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User Reviews for Differin to treat Acne

Differin has an average rating of 6.2 out of 10 from a total of 280 ratings for the treatment of Acne. 55% of those users who reviewed Differin reported a positive effect, while 35% reported a negative effect.

Differin Rating Summary

User Ratings
30% (84)
14% (40)
11% (30)
5% (14)
1% (4)
3% (7)
1% (4)
4% (11)
6% (17)
25% (69)
6.2/10 Average Rating
280 ratings from 294 user reviews

Compare all 324 medications used in the treatment of Acne.

Reviews for Differin

Nikas · Taken for 1 to 6 months October 6, 2020

“HORRIBLE!!!!! Made my face breakout 10 times worse redness dried out my cheeks smh! Didn't help anything after 7 long weeks I quit using it and felt better in 1 week”

1 / 10
Anonymous September 16, 2020

“I recommend you to be very patient with Differin. In total, my skin had to support Differin for one whole year (with interruptions) + comedones to get better. It's a long process that has to be followed very rigorously. Exercizing + eating good food + not smoking and drinking few + sleeping well really helps everything going faster. Keep going, you gonna see the end of it”

8 / 10
Willi25 September 3, 2020

“I started Differin 3 months ago. I began with inflamed hormonal acne on my cheeks and chin. My dermatologist prescribed me clindamycin topical, and recommended I also use Differin. The first month I did not notice a difference in my acne, but I did notice my overall complexion was looking more even. The second month the purging started, and it was bad. Then it would seem okay, and then get bad again. Push through this, I know its hard, but purging is essential for clearing your skin with this medication. I started to get breakouts in new places which was rough. I now am on month 3 of Differin and I have no active breakouts! I do have some red marks on my cheeks from hyperpigmentation, and am now using some serums to help with that, though the marks will fade naturally with time. Be consistent and persevere because this medication does truly work I promise! It will be a rocky road but there is a light at the end of the tunnel :)”

9 / 10
Acne101 · Taken for less than 1 month September 2, 2020

“After suffering with acne for 10 years, I finally had it under control. It broke out a little on my cheek so I went to a dermatologist who prescribed differin. One side of my face (the clear side) was left glowing but the side with a few spots has never been so painful. It caused deep, painful cystic acne so severe that I couldn’t touch my face, smiling was excruciating and putting my face in the shower felt like it was melting off. It’s starting to spread across to my forehead. During my worst acne breakouts, I’ve never had spots this painful. Hoping it will clear up fast now that I’m not using it anymore.”

2 / 10
Jo · Taken for 1 to 6 months August 30, 2020

“I am on month 4 and my chin is still breaking out horribly. Not sure why my skin is still purging this late in the medication!”

2 / 10
Anonymous · Taken for less than 1 month August 19, 2020

“I’m too old for this. I had some hormonal acne which didn’t surprise me since my skin is sensitive and acne prone. My dermatologist friend suggested Differin. What an awful experience. My skin looked worse even after 3 weeks that I had to stop using it. I had a lot of large cystic acne like a teenager, horribly embarrassing. Stopped it cold turkey and went back to 2% benzoyl peroxide and they went away in a week. Never again.”

1 / 10
V · Taken for less than 1 month August 19, 2020

“Honestly I have a love hate relationships with Differin! It cleared up my pimples BUT made my skin so unbearably painful that I had to stop using it. My skin was stinging literally all day and I couldn’t even apply a sensitive skin calming moisturizer. I also had awfully scaly and flaky skin on my eyelids/around my eyes even though I was extremely careful NOT to apply it there.”

