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User Reviews for Adapalene topical to treat Acne

Also known as: Differin, Plixda

The following 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.

Adapalene topical Rating Summary

User Ratings
30% (124)
15% (64)
13% (54)
5% (19)
3% (11)
3% (13)
2% (10)
3% (13)
5% (21)
21% (90)
6.5/10 Average Rating
419 ratings from 442 user reviews

Compare all 321 medications used in the treatment of Acne.

Reviews for Adapalene topical

mj · Taken for 6 months to 1 year June 8, 2020

“My positive experience with adapalene included consistency, moisturizing, and a lot of patience. I never had severe acne, but I wanted to get rid of the few pimples I had. When first using it, my mild acne got much worse and turned into large cystic acne that scarred terribly. I was embarrassed to go out with friends because my acne had never been this bad. However, after about 2 months, I started seeing slightly clearer skin. After 4 months, my skin was clearer than it ever had been. The catch is that I also started a birth control around 4 months of using adapalene, so I probably should have isolated the treatments to see which was effective. All I know is I have consistently applied adapalene for 10 months and my skin has been clear for 6 months.”

8 / 10
jmp · Taken for 1 to 6 months June 7, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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 (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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
Mimi75 February 2, 2020

“Do NOT USE!!! Severe allergic reaction! Caused atopic/contact dermatitis eye area I've been suffering for 3 months. Going to Dr. finally for steroids and treatment for eyes. Swollen eye lids underneath eye area scaly and just awful! Watery itchy eyes Can't wear makeup. I'm on prednisone for overall allergy. I have to replace all my makeup brushes. Wash everything this product came into contact with. I wish I never bought this!!! Better off sticking to what your skin knows and is used to. My reaction is less common and severe. Caused dizziness fatigue and shortness of breath. We don't always think these things can happen to us but they can Our skin is special sensitive and we need to think before we put products like this on.”

1 / 10
cherry_lyne February 2, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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
Mj · Taken for 6 months to 1 year January 26, 2020

“I use differin gel for late 30’s acne , moderate to severe , and it has cleared up my skin almost completely , nothing else really worked like this. First few days lots of bad dryness., I use it only every 3 days otherwise my skin is too dry but I get maybe one pimple a week . It took 2 weeks to work but once it did my skin cleared up in 1 week.”

9 / 10
gg · Taken for 1 to 6 months January 23, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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

Differin (adapalene): “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
sis · Taken for 1 to 2 years January 16, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “I’ve been using the differin adapalene gel for a year now, along with the differin moisturizer. I have also been using the new cleanser, since it came out. Differin for me started out horribly. My skin burned, peeled, then purged and it was awful but afterwards it got better. However, the gel is NOT a miracle product. It does work to heal breakouts faster, however it does not prevent them. I struggle with acne on the face, chest, shoulders, and back. I would recommend the cleanser 100% for the face, and I would recommend the gel to people with mild acne on the face. I think if benzoyl peroxide could be sold higher than 10% and they had that, it would be better for the body, as it does make breakouts smaller and helps them heal faster, but for me it feels like a waste of time and product for the body. The moisturizer is great. **If you have dry and/or sensitive skin, I do not recommend the gel for you!!**”

7 / 10
ahboycat January 14, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “I had mild to moderate acne. By that I mean 3-4 active blemishes at any one time. But the marks they leave behind had accumulated since they take so much longer to disappear so I decided to do something about it. I have been using adapelene 0.1% for about 6 weeks now. But for the first 3 weeks I only used it twice a week. My skin cleared up completely. For the past 3 weeks I have increased the frequency to every other night. For the first two weeks my skin wasn't showing much changes. Now it is the third week into this new routine and I am experiencing dryness and irritation around the eyes and mouth. These dry patches would burn slightly when I apply moisturiser or sunscreen. Not the best feeling in the world but bearable. 5 new blemishes have also started popping up. 3 of these were actually small comedones that never really surfaced until now. I suspect the other two were microcomedones deep within. This is a difficult stage but I am determined to power through.”

7 / 10
Bowdie January 12, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “In November 2019, I noticed a couple of breakouts (one or two per week) on my left cheek and decided to use this product. It’s week 7 and my acne is SO bad. I started out with one big papule on my left cheek and one pustule. Clear everywhere else. At the moment everything is inflamed (7 weeks in) and I have 3 big papules, 1 pastule and 1 cystic pimple on my left cheek, 2 papules on my right cheek, 1 papule on my forehead, and 3 cystic pimples on my chin. Plus I’m left with deep red marks from all of these pimples. I haven’t changed my skincare routine, same birth control, etc. so I know differin has had a bad effect on my skin. I do however have no blackheads on my nose and chin which I used to have a lot of. Still hoping that it might get better. Pretty much given up as you should start seeing improvement by week 8 and my skin won’t be looking like week 1 or better any time soon. However, it may work for you! Just beware as the “purge” ruined my skin!”

3 / 10
Ash · Taken for less than 1 month January 9, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “Starting from age 15 till now age 33 I’ve fought the good fight against acne. Nothing worked. I saw a dermatologist and was prescribed differin gel. The first four applications or so, all good. After that, peeling and pain. I thought about pushing on but I decided clear skin wasn’t worth that much pain. I stopped using it after 6 applications, but it took a few weeks for the pain and peeling to stop. After that, I suddenly had terrible acne. I had it in places I had never had it before. My face was covered. After a couple of months, my face returned to semi-normal acne levels. I decided to try to treat the acne at its source, so I got a small tube of benzoyl peroxide and applied it. It was like a miracle cure. Overnight I had clear skin for the first time in years. I use it every few days. I recommend it to anyone suffering like I was!”

1 / 10

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