and now (2 months later) my problems are simply gone!
The first 2 weeks were really hard: itching, flaking, burning, redness... I was a bit worried about how long will it take to get used to this gel. But all the bad effects stopped within 2 weeks.
I use it 2:1 mixed with La Roche-Posay Cicaplast, in the evenings (a little bit of Cicaplast is very good against flaking).
And now? Smooth, clear skin, even without foundation. Wonderful!

1 of 1 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

on 9/5/2012 6:45:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I was on accutane last year, recently my acne was returning so I used an old tube of this stuff and helps keep my skin clear.

on 8/26/2012 5:36:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I'm not gonna tell you my whole life story with acne but it's just generally been a very rollercoaster-y few years with my skin. I finally went to the derm and got a prescription for Differin. Let me tell you, this stuff is miraculous. The first two months really suck, don't take it remotely lightly. You break out in places you've never even seen a zit before. But by the third month everything gets so much better. Perseverance is key with this stuff. And don't forget sunscreen, I was a lifeguard this summer and forgot a few times..... BAD IDEA. It messes with all of the progress you made. Now I can walk out in public with not a lick of makeup on and feel so proud of my skin.
Morning: Clean and Clear Cream Face Wash
Cetaphil Moisturizer
Night: wash rag and boiling hot water to wipe your face before cleansing (purges dirt and oil from your pores so the face wash goes as deep as possible)
Clean and Clear Cream Face Wash
Differin 0.3
Before workouts or showers during the day: Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Cleansing Wipes (smell sooooo good too!)

Hope this helps!

1 of 1 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: 18 & Under

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I bought this months ago, after hearing about it from a friend. I went to my doctor and he prescribed it to me, along with Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Gel. I started using it, but had to stop after 1-2 weeks after it started making my face peel horribly.

Recently, I started using it again to see if my skin could handle both. The Topical Gel in the morning, and Differin at night. It worked really well for the first 3 days with no outbreaks or dry skin. Overnight, the burning woke me up. It felt like someone had sprayed acid on my face. My skin was bright red, all my acne (I have mild to no acne, but I wanted to clear up my skin and blemishes with the medicine) stood out extremely bad. I couldn't put any lotion on my face, even Aveeno Smart Essentials SPF 30. Anything that went on my face, including make up, burned my face and would reduce me to tears from the pain.

I immediately stopped using both products and had to keep my face covered in an ice-cold, damp rag. If the rag wasn't on, my face dried out and I could barely smile due to how tight it was. The next day, the peeling began. And it came with reckoning: my whole face started peeling to the point where the new skin underneath would sting really bad.

I started soaking my face with a rag and PH water. The water dried out my skin more and put me in misery. I have a huge event next Thursday and today is Friday; I'm afraid my face won't get better before then.

I've resorted to using Curel Fragrance Free Lotion for dry and sensitive skin. The lotion has helped with the pain and peeling, but I don't know if it'll help aid my skin before Thursday.

I will NEVER use this product again! I understand it doesn't work on some people, but people with sensitive skin - BEWARE. This last week has been torture for me, and my face is as red as a tomato.

on 5/5/2012 10:29:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Oily, Tan, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I didn't really have bad acne. I initially went to th dermatologist because I had really clogged pored on my nose and a bit of acne on my chin and forehead, but it wasn't really noticeable or that bad. I was given a prescription for this. I use it every other night, just a pea size amount. My skin really cleared. It looks so nice and smooth. The problem is that I feel like it has caused a new problem: oily skin. When I wake up, my face is like an oil slick. It has gotten so bad that I recently spent almost $200 on skin care products just for oily skin. I really am liking the way my skin looks, but I hate the oiliness! My skin was never oily before. It is uncomfortable and makes putting on makeup hard. I'm going to stop using it and see what happens.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I started on Differin .1, but quickly moved to .3, and I LOVE it!
I have combo/oily acne prone and sensitive skin, and this hasn't caused any irritation, almost no peeling either. I had occasional minor flaking (no one would have noticed but me) for the first few weeks and still occasionally around my hairline in the am. But, it is nothing a gentle morning face wash can't clean up. This stuff clears my skin so well! I had no purging, and I wasn't red either. It does make me super oily though. I have to Use blotting papers at least twice a day. But, my skin is looking almost flawless, so a little blot here and there isn't anything to complain about, especially when I hardly have to wear makeup now.
This is not the only thing I do for my skin, but it is a major contributor to my clear skin. amazing! (I have tried retinA micro, and that made my skin tight and itchy).

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I put down a 3 for price - without insurance, this is expensive, but if you have insurance, you can probably get it for cheaper. I have the 1% gel, and I've been using it for nearly a decade - all over my face when I was in my early 20s and my skin was bad; now that I'm 31 and my skin has cleared, I use it as a spot treatment. If I feel a nasty bump growing under the skin, I'll slap some of this on it overnight, and the swelling is reduced by morning; usually, it completely clears within a couple days (spots usually last 5 days without it).

Because I've used it for so long, I can't really comment on its anti-aging properties - I didn't have any wrinkles when I started using it. However, nothing beats this stuff when it comes to treatment for spots.

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