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Differin 0.1%
Differin Cream
Differin contains a retinoid which is used to treat acne.
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What is Differin?

Differin contains adapalene which is a type of medicine called a retinoid. Adapalene is used to treat skin problems such as acne and can come in either a gel or a cream.

What is Differin used for?

Differin is used to treat mild or moderate acne where the skin has whiteheads, blackheads and just a few inflamed spots. If your skin is dry, it might be more suitable to use Differin cream. If your skin tends to be oily, Differin gel is more suitable.

If you have widespread, inflamed acne on your shoulders, back or other parts of your body, or moderate to severe facial acne, Differin may be combined with an antibiotic to help improve the appearance of your skin.

For more information on the different types of acne and what you can do to treat it, click here.

How does Differin work?

Differin contains adapalene, a retinoid that increases the turnover of skin cells. This helps to unclog pores and prevent blackheads and whiteheads from forming. Adapalene also has an anti-inflammatory effect reducing soreness and irritation. It also helps to reduce the dark marks left on the skin when the acne heals (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

How to use Differin?

You should use Differin the evening before bed. Gently wash and fully dry the area you want to treat before applying a thin layer of cream or gel using your fingertip. Make sure to wash your hands afterwards.

Avoid letting the cream or gel build up around the angles of your nose, eyes and mouth.

Make sure to only use other medicated skincare products if advised by a healthcare professional. These should be used in the morning when Differin is used at night.

Differin dosage

The amount of Differin you use depends on the size of the area you’re treating. Apply a thin layer of the cream or gel to the affected area. If the cream or gel isn’t easily absorbed, you may be using too much. This can result in red and irritated skin and will not clear your acne more quickly.

Is Differin effective?

It can take time to heal acne flare-ups. If used consistently according to instructions, you should see an improvement in your skin between 4 to 8 weeks.

What are the main side effects of Differin?

Differin can sometimes cause dry skin, irritation or redness. Some people also experience a mild burning sensation when the cream is applied. This should get better over time as your skin becomes used to the adapalene in Differin.

If your skin becomes dry or starts to peel while using Differin, we suggest using an unscented, oil-free moisturiser.

For more information on possible side effects and what to do if you experience any, please see the Patient Information Leaflet.

What else should I know about Differin?

You should not use Differin if you’re pregnant, think you might be pregnant or are trying to conceive. Using Differin can harm the foetus so we recommend using effective contraception such as the pill, implant or coil if you’re sexually active with a man.

Differin can be used safely when breastfeeding but should not be used to treat skin on the chest. This is because topical retinoids such as Differin might be harmful to developing babies. If you become pregnant while on this treatment, please stop using it.

Do not use Differin if you suffer from eczema or where you have cuts or scrapes on your skin. Differin can also make your skin more photo-sensitive so it’s important to avoid exposure to sunlight and artificial UV light during treatment. Make sure to wear sunscreen when going outside.

What are alternative acne treatments?

There are other alternative acne treatments that can help with the appearance of your skin if you don’t want to use Differin for your acne. Several different types of prescription creams and gels are available which can be used alone or in combination with an antibiotic. Some women also find taking a combined contraceptive pill can help their acne.

Click here to find out about alternative prescription acne treatments we offer.

What are the non-drug alternatives to Differin?

If you don’t want to use Differin to treat your acne, there are non-prescription ways to improve your skin.

Avoid touching your face, picking or squeezing spots. Doing this can irritate the skin, spreading the bacteria that causes acne. Squeezing spots can also lead to scarring.

Use a gentle, oil-free, unfragranced cleanser with lukewarm water no more than twice a day. If your skin is dry, you can also use an unfragranced, oil-free moisturiser. Avoid using heavy cosmetics or make-up which can make your acne worse.

A balanced diet may help and make sure to drink plenty of water.

Click here for more advice on how you can take care of your skin.


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