3 / 10
jmp · Taken for 1 to 6 months June 7, 2020

“Differin was absolutely awful! I was using a prescription tretinoin for anti-aging/clear skin purposes but I lost my insurance and the medicine is about $400 without insurance. I figured "yay, i can buy differin, its similar and OTC now" BIG BIG BIG MISTAKE!!!! My skin normally has one pimple at a time, AT THE MOST every 3 weeks around my cycle. I'm currently battling multiple cystic outbreaks and its week 5 of my Differin journey. I wanted to give it a chance but I stopped cold turkey 3 days ago because this is traumatizing. I'm going back to my old routine. Please be careful with this product and if you decide to try it, do it only 2x a week for 3 weeks, 3x a week for the next 3 weeks, 4x a week for the next 4 weeks and so on because it WILL ruin your day”

1 / 10
Anonymous June 4, 2020

“My acne returned when I turned 19 (I’m 29 yrs old now ) . Since then I’ve had mild /moderate acne . I was just sick of having acne , so I gave Differin a go. First 2 weeks my skin didn’t form any new pimples it was clear ,with small spots but my skin was very dry and irritated . By week 4/5 I had massive red irritated break outs , my purge has begun . Several infected pores turned into a big spot. My routine : Use hydrating serum ,then applied an oil to my sensitive areas such as around eyes and nose. Followed by a pea size amount of Differin , would wait for that to dry , then applied oil all over, then a moisturiser . Used low ph cleanser . Week 6/7 my skin started to clear up , my forehead was clear. Week 8 , had a huge break out on my chin and mouth . Some are reoccurring spots, I’m not sure if this is a 2nd phase of purging or ones that didn’t surface until now . I will continue with it ,up until the full 12 weeks , hoping this is the last of the purge !!”

5 / 10
Nowur · Taken for 1 to 6 months June 2, 2020

“My acne wasn’t that bad to start with. I had 2 basic pimples that were very stubborn and just weren’t going away. I went to dermatologist and she gave me adapalene (Differin). What followed was a terrible purge that broke out those areas around my jaw and cheekbone. (Where the two pimples were). I had never broken out before and I was so frustrated. 3 months later my skin hasn’t healed from those breakouts and still on my cheeks new pimples form. My jaw is left with hyperpigmentation from the acne the gel caused.(I have never scared before). Not to mention, while using this product my face has become extremely dry and I look gaunt and older than when I first started. I heard all these miraculous things about adapalene but it seems my skin reacted opposite. I will say my skin is pretty smooth and “brighter”. But it’s not worth the damage it did to my face.”

3 / 10
Yl · Taken for 1 to 6 months May 30, 2020

“Differin was recommended to me by a dermatologist for my acne. I'm a 30 year old woman and my acne was a little bad for my age but not commonly cystic, mostly blackheads in the T zone. Differin absolutely destroyed my skin. I used it for 4 months total and never got past the "purge" stage. My acne increased threefold at least and is now only just recovering, 3 months after cessation of use. I got acne in places I had never gotten before. If this happens to you, don't go the full 4 months - your skin is not right for this medicine. It will cause terrible damage.”

1 / 10
Froyo · Taken for 1 to 6 months May 30, 2020

“Alright, so I just finished my 6th week of using differin and I decided to switch it up. Also if you're new to reading this, maybe read my other posts. Anyway. I decided to start putting this on every night, after moisturizing and let me tell you. My skin is flakey. It's weird because my skin isn't really dry, the top layer is. later.. I woke up and looked in the mirror the other day and I could rub off the dead skin, kinda satisfying tbh. Anyway, since I increased my dosage I started breaking out, but it'll hopefully go away soon.”

5 / 10
Seniormom2020 · Taken for 1 to 6 months May 19, 2020

“I am 42 years old and I have fair skin. Recently, I have had the worst Acne Rosacea outbreak I have ever had in my life. After a few months of antibiotic and soolantra cream, the inflammation and new pimples were getting better. But, I still had rough, bumpy skin with lots of red hyperpigmentation where the acne has been. My dermatologist ordered Azelic Acid and I waited for over a month for it to come in at the pharmacy. It didn’t they claim because of Covid19. I was furious and cancelled my order. I decided to buy Differin to help skin turnover and prevent new pimples. My skin is so smooth! I have used it every night except 1 night for a month. The redness has improved and if I get new pimples, they go away quickly. I never got the purge. I am wondering if antibiotics helped with that. Also, my skin seemed dry for a minute, but it was my skin getting ready to slough off. Overall, I believe the product is doing a fine job. I also use Cera VE Day and night moisturizer recommended by my doctor.”

