How To Use Differin?

Differin® contains adapalene — a synthetic retinoid analogue that is used in treating mild to moderate acne. Differin is better tolerated than other retinoid products, with reports of significantly lesser skin dryness and irritation. In this article, we will discuss everything you should know on how to use Differin to clear your acne.

I happen to use it in my evening skincare routine. I’m using it once every two days and pairing it with a hydrating moisturizer has worked great for me so far!


So, where does Differin fit in the retinoid family?
There are three generations of retinoids:

  • First generation –  retinol, tretinoin (retinoic acid) and isotretinoin
  • Second generation – etretinate and its metabolite acitretin.
  • Third generation – adapalene* and tazarotene

Before starting on any retinoid preparation, it is helpful to read through this guideline.

1) When to apply?
I personally prefer using the cream as part of my night time skincare routine. Don’t forget to add a sunscreen to your day time skincare routine when you’re using Differin.

2) Start off slow.
If you’re new to using retinoids, remember to start off slow. This will help reduce the skin irritation or initial breakouts. I suggest using it sparingly during the first few weeks. Use a pea-sized amount of the cream once every three nights then gradually work up a tolerance to use it every alternate night or nightly. This works very well with patients with mild to moderate acne, with open and closed comedones.

3) Pea-sized is all you need.
It’s the same with other retinoids. Less is more. Only a pea sized amount is enough to lightly coat the entire face. Just squeeze a pea-sized amount into your index finger and lightly dab it across your cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. You can also use it sparingly over the neck and décolletage

4) Patience darling. All that purging is not bad.
Since it speeds up skin turnover (the rate at which the skin cells shed and replaced), you might notice a purge. The micro comedones that were skin deep will turn into whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and you might note what is called ‘an initial breakout flare’. As the Differin begins to work, it reduces the build up and congestion around your pores and your skin will be more clearer. Normally purging occurs for 4-6 weeks (which is the time needed for your skin to completely renew itself). Once purging subsides, you will notice the change in your skin texture and appearance.

5) Apply on dry skin
After cleansing your face with a gentle face wash, you need to wait for about 10-15 minutes before you use Differin. Applying it on wet skin can cause sensitization and irritation as it disrupts the protective barriers on your skin.

6) Buffer ‘em up!
If your skin is sensitive, you can apply Differin first and then apply your moisturizer to minimize the risk of dryness or irritation. Whether you mix the retinoid with a moisturizer/serum or apply the moisturizer afterwards, they have the same effect. All these methods help to make the retinoid experience more tolerable.

7) Avoid harsh topicals
Care should be taken if you want to use Differin paired with other topicals which includes AHAs and BHAs. I prefer to wait until you are comfortable with your skin’s tolerance to the retinoid before deciding to combine this treatment with other anti-aging products. But if you feel your skin can handle both, then you continue using Differin during the night and AHAs/BHAs during daytime.

Differin 0.1% is available in UAE in both the gel and cream formulations.

The price for a 30 gm tube is AED 22.
** Please consult your dermatologist for further questions or concerns.

Sahar x


  1. 2nd May 2017 / 5:13 pm

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm glad you found the post useful! 🙂

  2. 6th May 2017 / 12:21 am

    Lovely post 🙂

  3. Nimma Khanchandani
    8th May 2017 / 2:35 pm

    Useful info #SaharReviews ��❤

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