Differin (adapalene) Gel is now at your local pharmacy!

Differin (adapalene) gel is now available over the counter.  This is great news since it means you no longer need a prescription for it.  Also, the prices over the counter (e.g. at your local Walgreens or CVS) have been quite reasonable. Or you can purchase online also.

So what is Differin (adapalene) used for?

Differin is marketed for acne.  It can be used in combination with other products or on its own depending on the type of acne you have and the severity of your acne.  It is also particularly good for comedonal acne (eg whiteheads or blackheads) which other types of medications might not address.

Differin is also a topical retinoid and as such it may be helpful for reducing appearance of wrinkles, and helping with skin texture and pigmentation issues.  (You may have heard of using retinols for anti-aging.)  There are a lot of topical retinoids out there though so definitely consult with your dermatologist if you’re wondering whether Differin is right for you.

Are there side effects to using Differin?

Any medication has potential side effects.  Most commonly, people will report dryness, redness, or flaking. This is actually to be expected to a degree. We recommend spacing out use to every other night or mixing with some moisturizer if you need to.  Your skin tends to get used to the medication after a month or so.  You may also need to take it easy on other products you are using (eg benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid which can also be drying and irritating)

Also, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you should discuss with your obstetrician before using this medication (it is still a medication after all!)  Many/ ?most will recommend that you stop your topical retinoid.

Tips for avoiding irritation from your topical retinoid

Retinoids are often used to treat blackheads (open comedones), pictured above. They are also used for wrinkle prevention and other forms of acne.
Are you on a topical retinoid for blackheads, whiteheads, other types of acne, or for wrinkle prevention? If so, this post might be helpful for you.

There are many different types of topical retinoids, e.g. tretinoin (brand names: Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), tazarotene (brand names: Tazorac, Avage) or adapalene (brand name: Differin).

When you first start the medication, you can develop redness, dryness, flaking, itching or other irritation since your skin isn’t used to the medication yet. Here are some tips that can help reduce the irritation:

– Use the medication at night.
– Start with application every third or every other night. Work your way up to every night.
– Mix the medication with some face lotion to dilute it, or apply face lotion after applying the medication.
– Use a small pea-sized amount for the whole face. All you need is a thin layer.
– Creams are less drying than gels or solutions.

If these tips don’t work, let your doctor know. It may be time to change to a different formulation or medication!