Skip to Content

User Reviews for Adapalene topical to treat Acne

Also known as: Differin, Plixda

Adapalene topical has an average rating of 6.4 out of 10 from a total of 447 ratings for the treatment of Acne. 57% of those users who reviewed Adapalene topical reported a positive effect, while 31% reported a negative effect.

Adapalene topical Rating Summary

6.4/10 average rating

447 ratings from 467 user reviews.

Compare all 326 medications used in the treatment of Acne.

10
29%
9
15%
8
13%
7
4%
6
2%
5
3%
4
2%
3
3%
2
6%
1
22%

Reviews for Adapalene topical

frankie joey · Taken for 6 months to 1 year April 30, 2021

Differin (adapalene): “My biggest regret in life was taking Accutane before actually trying out differin gel. the gel helped me more than the tablets ever could. Mixed that with taking probiotics, digestive enzymes, avoiding dairy and limiting junk my skin has never been so clear. Now I only need to focus on improving acne scars”

9 / 10
Maca · Taken for 1 to 6 months April 21, 2021

“I’ve been using adapalene (differin) for almost 2 months... haven’t seen much of a difference yet but I'm trying to stick with it. I didn’t have much acne though so I think it’s gonna be hard to see any difference at all.”

3 / 10
Gugu · Taken for 1 to 6 months April 16, 2021

Differin (adapalene): “I would never ever recommend this gel to anyone. I already stopped using it but the acne didn’t go away. They keep on coming back everyday. My face was never that bad, it hurts to touch, I can’t sleep. I hate it, I literally cry thinking why I used it for my face it was so much better before. I wish this acne go away soon :(”

1 / 10

Frequently asked questions

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
Willi25 September 3, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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
Cris · Taken for 1 to 6 months April 14, 2019

Differin (adapalene): “YOU HAVE TO STICK WITH IT FOR AT LEAST 4 MONTHS AND YOUR SKIN WILL GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER. But Differin is very worth it! I see all of these bad reviews where people give a bad review and wonder if they used the product right and read how it works. It works by pushing everything in your pores out and strip your skin making your face worse for a while, but then it will clear right up. You may peel until your skin gets used to it (only took me a week) Stick with it! Not only does it get rid of the acne, I makes all of your skin better. My dark spots and redness in general gone away. My face is so much healthier. Don't leave reviews until you have given it at least 4 months, that's very important. It WILL take a while to clear up. That's how it works. I've been dealing with acne for 20 years and absolutely nothing else worked. This is the first thing that has ever worked.”

10 / 10
elsabethgray · Taken for less than 1 month June 18, 2014

Differin (adapalene): “I began using Differin after I had an experience with some mild acne. The first two weeks were horrible - my acne went from mild to severe in a matter of days. However, that 's how the medicine works. It pushes the acne out and allows your skin to heal. So even though the first two weeks are hell, it does work. Once the initial breakout clears you're home free.”

9 / 10

More FAQ

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
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
Life changer!! · Taken for 1 to 2 years September 9, 2013

Differin (adapalene): “I am a 29 year old female who has suffered from severe acne vulgaris all my life and was recently diagnosed. I used everything known to man and when I finally saw a dermatologist he prescribed me this as well as a face wash. The first two weeks I had experienced redness, peeling, pain, hot to touch skin (I used cocoa butter to soothe it) just as the doctor said I would but later into the 3rd and 4th week and even now my skin is extremely clear and almost flawless. The difference expedited the shedding of my skin and caused the old dead scarred skin to peel off revealing new soft youthful and un-scarred skin. My skin is very beautiful now and I will continue to use this medicine until my acne subsides. Great product.”

10 / 10
Anonymous September 16, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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
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
jessicabfmv<3 June 26, 2014

Differin (adapalene): “I have mild acne and I was starting to get really frustrated with it, so I saw my doctor. He put me on Differin and told me to use it on only the spots themselves and not on my whole face. I did this before bed. When I woke up the next day I was amazed to see that all my spots were flat and much less red than they had been the previous night. I would definitely recommend Differin for people who have mild acne as well.”

