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  • Used to treat acne
  • Gel or cream
  • Do not use during pregnancy
  • Not suitable for children under 12 years of age

About Differin

Differin is an anti-acne treatment. The active substance in Differin is adapalene, a medicine which fights acne by preventing pores from getting clogged with dead skin. Differin is prescribed to treat acne vulgaris, a skin condition that manifests itself through pimples, blackheads and subcutaneous infections on the face, chest, back and/or shoulders. It can also be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

How to use Differin

Differin is available in cream and gel form. The cream is particularly suitable for dry skin. Differin is applied at night before going to bed. Thoroughly wash the areas to be treated with water. Make sure the skin is clean and dry before using this medicine. Avoid contact with the eyes, mouth or nostrils.


The general dosage guidelines are as follows:

  • Adults and children aged 12 and above: apply thinly to the affected areas once a day.


This medicine does not interact with alcohol. This medicine does not affect your ability to drive safely.

If you use more/forget to use Differin

If you use more Differin cream or gel than you were told to, or accidentally swallow the product, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you forget to take a dose of Differin, skip the missed dose. Do not apply an extra dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

When not to use Differin

Do not use Differin if you are allergic to any of its ingredients (see section 'What Differin contains').

When should this medicine be used with caution?

  • If you experience sensitivity or irritation when applying this medicine, stop using it and tell your doctor. You may be asked to use the product less often, or to stop using it until symptoms subside.
  • Avoid contact with the eyes, mouth or nostrils, and mucous membranes. If accidental contact does occur, immediately wash with lukewarm water.
  • Do not use this medicine on areas where you have cuts or scrapes or if you have a skin condition called eczema.
  • You should avoid exposure to sunlight and artificial UV light whilst using Differin.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not use Differin if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. If you fall pregnant while using Differin, the treatment must be discontinued and you should inform your doctor as soon as possible for a further follow-up.

Differin can be used during breastfeeding. To avoid contact exposure of the infant, application of Differin to the chest should be avoided.

Other medicines and Differin

Tell your doctor if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines. This includes medicines obtained without a prescription and herbal medicines.

There are no known interactions of Differin with other topical medicines. Nevertheless, concomitant use of Differin with other products in the same group (retinoids, Vitamin A derivatives) should be avoided.

  • Avoid concomitant use of Differin with deep cleansers or products that cause the skin to scale, peel or dry out.
  • Other acne products (containing benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin or clindamycin) may be used with Differin, but they must be applied in the morning and Differin at night.
  • Drug interaction with oral medicines is unlikely.

Side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Differin may cause the following side effects at the site of application:

Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):

  • Dry skin.
  • Irritation of the skin.
  • Burning sensation of the skin.
  • Redness of the skin (erythema).

Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):

  • Local skin reaction (contact dermatitis).
  • Skin discomfort.
  • Sunburn.
  • Itching of the skin (pruritus).
  • Peeling skin (exfoliation).
  • Acne.

Other side effects may include pain or swelling of the skin, and irritation, redness, itching or swelling of the eyelids.

If the side effects are severe or if you get any side effects that are not listed in the package leaflet, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What Differin contains

The active substance is adapalene 0.1%.

Package leaflet

Read the package leaflet before use. The official package leaflet of Differin is available for download here.

Reviewed by:

Dr Arco Verhoog, Pharmacist Registrationnumber: BIG: 19065378617 Last checked: 22-08-2023 | Still valid

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