Differin for Acne: 15 common questions

1. What is Differin?

Differin is a topical acne treatment gel that contains adapalene. It can be purchased using a dermatologist's prescription at the original 0.3% concentration or over the counter (OTC) at a weaker concentration of 0.1%. Adapalene is not new. It's on the market for more than 20 years and was approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug in 2016.

2. How does Differin work?

Differin gel (aka; Adapalene gel ) is part of the retinoids family. Topical retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that can help exfoliate the skin, increase the skin cell turnover by increasing the epidermal skin cell turnover retinoids, unclog the skin's oil pores, and reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed acne breakouts.

3. What is the difference between Differin (adapalene) and other retinoids?

The main types of retinoids available for skin treatments are retinoic acid (tretinoin, Retin-A), tazarotene, adapalene (Differin), and retinol. Retinoic acid, used in prescription medications, was the first retinoids to be used. It helps the treatment of anti-wrinkles and has some effect on the prevention of blackheads and whiteheads. Tazarotene, initially used for the treatment of psoriasis, and adapalene, are two other retinoids that are used as acne medications. Formulated as gels, these products are irritating for most people.

Retinol is the newest type of retinoids used in skincare and can be valuable over the counter. Available in a few strengths and few formulations, it's one of the most popular retinols used today for both acne-probe skin and rejuvenation of adult skin.

4. Is Differin more effective than Benzoyl Peroxide?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) regards benzoyl peroxide as the most effective single anti-acne acne ingredient for acne treatment. Benzoyl peroxide is a potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and helps unclogs skin pores. These effects make benzoyl peroxide one of the most useful treatments for all kinds of acne include common teen acne, adult acne, fungal acne, and rosacea. It seems that the newer forms of micronized Benzoyl Peroxide cream are significantly more effective and less irritating than adapalene 0.1% and adapalene 0.3% (Differin 01.% and 0.3%). The addition of anti-inflammatory plant extracts to some of the benzoyl peroxide formulations can further increase efficacy and reduce skin redness and dryness.

5. Can I use Differin for severe acne or cystic acne?

Differin is not indicated for the treatment of severe acne or cystic acne. The optimal treatment for these acne types would be a more effective anti-acne topical medication with benzoyl peroxide combined with oral anti-acne medications (oral antibiotics or Accutane).

6. Can Differin help with hyperpigmentation and dark spots?

Differin can be used for the treatment of comedones and acne pimples. That said, it is not indicated for the treatment of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Combination of retinol or retinoic acid with hydroquinone or arbutin would be much more effective for fading hyperpigmentation and post-acne dark posts.

7. What are the common side effects of Differin?

Skin redness, scaling, dryness, and stinging/burning are common when using Differin gel. These side effects start in the first four weeks of treatment and may decrease with continuous use. In some cases, a severe irritation (contact dermatitis ) real allergy to Differin requires discontinuation of the treatment. Differin should not be applied to skin cuts, abrasions, and sunburned skin.

8. Can I use Differin with other skincare products?

Differin cannot be combined with other over-drying skincare products or exfoliants. Examples of over-drying topical treatment would be products with high alcohol concentrations, astringents, spices, or limes.

9. Is Differin more irritating than other acne treatments?

It seems that adapalene has a greater risk for irritation than other anti-acne ingredients (salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinol). Although some initial dryness and irritation are normal with all types of topical acne treatments, continuous excessive skin irritation can make acne worse.

10. Does Differin make your skin more sun-sensitive?

Yes. People that use Differin need to avoid sun exposure and use hydrating oil-free sunscreens when outdoors. Cold weather and especially cold dry wind may also be irritating to people that use Differin gel.

11. What are the side effects of Differin?

The most common side effects of Differin are dryness, redness, irritation, and burning/stinging. These symptoms usually peak at the 2- to 4-week mark before subsiding.

12. How often should you use Differin Gel?

Differin Gel 0.1%

Differin Gel can be very irritating. For best results, start using it every 2-3 days. To reduce the skin irritation caused by Differin, one should use a very mild acne cleanser. After washing the face, you would need to apply a thin layer of Differin Gel to clean, dry skin and combine it with a good hydrating oil-free moisturizer. According to the producer's instructions, Differin Gel should never be used more than once a day. Applying Differin more than once a day is not expected to provide faster or better results.

13. Can I combine Differin Gel with other anti-acne medications?

Using Differin Gel with products containing alpha-hydroxy, salicylic, or glycolic acids can cause severe skin irritation and redness / People that use adapalene (Differin) to reduce sun exposure use When going outdoors. Sunbed tanning should be avoided when using Differin.

14. Can I shave while using Differin Gel?

For many users, Differin makes the skin very fragile and irritated. To reduce skin redness and irritation, one should avoid shaving gels or foams and use non-irritating shaving creams instead. Using wax to remove unwanted hair in areas where Differin is applied should be avoided.

15. Can pregnant women use Differin Gel?

As with all other retinoids, pregnant women should not use Differin when planning to become pregnant or when breastfeeding.

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