Skin Care

How to Use Differin Gel for Acne Treatment at Home



by Lydia


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If you struggle with acne, Differin Gel is one of the best medicated treatments you can use. It can heal acne pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other skin imperfections. Read on to understand when and how to use Differin Gel and the possible side effects you could experience.

What is Differin Gel?

Differin Gel is a strong acne treatment from Differin that is formulated using 0.1% adapalene. Adapalene is a dermatologist-created retinoid medication that reduces inflammation and promotes new cell growth to heal and prevent acne. Unlike Retin-A, Adapalene is less likely to cause skin irritation if used carefully.

In 2016, Adapalene was approved by the FDA for over-the-counter acne treatments, and to date, it remains the only retinoid you can buy without a prescription. Now, when you need to use this retinoid, your best option is to buy the Differin Gel, as you can find it in different quantities at an affordable price.

Apart from treating acne, Differin Gel is an effective anti-aging gel since it boosts collagen production. The adapalene gel penetrates the skin layers to improve collagen, thus helping you tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Let us see what else the Differin gel can offer.

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The Differin Gel is formulated with the FDA-approved adapalene retinoid. You can get this gel online even without a prescription, and it is one of the best topical acne medications. It will treat acne pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Adapalene, which is found in a 0.1% quantity in the gel, was created by the best dermatologists as an alternative acne treatment retinoid for people prone to sudden skin irritation. Thus, it is your best gel for acne treatment at home.

The gel is designed to target mild to severe acne from deep within the pores, so you don't get a breakout. According to the manufacturer, this gel can make your acne worse during the first weeks of use, but your condition will gradually improve with continued use. It will eventually restore your best skin texture and coloration so you can enjoy radiant skin.

The Differin Gel is a water-based, aluminum-free formula you can apply in the morning or evening. In addition, it is a non-comedogenic formula without fragrances, alcohol, and other harmful ingredients. You can find it in different quantities, from a 30-day supply to a 180-day supply.


  • Very affordable
  • From a reputable brand with thousands of satisfied customers online
  • Formulated with 0.1% Adapalene to target acne and treat it from deep within
  • Ideal for people with severe and moderate acne
  • It will help clear acne scars and reduce hyperpigmentation
  • Good for people with sensitive skin
  • Ideal for daily use
  • Can help with skin renewal for radiant, younger-looking skin
  • Oil-free, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and aluminum-free
  • It is a non-comedogenic gel
  • Available in different quantities


  • Not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding moms
  • It can make your acne worsen during the first weeks of use

How Does the Differin Gel Work?

While many gels target acne from the pores, not many are as powerful and affordable as the Differin Gel. Here is how the gel works, from containing the best ingredients to ease of use and effectiveness.

1. With the Adapalene

For the longest time, Adapalene was a prescription-only retinoid and was only approved for over-the-counter selling by the FDA in 2016. It is the main active ingredient in the Differin Gel and acts as a multi-benefit retinoid approved by dermatologists to clear acne.

The Adapalene in this gel will help you treat and prevent acne in the future. In addition, you will it will help you prevent aging, dull, and discolored skin.

2. The gel penetrates both layers of your skin to unclog pores

When treating acne, you will need a product that can penetrate the avascular epidermis and the vascular dermis. These are the two main layers of your skin.

Naturally, your skin is always renewing itself, but the process requires it to shed dead skin cells to be replaced by new ones. Unfortunately, the problem with most people with acne is their skin's inability to shed dead cells fast, which leads to clogged pores. Clogged pores will then attract excess sebum and dirt and soon get infected, hence pus-filled pimples.

On the other hand, your clogged pores may not attract dirt or infections but will be filled with dead skin cells and sebum, hence the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.

The Differin Gel helps you prevent clogged pores. This review details how Adapalene, found in a 0.1% quantity in the gel, can heal acne vulgaris by allowing the dead skin cells to shed as soon as they reach the skin's surface. It normalizes the skin cell creation process so you won't deal with clogged pores, making it an ideal part of your skincare regimen if you have acne-prone skin.

3. It treats or reduces skin inflammation

Inflammatory acne, such as pus-filled pimples and cysts, manifests as painful bumps on your skin. To heal them, you will need a gel designed to reduce inflammation, and this Differin Gel does the job perfectly.

It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties thanks to Adapalene, which also reduces skin redness. In general, most topical retinoids such as Adapalene are powerful anti-inflammatory agents used in treating inflamed acne such as pustules and papules.

4. It prevents future breakouts

If you use this gell regularly, you will prevent acne breakouts from occurring since the skin cell creation process will not be interfered with by clogged pores, acne bacteria, or excess sebum. Similar to how other comedolytics such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and benzoyl peroxide work, Adapalene also helps you maintain smooth, radiant skin.

5. It does not cause severe irritation when applied

Any time you use a new acne treatment, you always worry about unforeseen allergic reactions you might have to deal with. Luckily, the Differin Gel is formulated for all skin types, including dry skin with mild to moderate acne. In addition, the Adapalene in it is an FDA-approved retinoid for treating acne even without prescription.

6. It boosts collagen production

The skin produces less collagen as you age, leading to dull, aging skin plagued with fine lines and wrinkles. If you want to boost collagen production for firmer and radiant skin, using the Differin gel will leave you with the best results. It penetrates the deeper layers of your skin to allow easier skin cell regeneration, allowing more collagen to be produced.

