Skip to main content

Can Tazorac and Differin be used together?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 21, 2022.

Tazorac (tazarotene) vs Differin (adapalene)

Official answer


Tazorac and Differin are not usually used together, instead patients tend to use either Tazorac or Differin. Tazorac and Differin are both topicals retinoid (related to vitamin A) therefore work in a similar way.

Is Differin (adapalene) or Tazorac (tazarotene) better for acne?

In a clinical trial comparing adapalene 0.3% gel to tazarotene 0.1% gel, at the 12 week assessment both gels had similar improvements in acne severity. The reduction in number of acne lesions was:

  • 61% decrease using adapalene 0.3% gel
  • 51% decrease using tazarotene 0.1% gel

Therefore adapalene 0.3% gel was 10% more effective at reducing acne lesion numbers compared to tazarotene 0.1% gel.

In the same clinical trial they studied which treatment was more tolerable by comparing the level of side effects experienced by each group. The side effect levels at 12 weeks were:

  • 3.5% for Adapalene 0.3% gel
  • 14% for tazarotene 0.1% gel

This result shows that adapalene 0.3% gel was more tolerable than tazarotene 0.1% gel, as the adapalene 0.3% gel group had 10.5% less side effects.

What are Differin and Tazorac used to treat?

Differin is used to treat acne in patients who are at least 12 years old.

  • Differin is available as a 0.1% cream, gel and lotion, there is also a stronger gel available which is 0.3%.

Tazorac is used to treat certain types of acne and plaque psoriasis. Tazorac products and strengths have different conditions indications and age limitations.

  • Tazorac gel 0.05% treats plaque psoriasis in patients at least 12 years old
  • Tazorac gel 0.1% treats plaque psoriasis and facial acne vulgaris in patients 12 years and older.
  • Tazorac cream 0.05% treats plaque psoriasis in patients over 18 years old.
  • Tazorac cream 0.1% treats acne vulgaris in patients over 12 years old, and also treats plaque psoriasis in patients over 18 years old.

Bottom line:

  • Differin and Tazorac are not usually used together.
  • Differin is used to treat acne. Tazorac in used to treat some types of acne and also plaque psoriasis
  • In a study adapalene 0.3% gel showed similar clinical improvements in acne when compared to tazarotene 0.1% gel
  • Adapalene 0.3% gel had less side effect than tazarotene 0.1% gel, so adapalene 0.3% gel was better tolerated.

Related medical questions

Drug information

Related support groups