Adapalene topical Side Effects

Not all side effects for adapalene topical may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to adapalene topical: topical cream, topical gel/jelly, topical lotion, topical solution, topical swab

Along with its needed effects, adapalene topical may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking adapalene topical:

More common - especially during the first month of use
  • Burning sensation or stinging of skin
  • dryness and peeling of skin
  • itching of skin
  • redness of skin

Some side effects of adapalene topical may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Rare - more common during the first month of use
  • Worsening of acne

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to adapalene topical: topical cream, topical gel, topical lotion, topical solution, topical swab


Local side effects have included erythema, scaling, dryness, burning, and pruritus in 30 to 60% of patients. Persistent pruritus and stinging have been reported in up to 24% of patients. Skin irritation, acne flares, sunburn, and skin discoloration have been reported rarely (less than 1%).

Erythema, scaling, dryness, burning, and pruritus usually occur during the first 2 to 4 weeks of therapy and lessen with continued use. Burning and itching immediately after application occurs in approximately 20% to 30% of patients.

All local side effects occurring with adapalene topical appear to be reversible upon discontinuation of therapy.


Dermatologic side effects have rarely included dermatitis, contact dermatitis, rash and eczema.


Ocular side effects have rarely included eyelid edema and conjunctivitis.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.