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Differin Gel

From £17.99 See Prices

Differin (available as a gel or cream) is an acne treatment that helps to clear and prevent pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores as well as reducing soreness and irritation. Differin can be used on the face, chest or back.

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From £24.49
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09/05/2024: There is currently a national shortage of the UK stock of Differin. It is still available as a parallel import. A parallel import is a medicine which has been manufactured (by the same company) in another country within the EU and repackaged for sale in the UK. The active ingredients are exactly the same.
Estimated Delivery :
if ordered with in the next :
Orders are dispatched upon approval from our Pharmacy Team.

Differin PRICES

Medicine x1 Tube (45g) x2 Tubes (90g) x1 Tube (60g) - Parallel Import x2 Tubes (120g) - Parallel Import
Differin Cream £24.49 £47.49 £21.49 £39.99
Differin Gel £24.49 £47.49 £22.99 £41.49

About Differin

Key points

  • Works by increasing the turnover of skin cells                     
  • Clears acne, prevents breakouts and restores skin tone
  • Available as a gel for oily skin types and a cream for dry skin types


Buy Differin gel & Differin cream online

You can buy Differin gel or Differin cream online from Chemist Click. You cannot buy Differin over the counter, so you will need to complete a short consultation, for one of our pharmacists to review. It will then be dispatched from our UK pharmacy. Next day delivery options are available.

What is Differin and how does it work?

Differin is a prescription only medication used to treat acne. It is primarily used for acne that is on the surface of the skin, such as blackheads and whiteheads. The active ingredient in Differin is called adapalene. Adapalene is a retinoid, which is a class of medicine that is derived from vitamin A. It works by regulating cell turnover, ensuring that pores do not get clogged up and form acne. Increasing skin cell turnover allows the skin to naturally exfoliate, ensuring that oil and dead skin cells do not block pores and form blackheads or whiteheads. Adapalene also serves as an anti-inflammatory, reducing the redness and swelling that accompanies acne, helping to restore skin tone and texture. Unlike other acne treatments, Differin gel does not contain any antibiotics, therefore it should be used to treat mild-moderate acne.

How long does Differin take to work?

It can take anywhere between 2-8 weeks for Differin to work. It usually takes around 12 weeks for the full benefit to be seen.

Differin may not work, or may stop working for several reasons, for example, if you have severe acne, or you have developed an infection. If you have not seen an improvement after 3 months, you should visit your doctor for additional or alternative treatment. 

How to use Differin

  1. Wash your hands and the affected areas, where you will be applying Differin
  2. Rub a thin layer of Differin to the affected areas
  3. If you have acne on your face, apply a thin layer all over your face
  4. Avoid using Differin around your eyes


Important note: Differin should be used at night before bed. This is because adapalene can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Differin before and after (what to expect)

Differin results can be seen from as early as 2 weeks. The best way to assess results, is by taking progress pictures, so that you can assess week by week improvements.  

Here is what you can expect week by week:

Week 2

You may start to experience redness and irritation to your skin. This is normal, and a sign that Differin is working. The treatment is helping to push out dirt and bacteria from under your skin to the surface. This is known as skin purging. It usually lasts for 2-3 weeks, and you should continue to use Differin.

Week 6

The purge should have settled, and you should start to notice that your acne is clearing, and your skin should start to look noticeably clearer.

Week 12

You should notice a significant improvement to your acne after 3 months. Do not stop using Differin or reduce the frequency of application.

Differin side effects

Side effects of Differin include:

Common (affecting up to 10% of users)

  • Dry skin
  • Skin irritation
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Skin redness


Uncommon (affecting up to 1% of users)

  • Skin reaction
  • Skin discomfort
  • Sunburn
  • Skin itchiness
  • Peeling skin
  • Acne flare up


The Differin purge (what to expect)

The differin purge is when your skin becomes irritated and inflamed. You may even notice acne breakouts. This is because Differin is helping to push dirt and bacteria from underneath your skin to the surface. It is a sign that the treatment is working. The Differin purge usually starts from the second week of treatment and lasts for up to 10 days. You should continue to use Differin during this period. You may use a hypoallergenic moisturizer during the day, to help relieve symptoms.

Differin warnings

Avoid using Differin if you are: 

  • Pregnant – If you fall pregnant whilst using Differin, you should stop using it and make an appointment to see your GP
  • Suffering from severe eczema or skin conditions – Adapalene may aggravate certain skin conditions and you should avoid its use on those areas
  • Exposed to areas of ultraviolet light such as sunbeds or very sunny areas
  • Under the age of 12

Differin and pregnancy

Do not use Differin if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. It can cross the placenta and affect the development of the baby’s bones and teeth.