10 / 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
nick June 11, 2019

Differin (adapalene): “I have mixed feelings about whether I would recommend this to other people. I am on week 13 & my skin is totally clear and has been for 10 days. However, my skin was extremely bad throughout the entire first 3 months using Differin. The purging was worse than anything I have ever experienced & particularly gruesome-looking. I actually felt like I couldn't leave the house. Also, this would happen very seriously in concentrated areas. As soon as one had begun to heal another would appear directly next to it, 5 times over. I now have substantial pigmentation and scarring. It's emotionally distressing not see any progress for 3 months! Throughout that time it would often suddenly look better, only to look much worse a few days later. I often mistakenly thought the purging had ended. I think Differin *works* if you persevere for 12 weeks but if I had been aware of how traumatic the purging process would be I probably would have tried alternatives.”

6 / 10
V · Taken for less than 1 month August 19, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “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
melissajhael April 23, 2014

Differin (adapalene): “I love Differin. I seriously cannot live without it! My face is acne free for the first time ever! In the beginning yes you might not notice any changes but just keep using it day after day and after a few months you'll see the progress.”

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
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
:) · Taken for 1 to 6 months August 5, 2019

Differin (adapalene): “I’ve been on differin for around 5 months and I have to say, this product has really made a positive impact on my skin. It is so soft and pretty much free of active acne, albeit I have some hyperpigmentation issues to work on (which differin is helping with). DO NOT QUIT. I broke out sooo bad for the first three months and wanted to stop, but I kept pushing forward. It really does get better. The Differin purge is real, but conquerable!”

8 / 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
Brend January 14, 2015

Differin (adapalene): “I started having acne problems after a series of surgeries. I tried many different things to get rid of my acne but nothing worked until I tried Differin. I've been using it for 2 years already and since then been acne free, I still use it at night on occasional acne breakouts and all disappear the next morning. Awesome acne medication !”

10 / 10
Natashaishereeeeeee July 9, 2017

Differin (adapalene): “Patience, patience, patience! I have been using this product for 14 weeks. The first two months were awful. Had tiny little white heads ALL over my face. Add my cystic acne into the mix, and you can imagine how upset I was. I honestly felt like stopping this product, but decided that I'd tried it for 2 months and wanted my skin to get used to a routine. I AM SO GLAD I WAITED IT OUT! I currently only have one, YES ONE active pimple on my jawline. I have suffered from acne since I was 22. I'll be 27 in a few months so this is honestly a miracle for me. Don't give up, guys. It took me 14 weeks to finally see clear, beautiful skin again!”

10 / 10
HPD October 16, 2019

Differin (adapalene): “I've been using differin going 13 weeks now and I'm still breaking out in painful cystic acne EVERYWHERE. I've got 10+ cystic pimple on my forehead whereas I've never had them there before, and it's been two weeks and they're still not gone. It's painful, itchy, makes you self-conscious AF. I hate it. If your skin isn't too bad but you're thinking about it, find an alternative. It's not worth it. I feel like I have depression because of this.”

1 / 10
howell December 21, 2019

Differin (adapalene): “I’m 20 years years old and have had break outs since I was about 16. I don’t necessarily have acne, but very bad break outs, mostly hormonal. I started doing research and found differin gel. Now, the reviews were extremely scattered. I saw plenty of good and bad reviews. I went out and got this gel at my local walmart. The first 1-2 weeks were completely fine,no difference in my skin at all. The 3-4 week mark hit, I was breaking out BAD. PAINFUL HUGE PIMPLES and my skin was dry too. I kept pushing and continued to use it, even though my confidence was out the window, I even struggled with wanting to leave my house. I’m on the 8 week mark right now, and my skin looks pretty damn good. Scarring, a few active spots. I like this product A LOT. I’m not even at the full 12 weeks yet and things are looking up for sure. If you have the patience to go through the terrible purging phase, then get this product. KEEP GOING, DO NOT STOP. IT WILL BE WORTH IT.”

8 / 10
.nik · Taken for 1 to 6 months December 30, 2020

Differin (adapalene): “Hello I was excited to start this product. I knew I was going to have face purge. However it has been over 2 months and my face is really red and has so much acne. My face is worse than when I started. I don't want to give up but it is making it so much worse and I feel so ugly - disappointed.”

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

Differin (adapalene): “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
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

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.

Learn more about Acne

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Drugs.com Health Center

Mayo Clinic Reference