Differin Cream/Gel (0.1%)

One of the most popular topical acne treatments, Differin (which comes in cream or gel form) helps to reduce skin inflammation and improve the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads and pustules on the skin (what we commonly refer to as ‘spots’). Applied once daily, Differin provides effective relief from the symptoms of mild to moderate acute acne. Additionally, Differin aids natural exfoliation, leaving skin looking clear and breakout-free.

From £29.95

What is Differin used for?

Differin is a prescription-only acne treatment that is applied directly to the skin, providing relief from the symptoms of acne (most commonly the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules) and aiding the skin’s natural exfoliation process. Used daily, Differin will help to clear blocked pores, ensuring that nasty breakouts are kept at bay. 

Differin is used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate acne. If your acne is more severe, you should consider using Differin alongside topical or oral antibiotics. 

How does Differin work?

Differin contains an active ingredient called adapalene, a form of vitamin A which helps to stem the growth of keratin skin cells which can block pores. Blocked pores can lead to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, and often inflammation of the skin. By decreasing the amount of keratin skin cells, Differin can reduce the formation of spots or inflammation. 

Differin also aids in increasing the natural turnover of skin cells, which helps to exfoliate the skin’s outer layers. This will help to ensure that pores stay unblocked, reducing the chance of further breakouts. 

Differin alternatives

Acne is a very common skin condition, and therefore there is a range of treatments available. As with most conditions, sufferers of acne may find some treatments more effective than others. 

Differin is a prescription-only acne treatment. If you suffer from acne, it’s recommended that, before trying a prescription medication, you give one of the many available over-the-counter treatments a try. Over-the-counter acne treatments include:

  • Acnecide Daily Cleanser
  • Acnecide Gel
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser


How do I use Differin?

Whether using Differin gel or cream, it should be applied to the affected areas once daily. Using clean fingertips, apply a small amount to the area and rub in gently (for best results, this should be done in the evening after washing the skin with a mild cleanser).

To ensure Differin can be most effective, it should be used continuously for up to three months. You should see an improvement in your acne symptoms after using Differin for a few weeks. 

While it is perfectly safe to use other skin products like cosmetics and moisturisers alongside Differin, you should wait until it is fully absorbed into the skin before applying them. 

Who is Differin suitable for?

Differin is suitable for adults and adolescents aged 12 and over who suffer from the symptoms of acute acne. Differin is NOT suitable for pregnant women or those thinking of becoming pregnant (consult your GP for more information).

Differin side effects

As with any topical treatment, Differin may cause an allergic reaction in rare cases. To ensure you are not allergic to Differin, you should conduct a spot test (applying the product to a small patch of skin) before commencing treatment. 

If you do experience any side effects from using Differin, these will likely include:

  • A skin rash
  • Itchy or red skin
  • Dry skin
  • A stinging, burning, or tingling sensation

If you experience these (or any other) side effects while using Differin, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Differin warnings

When using Differin, avoid contact with the mouth, eyes, nostrils, or other sensitive parts of the body. If contact occurs, rinse immediately with warm water. You should not use Differin on broken skin or if you have eczema. If you experience skin irritation or sensitivity while using Differin, stop treatment and consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Other acne treatments (containing benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin or erythromycin) may be used in combination with Differin, but these should be applied in the morning (and Differin should be applied at night). 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Differin is NOT suitable for use by pregnant women. If you become pregnant during treatment, you should stop using Differin immediately and inform your GP as soon as possible.
  • Differin can be used during breastfeeding; however, to avoid exposure to the infant, it should not be applied to the chest.

Differin Ingredients

Differin Cream: The active ingredient is adapalene 0.1%. The other ingredients are carbomer 934P, macrogol-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate, glycerol (E422), natural squalane, methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218), propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216), disodium edetate, methyl glucose sesquistearate, phenoxyethanol, cyclomethicone, sodium hydroxide, and water.

Differin Gel: The active ingredient is adapalene 0.1%. The other ingredients are carbomer 940, edetate disodium, methylparaben, poloxamer 182, propylene glycol, purified water, and sodium hydroxide. May contain hydrochloric acid to adjust pH.


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