Differin 0.1% /w/ Cream

  • ifferin is a treatment gel for mild to moderate acne.
  • The anti-inflammatory effect reduces soreness and irritation, helping to clear pores.
  • a noticeable improvement in your skin may be seen within 1-4 weeks.


Package Size: 1 Pack Cream, 1 Pack Gel, 2 Pack Cream, 2 Pack Gel




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Differin is a gel treatment used for mild to moderate acne conditions. It contains the active ingredient Adapalene which is a type of Retinoid that has an anti-inflammatory effect to reduce soreness, irritation and to unclog pores.

It is used on the face, chest or back for acne, where the skin may have lots of blackheads, spots and pimples. Differin is only absorbed into the body in very small amounts, and has little effect, except on the surface of the skin.

You should not use if

  • you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
  • you are allergic to Adapalene or any of the other ingredients of this medicine.

How Is Differin Applied?

Please note that this medicine is for external use only.

Clean the area to be treated with a water- ensure that the skin is clean and dry before applying this medicine

Put a thin film of the cream with your fingertips on to the affected areas and gently rub in- ensure you wash your hands afterward

You should apply the treatment at night just before bed- unless your doctor has advised differently

The duration of your medication will be determined on how your acne improves. Once you have used this for 3 months, it is important to have a follow up with your doctor so that they can assess the improvement in your acne.

How long will it take Differin to work?

It will take 1-4 weeks before a noticeable improvement is seen in your skin. Often people stop treatment too soon as they think it is not working so it is important to continue your course as prescribed. If there is no improvement after 6-8 weeks you should consult your doctor again as they may need to review your treatment and find a suitable alternative for your condition.

Getting the most from your treatment

Following the tips below will help you get the best results from your treatment

  • use a mild soap and lukewarm water to wash with- very hot or cold water can make acne worse
  • If your skin becomes very dry, use a moisturizing cream (preferably a fragrance-free and water-based cream)- Avoid ointments or oil-rich creams, as these could clog your pores again
  •  You can use make-up and moisturisers but do not apply them at the same time as you use adapalene
  • Try to avoid any skin products which exfoliate or dry your skin.

As your skin can become more sensitive to sunlight when taking Adapalene it is advised to apply this at night and wash off in the morning. Try to avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds and use a sun protection cream when you are outside.


Additional information

Weight N/A

Package Size

1 Pack Cream, 1 Pack Gel, 2 Pack Cream, 2 Pack Gel


Acne is a very common skin condition that affects many people at some point in their life. For most people, it begins during puberty and tends to resolve by the late teens or early twenties, but it can persist for longer for some. It causes spots, blackheads, oily skin and can sometimes make the skin hot or painful to the touch.

The areas acne will develop are:

Face – this affects almost everyone with acne
Back – this affects more than half of people with acne
Chest – this affects around 15% of people with acne

Types of spots

The six main types of spots caused by acne are:

Blackheads – these are small black or yellowish bumps that develop on the skin. They are not filled with dirt but are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces pigmentation (colouring).
Whiteheads – These have a similar appearance to blackheads but may be firmer and won’t empty when squeezed.
Papules – These are small red bumps that may feel tender or sore.
Pustules – Similar to papules, pustules have a white tip in the centre which is caused by a build-up of pus.
Nodules – these are large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful.
Cysts – these are the most severe type of spots caused by acne. Like boils, they are large lumps which are filled with pus which carry a risk of causing permanent scarring.

What can I do if I have acne?

Aside from treatment, there are self-help techniques that can help with your acne which include:

  • Do not wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day as frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms your worse.
  • Ensure that you wash the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Using very hot or cold water can make your acne worse.
  • Do not try to “clean out” blackheads or squeeze spots as this can make them worse and lead to permanent scarring.
  • Try to avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics which can aggravate your skin.
  • Use water-based products that are described as non-comedogenic -these products are formulated not to cause blocked pores
  • Make sure you remove make-up completely before going to bed.
  • If you suffer from dry skin, use a fragrance-free, water-based emollient.
  • Whilst regular exercise does not improve acne, it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem. Make sure you shower as soon as possible after exercising, as sweat can irritate your acne.
  • Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.

Whilst acne cannot be cured, it can be treated and controlled with treatment such as creams, lotions and gels specifically designed for acne.

If you develop acne it is best to consult your pharmacist for advice. They may recommend products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide (this must be used carefully as the ingredient can bleach clothing).

If you develop severe acne or it begins to appear on your chest and back, it may require treatment with antibiotics or stronger creams which will only be available through prescription.

Please note treatments can take up to three months to begin to show results. Once they do, the effects can be very promising.

Who’s affected?

Acne is most common in teenagers and younger adults with around 80% of people who suffer aged 11 to 30 years old. Most people will have acne for several years intermittently before their symptoms will begin to improve as they get older and tends to be resolved by their mid-twenties.


Your doctor will be able to diagnose acne by examining your skin, this will involve assessing your face, chest and back for different types of spots such as blackheads, whiteheads or nodules. The number of spots you have and the degree of how painful and inflamed they are will determine how sever your acne is and will determine the course of treatment you need.

There are four grades used to measure the severity of acne:

Four grades can be used to measure the severity of acne:

grade 1 (mild) – the acne is mostly confined to whiteheads and blackheads, with just a few papules and pustules
grade 2 (moderate) – there are multiple papules and pustules, which are mostly confined to the face
grade 3 (moderately severe) – there will be many papules and pustules, including occasional inflamed nodules. The back and chest will also be infected by acne
grade 4 (severe) – there will be many large, painful pustules and nodules

Acne in women

For support and to read about other people’s experiences of living with and coping with acne, there are several blogs and sites on the internet such as talkhealth which provides free acne support. The Mix also has a website and helpline for teenagers and young people who may be struggling emotionally with acne issues and other difficulties.

Make-up can help cover up scars, particularly those on the face. You can buy camouflage make up over the counter which is specifically designed to cover up scars. You can also consult your doctor for further advice and support.

If you are interested in learning more about covering a mark, scar, non-infectious skin condition or a tattoo, you can also visit the Changing Faces skin camouflage service or call 0300 012 0276.

Side Effects

Possible side effects

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

Differin Cream may cause the following side effects at the site of application.

Common: 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: may affect up to 1 in 100 people

local skin reaction (contact dermatitis)
skin discomfort
itching of the skin (pruritus)
peeling skin (exfoliation)
flare up of acne
Not known: frequency cannot be estimated from the available data

allergic contact reaction
pain or swelling of the skin
irritation, redness, itching or swelling of the eyelids

Further Information

Patient information leaflet