Differin and breastfeeding

Differin is safe to use whilst breastfeeding.

Differin ingredients

Active ingredient: Adapalene 0.1%

Inactive ingredients: Carbomer 934P, macrogol-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate, glycerol (E422), disodium edetate, natural squalane, methyl glucose sesquistearate,  sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, cyclomethicone, propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216), methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218) and purified water.

Differin alternatives

Differin gel vs Differin cream

  • Both forms of Differin contain adapalene 0.1%, and therefore, have the same effectiveness.
  • Differin gel is usually the product of choice for those with oily skin, as it can have a drying effect on the skin.
  • Differin cream is used for those with a more sensitive skin type as the consistency of the cream does not dry out as quickly and is less irritating.


Differin vs tretinoin

  • Both are vitamin A derivatives, and work in the same way
  • Tretinoin is more irritating to the skin
  • Differin is more suited as an acne treatment
  • Tretinoin is more suited as an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle treatment


Differin vs Epiduo

  • Both Epiduo and Differin contain adapalene, however, Epiduo is considered the stronger treatment of the two as it includes benzoyl peroxide, an antimicrobial ingredient that eliminates bacteria on your skin.
  • Epiduo is also available in a form which contains adapalene 0.3% (Epiduo Forte).
  • Epiduo is not available as a cream, so may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Sources (01 March 2024). Differin. Retrieved from [Accessed 4 March 2024].

No, Differin is a retinoid, a stronger version of a retinol. Retinols are mainly used for anti-aging, whilst retinoids such as Differin, as used to treat acne. Differin is more effective than retinols for acne.

No, Differin is a prescription only product in the UK. You can fill out a consultation with Chemist Click, to receive Differin the next day.

Yes, retinoids, including Differin, are commonly used as an anti-ageing treatment to prevent and treat wrinkles. Differin stimulates the production of collagen, helping to improve skin elasticity and hydration. This can help to reduce wrinkling. 

Yes, Differin encourages the turnover of skin cells, exfoliating older skin. This helps to reduce skin pigmentation.

The usual course is 12 weeks, but Differin can be used long-term to help prevent acne and keep skin clear.

Yes, you can safely use Differin every day. It is common for Differin to be used every day, as part of a long-term plan for treating and preventing acne.

You should use Differin for 12 weeks. If it is not working, you should see your doctor for advice.

Yes, you can use Differin at night, and a gentle moisturiser during the day. If you want to use a moisturiser after applying Differin, wait 30 minutes for Differin to dry.

Product Reviews For Differin Gel

Like most acne gels, Differin is an effective treatment widely-used to reduce the number of whiteheads and blackheads. Although we’ve covered a lot of information on this page, it’s important to get a first-hand look at the reviews from some of the people who have experienced Differin. 



  • There seems to be a general consensus that Differin is very effective at clearing up spots
  • Recommended by dermatologists 
  • Differin is described as an easy to apply, fast-acting acne gel that is suitable for persistent adult acne. Customers have commented that they begin to see results within weeks
  • Minimal side effects
  • Comes in gel form which means it doesn’t require oral medication


  • Differin purge
  • Not recommended to use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Some users of Differin become more sensitive to light 

Whilst some customers experienced some minor side effects, (visit our Differin side effects tab to find out more), there are definitely more positives than negatives. Especially since the majority of patients did not experience any major side effects. we’re confident in recommending this treatment to those suffering from mild to moderate acne.

Summary For Differin Gel

Medication class Retinoid
Mechanism of action Increases the turnover of skin cells
Active ingredient Adapalene
Strength 0.1%
Effective within 2 weeks
Dosage instructions Apply a thin layer at night, to the affected area(s)
Manufacturer Galderma
Use with alcohol n/a

See over 61 product reviews

Product rated 5/5

Differin Gel
Great product; prevents spots, manages my oily T-zone and enables my acne scars to heal quicker and disappear ! Love it

By Mohamed Shalan Mohamed Abdel Samad, 27th of May

Differin Gel
Difficult to tell -inly 10 days in but I feel the acne is less red and angry looking.

By Clare, 24th of April

Differin Gel
Great cream. Helps with my skin. Recommended.

By AB, 26th of March

Differin Gel
Good for acne and doesn’t cause me irritation when I use every other day

By Liv, 24th of March

Differin Gel
One of the best for acne problems

By Mrs. E. Haines, 28th of February

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