9 / 10
anonymous · Taken for 1 to 6 months February 27, 2020

“So...I never comment on these sites, but I HAD to for Differin. It works so incredibly well when nothing else would, such as salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide, expensive face products such as NU skin, no dairy diet, etc. Of course, the purge did happen, and improvement wasn't linear (It would get better and then worse and then better and then way worse) but eventually it got good and stayed that way. It took around 4 months though for it to be consistently good, SO STICK TO IT. That's the only advice I have. JUST STICK TO IT AND DON'T GIVE UP, and it will work wonders.”

10 / 10
Sam February 26, 2020

“Did my fair share of research on this and finally bought this after being on proactive for 6 months (most recent product,many trips to derm and hundreds of $$ ). I use it at night followed by hydroboost extra dry . I use Cetaphil cleaser am pm and Cetaphil lotion am/as needed along with the differin pm and hydroboost pm. I had minor peeling and small bumps on my chin for a few days. Honestly tho after reading the reviews I was prepared for way worst. Don't let the reviews scare you from trying this, I'm 29 had acne since 13 and finally I'm close to clear and skin glowing. Plus my forehead wrinkle disappeared and it's only been a month...”

10 / 10
lazlodjarin February 16, 2020

“I’ve had severe cystic acne breakouts all over my face since the age of 18. I’ve tried every topical treatment, from cheaper drugstore washes to expensive ones from Sephora. I thought topicals would never work for me, and I thought I would have to just accept acne as a part of my life...until I tried Differin. I’ve had very minimal experience with dry skin side effects, but the effectiveness at getting rid of the acne itself was immediate. I use the gel as a full face mask and leave it on for 10 minutes. After, that I use oil-free, sensitive moisturizer. From other reviews, it seems like other people had a hard time when starting Differin? I didn’t experience this at all. Within a week my skin was clearer, and new breakouts went away within a day or two. For me the results were quick and painless. But my skin is built like steel and can withstand a lot. If there’s anyone else out there with very acne-prone, treatment-resistant skin like me. Try this.”

10 / 10
Teach · Taken for 6 months to 1 year February 12, 2020

“This Differin stuff works soo well. My skin can't handle applying it every day so I do about every other day but it is AMAZING for cystic acne. It doesn't do much for regular acne, but if you have cystic acne it works. I use to get like 1-2 giant cystic spots on average a week and now they have completely stopped. It's amazing. I might start to get one around my time of the month, but it'll go away quickly with this stuff. Start slow. Apply once a week for about 2 weeks then 2 times a week for another 2 weeks then bump it up to 3 times a week and see how your skin does, but you have to give it about 2 months to work. I didn't have any "purge" like others have, but I also started incredibly slowly which helps a lot.”

10 / 10
ahboycat · Taken for 1 to 6 months February 8, 2020

“I have been on adapelene 0.1% for almost two months now. I had written a review previously so this is an update. My skin is now mostly clear and the quality of my skin is much better overall- I call it the "retinoid glow". I do still get one or two blemishes but they aren't as inflamed. ;The purge is real but for me it only occurred when I increased my usage frequency from every other day to every day and when I increased it from twice a week to every other day. My purging phase consisted of inflamed blemishes that go away in two to three days. I used azelaic acid 20% in the day (which I had been using one month prior to using adapelene) and a sunscreen which contain 3% that contains niacinamide. Moisturiser: Cetaphil lotion. Cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser.”

