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Differin gel

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What is Differin gel?

Differin gel is a prescription acne treatment that is effective against blackheads, whiteheads, and oily skin. It also reduces inflammation, redness, and improves your overall skin texture and tone. It is also an effective treatment for hormonal acne.

The gel is applied just once a day and can treat acne on the face, chest or back. It can be used on its own or with other acne treatments such as antibiotics or other topical treatments.

You can buy Differin 0.1% gel online with free next-day delivery here at euroClinix.

How does Differin gel work?

Differin works by speeding up your skin’s natural exfoliation, helping to unblock your pores, improve oily skin and prevent future breakouts. Research has found that Differin gel significantly reduces inflammation with minimal side effects compared to other acne treatments on the market.

The active ingredient of Differin is Adapalene. Adapalene belongs to a group of prescription acne medications called topical retinoids, alongside Tretinoin. These medicines specifically help to regulate the turnover of skin cells, the process in which your skin sheds dead skin cells. This reduces excess sebum (oil) which escapes through the opened pores.

Adapalene gel also has anti-inflammatory properties. It targets white blood cells (leukocytes).These cells typically damage the tissue and cause inflammation when they detect acne bacteria. Adapalene inhibits this immune response, thereby reducing inflammation.

How long does Differin gel take to work?

How Differin gel works will vary between individuals; no one person will have the same experience with a treatment as someone else.

The majority of people will start to see results after around 4 weeks of using it and their symptoms will have improved significantly after 3 months. Your doctor may need to prescribe it for longer if you need it.

If you have not noticed any significant improvement after 3 months, then you should consult your doctor for an alternative.

Can I use Differin gel?

Differin gel is safe for most people with mild to moderate acne. Differin is also effective for hormonal acne which is as a result of hormonal changes due to:

  • perimenopause or menopause
  • changing birth control
  • puberty

If you are currently pregnant or planning to conceive, you should not use Differin gel. Your doctor will also advise you to use contraception whilst using Differin to avoid getting pregnant.

If you are breastfeeding, it should be safe for you to use as long as it’s not applied to your chest. Consult your doctor first if you are not sure.

If you have had an allergic reaction to Adapalene or any of the other inactive ingredients, you should not take Differin and consult your doctor for an alternative.

You should also check with your doctor or dermatologist before using Differin if you have another skin condition as well as acne, such as rosacea or eczema.

How do I use Differin gel?

You should apply the gel to the affected areas once a day. Most apply the gel before bed, but this may depend on whether you use any other topical acne treatments.

You should apply the gel using these simple steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before applying any products.
  2. Cleanse your face with water or a gentle cleanser.
  3. Squeeze a thin layer of gel onto your fingertips and gently rub it into the affected areas.
  4. Apply the gel to the whole area, not just to individual pimples.
  5. Wash your hands once you have finished applying the gel.
  6. Finish by applying a gentle moisturiser or SPF (sunscreen) if you are using the gel in the morning.

Applying more gel than you have been prescribed will not speed up treatment and you will be more likely to experience skin irritation.

If you forget a dose, skip it and just take your next dose at the regular time.

What precautions should I take whilst using Differin gel?

Differin gel is for external use only. Avoid contact with:

  • nostrils
  • mouth
  • eyes
  • patches of eczema
  • broken skin (cuts or grazes)
  • sunburn

You should also be cautious when applying Differin to sensitive areas such as the neck. Avoid allowing Differin to accumulate in the crevices around the nose to prevent adverse effects.

It’s important that you also limit sun exposure whilst using Differin, as it can make you more prone to sunburn.

Can I shave whilst using Differin gel?

Yes, you can shave whilst using Differin.

However, as Differin can make your skin quite sensitive, especially in the first few weeks, you should use gentle shaving products. You should not use wax to remove any unwanted hair.

You should also moisturise after shaving to help prevent any dryness.

What products can I use with Differin gel?

There are some skincare products you should avoid whilst using Differin as they can cause additional irritation or may reduce the effectiveness of the gel.

You should avoid using any products that:

  • contain harsh chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids (e.g glycolic acid) or beta hydroxy acids (e.g salicylic acid)
  • contain retinol - it is a weaker variant of retinoids and, when used in combination, can cause additional skin reactions
  • are comedogenic - makeup and skincare that block the pores

Instead, look for skincare products such as lotions and creams that contain gentler ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide or natural ingredients. You should also look for makeup labelled as non-comedogenic.

These can be used in addition to Differin and, in some cases, can alleviate some of the side effects.

Can I use Differin with other treatments?

Differin can be used with other acne treatments, as long as it is recommended and/or prescribed by a doctor.

The gel is often combined with oral antibiotics such as Clindamycin or Doxycycline to help tackle the bacteria causing the acne. This is why several combination treatments exist such as Duac, that also contain an antibiotic.

If you use other topical acne treatments such as a benzoyl peroxide gel, you should consult your doctor before using Differin. They might recommend that you apply one of the two at night and the other in the morning, which will reduce your risk of side effects.

What are the side effects of Differin gel?

Part of the treatment process when using topical retinoids is an effect known as purging or retinisation.

Because the rate of skin turnover is affected, it can leave your skin appearing worse than what it was before. This is part of the process and is nothing to worry about. Whilst relatively common, not everyone experiences skin purging and if you do, these effects should clear up on their own once your body has adjusted to treatment.

A list of potential side effects can be seen below.

Common (1 in 10)
  • dry skin
  • skin irritation
  • redness
  • tingling or burning sensations
  • sensitive skin

Uncommon (1 in 100)
  • local skin reaction
  • itchiness
  • peeling

Please refer to the patient information leaflet for a full list of possible side effects. If you experience any serious adverse effects whilst using Differin (e.g an allergic reaction), consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Does Differin make you more sensitive to sunlight?

Yes, like several acne treatments, Differin can make you more sensitive to UV light. This puts you more at risk of sunburn.

For that reason, you should apply a SPF 50 sunscreen to the areas where you apply Differin gel. You should also avoid sun beds (solariums) and going outside when UV levels are high.

If you do experience sunburn, do not apply Differin to that area until it has healed.

How do I buy Differin gel online?

You can buy Differin gel online here at euroClinix® for acne. All you have to do is complete a quick online consultation which one of our UK registered doctors will review. Once approved for treatment, your order will be dispensed and dispatched to your door with free next-day delivery.

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Anand Abbot Written by our editorial team
Last reviewed 21-09-2022
Differin gel information
Product nameDifferin
Active ingredient(s)Adapalene
ManufacturerGalderma
Trustpilot rating5/5
Trustpilot reviews1
AvailabilityOut of stock
DescriptionAcne treatment that reduces inflammation
ExemptionSubject to medical prescription
AdministrationTopical
PresentationGel
Available dosage0.1%
ApplicationAdults over 18 with mild to moderate acne
PosologyConsult patient leaflet
Drug classRetinoid-like compounds
Alcohol consumptionNo known interaction
When pregnant/breastfeedingNot advised
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