Used to treat mild-moderate acne, Adapalene is a 2nd generation topical retinoid available under the brand name of Differin. It's available in three preparations, including 0.3% gel, 0.1% gel, and 0.1% gel, and is quite effective against certain acne conditions where comedones are more prevalent. It is also a treatment option (used off-label) for keratosis pilaris, and other skin conditions. Before you start using it, you should first learn a bit more about how to use it and what to keep in mind to avoid dealing with any Differin gel side effects.

When to Use Adapalene Gel

Adapalene gel is a prescription medication and is an effective way to treat your mild to moderate acne. It is, however, important to point out that many doctors will use a Differin gel to treat more sever forms of acne and other skin conditions.

Acne is a normal part of puberty, so you don't always require a treatment such as Adapalene gel. Even if you think you should use something, you can find a number of OTC medications and cleansers to improve your condition. You may have to go for Adapalene gel to deal with rather stubborn cases of acne. This is usually the case when you are suffering from acne vulgaris. Acne vulgaris is basically cystic acne with symptoms such as red, scaly skin as well as the development of nodules and cysts that may vary in size. This acne condition affects your deeper skin tissues, so you may have to deal with significant scarring even after the cysts have vanished. The nodules usually appear on your face as well as in your groin, armpits and buttocks.

You can use Adapalene gel in conditions other than acne. It has produced positive results when used for keratosis pilaris, which is a genetic condition characterized by the development of red, rough bumps on the skin, and in particular on your upper arms. The condition doesn't usually affect the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. When it affects your face, it often feels as if you have developed acne, though it doesn't cause acne-like discomfort.

Can I Use Adapalene Gel?

The Differin gel is generally safe for use, but it's a prescription medication for a reason. You should use it under the supervision of your doctor and ensure you don't exceed the recommended dose. You should inform your doctor if you're trying for a baby or you are pregnant. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you're already pregnant or are breast-feeding. Also, inform your doctor about any skin condition other than acne that you may have – you may not want to use it if you also have eczema. Avoid using Adapalene gel if you have a history of developing allergies to a medicine.

How to Use Adapalene Gel

Here are a few important things you need to bear in mind when you start using Adapalene gel for the very first time.

  • Be sure to read the printed information leaflet before you start using it. This will help you understand more about how to use it properly to avoid side effects.

  • Follow your doctor's instructions when applying Adapalene. Wash your hands and dry the affected area before applying the gel. Apply it at least once a day or as instructed by your doctor on the entire affected area, and not just on the acne spots.

  • Take a break and give your skin some time to recover if you've been using a preparation that caused your skin to peel.

  • Avoid using the gel on areas that may have been sore or sunburnt. Also, avoid using it around your eyes, nostrils, mouth and other sensitive areas. Make sure it doesn't build up in the creases or folds of your skin.


  • It is a good idea to apply it before you go to bed and wash it off the next morning. It is important because the gel will make you sensitive to sunlight. Using a sun protection cream during the day will help as well. Avoid sunbeds.

  • Don't stop treatment too soon because it usually takes up to 4 weeks for the gel to show noticeable changes in your skin condition. You may want to speak with your doctor though if you've noticed no signs of improvement even after 6-8 weeks of regular use.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Adapalene Gel?

The use of Adapalene gel may produce certain side effects as well. You are most likely to experience those signs and symptoms during the first couple of weeks of use. Be sure to contact your doctor if you notice any side effects, such as scaling, redness, itching, stinging and dryness.

It is worth mentioning that medications similar to Adapalene led to the development of tumors in laboratory animals when they were exposed to sunlight. It is, however, not clear if Adapalene works in the similar way when used by humans. It is still a good idea to protect you from sunlamps and sunlight to avoid dealing with any unwanted situation.


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