Because of the Adapalene, the gel also acts as an exfoliant that will reduce signs of aging. In addition, it comes as an easy-to-apply water-based gel that is gentle on your skin. You will notice fresher-looking skin within weeks of using it, and it would be best to continue using it as part of your skincare routine.

How to Use Differin Gel

When you have bought your Differin gel, it is time to start a new skincare routine to rid acne, fine lines and wrinkles, and aging spots. But, as with all powerful skin products, you need precaution and discipline when using the treatment.

Before you apply it, here are some precautions you need to take.

  1. Test it before applying. Usually, the Differin Gel takes up to four days for any allergic reaction to occur. Apply it on your forehead or a small patch on your face and wait to see if any reaction occurs before reapplying. If you notice any irritation, do not start using it, and consult your doctor or dermatologist for advice. If no irritation occurs, you can start using it.
  2. Consult your doctor about any medication you take daily for advice before using Differin gel. Differin gel is a strong treatment, and you will need to guarantee zero drug interactions for better health results.
  3. Avoid using the gel if pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, do not apply it on broken skin, i.e., when you have a sunburn, a cut, or other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Once you have clear these three precautions, this is how to use Differin Gel for acne.

  1. Wash skin or face with gentle soaps or skin cleansers. Before applying the gel, make sure the skin is clean and pat dry.
  2. Apply a thin film of the Differin Gel. Make sure to apply it across your face evenly so it can clear acne and even your skin tone. You can use your fingers to spread a small amount all over the face. It is best to apply the cream daily for the best results. However, it is not recommended to use it in higher amounts as this could damage your skin. Apply it at the same time every day so you can remember easier. In case of a missed dose, it is best to resume the application the following day.
  3. Keep the cap closed after applying so the gel doesn't oxidize, which could render it ineffective.
  4. Wash your hands after applying the gel to ensure you don't transfer it to foods and other areas.
  5. Apply a moisturizer. The Differin Gel is a drying topical retinoid, so you will need to moisturize at least twice every day.
  6. Use sunscreen if you apply during the day. Since the Differin Gel can make your skin photosensitive, it is best to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. In addition, you can wear protective clothing to help prevent sunburns.

Possible Side Effects of Differin Gel

Even though the Differin Gel is safe for topical use, you can experience the following side effects when you start using it.

  1. Skin redness and mild irritation.
  2. Skin drying and itchiness.
  3. Worsening acne or purging during the first weeks of using the gel.

If any of these side effects carry on longer and don't decrease as you get used to the gel, it is best to consult your healthcare professional to provide medical advice. They can assess your skin to tell if it is worth continuing with the product and propose other medicines you can use.

In addition, you can also make sure you don't use the Differin gel with salicylic acid and other AHAs like lactic and glycolic acids, as they can aggravate the redness and irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Differin Gel

a) What is it?

Differin Gel is an acne-fighting gel formulated with 0.1% adapalene which is an FDA-approved over-the-counter retinoid. The Differin Gel is also FDA-approved as an over-the-counter acne treatment, and it is available online and in most beauty stores.

b) Is the Differin Gel effective?

Yes, since the gel contains Adapalene, it targets acne-causing bacteria, acne vulgaris, inside the skin pores. As a result, it unclogs your skin pores and reduces inflammation for smoother and even skin.

c) Do I need a doctor's prescription to use Differin gel?

You do not need a prescription to buy and use the Differin Gel. It is FDA-approved as an over-the-counter acne treatment, and it comes with a clear step-by-step guide on how to apply it safely.

d) How does the Differin Gel work?

It prevents your skin pores from clogging, and it reduces inflammation and redness which are common acne symptoms. With continued use, Differin Gel will prevent future breakouts, balance skin cell production, and boost collagen production for healthy skin.

e) How do I use Differin Gel?

Wondering how to use Differin gel? Well, you will only need to apply it once daily. First, apply a thin layer of the gel using your fingers and spread it all across your face. After it is fully absorbed, you will need to apply a moisturizer and sunscreen before heading out.

You can also decide to apply the Differin Gel at night, in which case you will only need to apply a night cream to prevent dryness.

When applying the gel, you will need to avoid applying it to your lips, eyes, and mouth. If it comes to these areas, you need to rinse with a lot of water and consult your doctor if any allergy or irritation occurs.

f) Is Differin Gel good for my skin type?

Differin Gel is ideal for all skin types and tones. For best results, cleanse and tone your face before applying the gel. Then, apply moisturizer to prevent dryness. Also, if you anticipate sun exposure, make sure you apply sunscreen since the gel will make your skin photosensitive.

g) How long does the gel take to work?

While the gel starts working the instant you apply it, it can take several weeks for you to see visible improvements. Also, it may worsen your acne symptoms during the first few weeks, but these should decrease with continued use.

h) Is it a heavy gel?

The Differin Gel is water-based, and you will only need to apply a thin film so it won't feel heavy when you wear it beneath makeup.

i) At what age can I start using Differin Gel?

Differin gel is ideal for all people aged 12 years and above exhibiting mild to moderate acne symptoms. In some cases, it is best to consult a dermatologist for severe acne medication.


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