Adapalene topical Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 25, 2022.
For the Consumer
Applies to adapalene topical: topical cream, topical gel/jelly, topical lotion, topical solution, topical swab
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
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
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
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
Pruritus, erythema, scaling, dryness, irritation, sunburn, and acne flares usually occurred during the first month of therapy and decreased thereafter. These side effects were reversible when treatment was discontinued.
Skin exfoliation was associated with skin exposed to mechanical abrasion (e.g., waxing).[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Persistent pruritus (up to 74%), persistent burning/stinging (up to 71%), erythema (up to 60%), scaling (up to 60%), pruritus (up to 60%), dryness (up to 48%), pruritus immediately after administration (up to 30%), skin stinging or burning (up to 22%)
Common (1% to 10%): Skin irritation, sunburn
Very common (10% or more): Burning (up to 60%); burning immediately after application (up to 30%)
Frequency not reported: Burning/stinging[Ref]
Burning and stinging usually occurred during the first month of therapy and decreased thereafter. These side effects were reversible when treatment was discontinued.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Dysmenorrhea[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Eyelid irritation, eyelid erythema, eyelid pruritus, eyelid swelling/edema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Tooth anomaly, tooth disorder[Ref]
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Allergic reaction
Postmarketing reports: Allergic contact dermatitis/allergic dermatitis[Ref]
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Lack of drug effect
Frequency not reported: Flu syndrome[Ref]
Frequently asked questions
More about adapalene topical
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Reviews (499)
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- En español
- Drug class: topical acne agents
Related treatment guides
1. "Product Information. Differin (adapalene topical)." Galderma Laboratories Inc (2001):
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.