8 / 10
howellh · Taken for 1 to 6 months February 6, 2020

“I have had hormonal and regular breakouts since I was near 16 years old. I suffered with minor to severe acne. I tried everything (and I mean that) to maintain my skin. October of 2019 I was doing research, and found Differin Gel. I was skeptical at first, it seemed to be a hit or miss with the reviews. I decided to go for it and purchase it at my local Walmart. The 1st week in I saw no difference, when week 2-3 hit, my skin had NEVER been this bad ever. But I knew from reading online that the purging stage was no joke. My skin was purging hard. I had big painful breakouts every where. It became very hard to be confident. I barely wanted to leave my house, let alone look at anyone without feeling insecure. By week 12, my skin was clearing up quickly. If you have the patience, try this product because the RESULTS WERE WORTH IT. My skin has never been this clear before. No matter how hard it gets, DON'T STOP. I will continue to use Differin for A LONG TIME.”

9 / 10
cherry_lyne February 2, 2020

“Skin type: oily + very, VERY acne prone Summary of review: DON'T GIVE UP even though the purge sucks!! The Differin purge lasted for about 16 to 18 weeks for me, but keep in mind that everyone's skin is different. It was horrible. My skin was dry, and waves and waves of nodules and cystic acne would spring up overnight. But all of those side effects started to disappear around week ten . Pimples would still appear, but they would come and go, and barely leave a mark since the PIH scars faded so quickly. I still have some discoloration from the purge, but overall my texture has evened out, I haven't had a single pimple since and my skin has become less oily than when I started. So don't be discouraged! The results at the end will be so much better than dropping out midway during the purge finding new products. So yup, the purge sucks :(. But stick through it! The results will take some time, but it's so worth it! Good luck, and don't give up!”

9 / 10
Sarah · Taken for 6 months to 1 year January 30, 2020

“Okay so, my acne was incurable, horrifying, and painful, NOTHING helped, until I tried differin. It took about 2 months to clear up, it stung like crazy and it hurt and it burnt but I went through it because it was my last option. After it finally cleared up my face was like a baby’s bum. Perfect. I love differin but It’s super expensive.”

10 / 10
Cynthia · Taken for less than 1 month January 27, 2020

“Terrible for my skin, it made my skin so dry, itchy and felt like it was on fire? How do I even heal my skin? It's been two days without using the soothing moisturizer and the differin gel and my skin is still have terrible effects from it”

1 / 10
Sad · Taken for 1 to 6 months January 27, 2020

“I had like a few breakout so went to dermatologist for medicine and they told me to use differin gel. I guess it works for some and not for all. Because I started with 2-4 pimples and then used the differin and now I have full blown acne. Like all over my face I used it consistently for 6 months. Never stopped until I realize it wasn’t working all it did was give me more acne and I hate my face and regret using this product. It said I would see difference In 12 weeks and no more acne but I saw a difference alright...... made my face horrible. So.. happy it works for some people I guess.”

1 / 10
gg · Taken for 1 to 6 months January 23, 2020

“Differin doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for me. The purging phase lasted about 2 months, but now my cheeks and chin are smooth and the scars are healing. To get the best results: 1. Wash you face once at night with a mild, non-acne treatment wash. I use Glossier Milk Jelly. 2. Dry your face with a paper towel. If you research how much bacteria lives in your towel, this will make sense.. 3. Put Differin on your face (don't over do it.. Use a small pea-size amount for the whole surface). Let it sit on your face without moisturizer for a few mins. 4. YOU MUST USE A STRONG MOISTURIZER, right after you use Differin and the morning after as well. This made all the difference. I wasn't doing this at first and it changed everything and allowed my skin to heal. I used Weleda Skin Food. It's a little pricey so sometimes I rotated it with Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion. They did the job! 5. Once a week I'd use a gentle exfoliater to get rid of the skin coming off.”

9 / 10
Sam · Taken for less than 1 month January 20, 2020

“I tried everything especially pills to get rid of acne but nothing worked . If you start using the wash and gel , you see results quickly . Also, a good foundation for your skin if you wear makeup like Clinique! But differin actually works good”

9 / 10

This information is NOT intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews might be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge and judgement of healthcare practitioners.

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