Differin Cream (Adapalene)

(℞) Prescription Required

    Differin (Adapalene) Dosage and Side Effects

    DIFFERIN is used for treating acne in patients 12 years of age and older.

    Proper Use of this medication

    Usual dose:

    Use DIFFERIN once a day at night before you go to bed. You should first wash your face with a gentle cleanser and blot it dry with a soft towel—do not rub your face. Then, apply a thin film of DIFFERIN to the areas where you have acne. Usually, four pea-sized amounts of DIFFERIN cream or gel, should be enough to cover your entire face. DO NOT SPOT APPLY—cover the entire affected area.

    Keep DIFFERIN away from your eyes, lips and the corners of your nose. If you get any in your eyes, flush your eyes with clean water right away. This medication should not be applied to cuts, abrasions, eczematous (skin with a red, itchy rash) or sunburned skin.

    Use only the amount your doctor recommends. Using more DIFFERIN will not make it work better or faster.

    Your acne should improve in 4-8 weeks and you should see more improvement as you continue to use DIFFERIN.


    DIFFERIN is meant to be applied in a thin film only on the areas of your skin where you have acne. If too much medication is applied, you will not get faster or better results. Instead, you may see a lot of redness or peeling, and your skin may feel hot or burning.

    Even if someone eats the contents of a full tube of DIFFERIN, there is not enough active ingredient to cause serious toxicity. However, you should still contact your poison control centre, and if you are a woman of childbearing age, have a pregnancy test done.


    In case of drug overdose, contact a health care practitioner, hospital emergency department or regional Poison Control Centre immediately, even if there are no symptoms.

    Missed dose:

    If you miss a dose, it is not necessary to make up the missed dose. Just wait until the next evening and use DIFFERIN as usual. Apply the same amount as you usually would. Do not apply extra.

    Side Effects

    Do not be discouraged if DIFFERIN causes some redness, burning or peeling when you first start to use it (2-4 weeks). This happens when your skin is adjusting to DIFFERIN's action of unplugging clogged pores. If these problems continue to happen or if they are getting worse, talk to your doctor. He/she may suggest that you use a moisturizer, or he/she may recommend a change in your dose, or in how often you use the medication. DIFFERIN may also cause skin irritation, dry skin, or may make you more likely to sunburn.

    If DIFFERIN gets in your eye, rinse it out promptly with lots of water. Contact with your eye may cause swelling, conjunctivitis and eye irritation. If the irritation persists, talk to your doctor.

    Warnings and Precautions

    If you are pregnant, you should discontinue use of DIFFERIN. If you are a female of childbearing years, you should use DIFFERIN only after consulting your doctor about contraceptive counselling.

    BEFORE you use DIFFERIN talk to your doctor or pharmacist if:

    • You are breast feeding or intending to breast feed. It is not known if this drug is passed into breast milk.

    • You are using any other acne medications. DIFFERIN should not be used with other acne medications unless your doctor recommends them.

    • You are using any other prescription or OTC (over the counter) drugs or herbal remedies.

    Many of the medicines used to treat acne can make a person more likely to sunburn. So, exposure to too much sunlight, including sunlamps, should be avoided while using DIFFERIN. If you must be out in the sun, use a good sunscreen product (SPF 15 or higher) designed not to clog pores (non-comedogenic) and protective clothing over the treated areas.

    Do not use “waxing” as a way of removing unwanted hair in the areas where you will be applying DIFFERIN, as this may increase your skin sensitivity.

    Avoid using oily makeup or creams, or products that make your skin dry or peel, or cause irritation such as abrasive soaps or cleansers, astringents, alcohol or those containing spices or limes. These may make your acne worse.

    Interactions with this medication

    As DIFFERIN may cause local irritation, it is possible that use of abrasive cleansers, strong drying agents, or irritant products at the same time may produce increased irritation. You should take particular care when using preparations containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid with DIFFERIN. If these preparations have been used, you should wait to start therapy with DIFFERIN until the effects of such preparations have lessened.

    On the advice of your doctor, other topical anti-acne treatments (e.g., erythromycin topical solution, clindamycin phosphate topical solution 1% or benzoyl peroxide products in concentrations up to 10%) may be used in the morning when DIFFERIN is used at night.

    Drug-Herb Interactions:

    Interactions with herbal products have not been established.

    Other related products

    The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

    Back to top
    Symantec Security Validated