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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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Differin PRICES

Medicine x1 Tube (45g) x1 Tube (60g) x2 Tubes (90g) x2 Tubes (120g)
Differin Cream Tube (45g) £24.49
Differin Cream Tubes (90g) £47.49
Differin Gel Tubes (90g) £47.49
Differin Gel Tube (45g) £24.49
Differin Cream (Parallel Import) Tube (60g) £17.99
Differin Cream (Parallel Import) Tubes (120g) £32.99
Differin Gel (Parallel Import) Tube (60g) £22.99
Differin Gel (Parallel Import) Tubes (120g) £41.49

ABOUT Differin Gel

What is Differin Gel?

Differin gel is a prescription only medication that is 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 gel is called adapalene. Adapalene is a retinoid, which is a class of medicine that is derived from vitamin A. Unlike other acne treatments, Differin gel does not contain any antibiotics, therefore it should be used to treat mild-moderate acne.

Differin gel is predominantly suited for those with oily skin, as the gel helps to dry skin out.

What is Differin cream?

Differin cream contains the same active ingredient, adapalene 0.1%. The cream is better suited for those with dry skin, as it dries out the skin to a lesser extent than Differin gel.

Is Differin a retinoid?

Yes, Differin is a retinoid. Retinoids are a class of medication derived from vitamin A. They regulate cell growth and work by unclogging pores.

What is Differin used for?

Differin has many benefits and is used in the treatment of:

  • Acne (including blackheads, whiteheads and comedones)
  • Acne scars
  • Wrinkles
  • Dark spot correction or hyperpigmentation

How does Differin work?

The active ingredient in Differin is called adapalene. 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.

Many dermatologists recommend Differin for acne scar treatment, as well as in the treatment of dark spots. Adapalene helps to speed up the skin regeneration process, which can help to heal scars faster.

How to use Differin

Before applying Differin, you should remove any make-up and wash your face with a gentle face wash that is hypoallergenic and free from fragrances. Wash your hands before touching Differin, and apply a small amount on your fingertip. Apply the cream or gel to the affected areas and rub in gently

You should wash your hands after use. Using more Differin than you need to will not clear your acne any quicker, but may result in increased skin irritation.

Avoid using Differin on sensitive areas of the skin, such as areas that may be affected by eczema, broken skin or on areas that may be sunburnt. Take care in ensuring that Differin does not come into contact with your eyelids, mouth, nostrils, or sensitive areas of your body such as your neck.

Continuously forgetting to apply Differin can slow down your rate of treatment, affecting results. 

How long does Differin take to work?

Results depend on your skin type and the severity of your acne. Although the treatment gets to work straight away, on average, positive results can be seen after two weeks, but it takes around 12 weeks for the full benefit to be seen. Most people will have to use Differin for at least two months before their acne noticeably improves. However, this does mean going through the purge process. The best way to asses before and after results, is by taking pictures and assessing them week by week.

You should start to see a reduction in acne after 2-8 weeks of treatment. After 12 weeks, you should be able to see a significant difference. Studies have shown up to an 87% reduction in acne after 12 weeks of using Differin.

Differin may not work, or may stop working for a number of reasons, for example, if you have severe acne, or you have developed an infection. In these scenarios, you should visit your doctor for additional or alternative treatment. 

How long can you use Differin for?

You do not have to use Differin forever, and your doctor should have informed you of the length of treatment with Differin. Most people are prescribed Differin for 2-3 months before having to go back for a review. If you feel that Differin is not working after 3 months, you may be prescribed an add on treatment, or a different treatment altogether.

Once your acne has resolved, you can stop using Differin. Sometimes, acne may return, in which case it is safe to resume treatment. 

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

Where and when should I use Differin?

Differin should be used at night, for the best results. We recommend using this acne treatment once at night, before bed. This is because adapalene can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. You can wash Differin off in the morning. It can be applied to the face, chest, or back areas.

To get the most out of treatment, first wash your skin with a cleanser and apply a thin layer of the gel to the afflicted area. Finish off using a gentle moisturiser. Applying more than the recommended amount will not provide better results or speed up the healing process. 

Differin purge

Differin is arguably one of the most effective and popular acne treatments available today, and with most medications there are some side effects to consider. One of the most common side effects can last for up to eight weeks, this process is called ‘purging’. 

During this time, it may seem like your skin is getting worse as more spots and acne lesions start to show. Although it may seem as if Differin is causing acne, your skin is actually getting better. This is a perfectly normal part of the process, so do not be alarmed if this starts to happen. 

The active ingredient adapalene triggers cell turnover, causing your skin to bring congestion to the surface, exposing more clusters of spots on your skin. However, continue to push through and use treatment as recommended.

Is Differin safe to use whilst pregnant or breastfeeding?

You should not use Differin whilst pregnant as there are insufficient studies to declare this product safe to use whilst pregnant. 

Differin is safe to use in breastfeeding, however, you should ensure that the feeding infant does not come into contact with treatment. 

Who should not use Differin?

Whilst Differin is a safe and effective solution to acne breakouts, there are still some people that may not be able to use it. If you fall into any of these categories below, please do not use this product: 

  • Pregnant women – If you fall pregnant whilst using Differin, you should stop using it and make an appointment to see your GP
  • Severe eczema or skin conditions – Adapalene may aggravate certain skin conditions and you should avoid its use on those areas
  • Children under the age of 12


We always recommend contacting your doctor or dermatologist before using adapalene or other acne treatments. 

Can I use Differin with other products for acne?

Differin can be used with other products such as benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, and erythromycin, but these products must be applied in the morning, so that Differin can be applied at night.

If you are experiencing dry skin, or you are experiencing skin burning from the purge, you can use a moisturiser on top of Differin, once it has dried. The best type of moisturiser is one that is hypoallergenic (containing few allergy producing ingredients such as perfume). You may also wish to moisturise throughout the day, to reduce irritation to your skin. 

Differin side effects

Whilst Differin is an effective acne medication that does not contain antibiotics, it’s important to remember that it does still pose some side effects that users will need to look out for. 

The most common side-effect of Differin is skin irritation. This is usually in the form of dryness, burning or redness. After the first few days of using Differin, your skin may experience retinization, which is the period where your skin is getting used to the product. It involves skin irritation that usually lasts for a few days until you have got used to the product on your skin. 

Differin can also generate the unpleasant ‘acne purge’. The process of making your skin look worse before it gets better. But do not be concerned, it is a normal side effect that will be resolved within 8 weeks. 

Other common side effects include:

  • Stinging, tingling or irritation to the afflicted area
  • Skin redness & dryness
  • Scaling
  • Mild burning
  • Sensitivity to sunlight 


However, common side effects only affect up to 1 in 10 people who use the treatment. The probability of the occurrence of these side effects will depend on the circumstances of your case. If you are concerned about the persistence of these side effects, please contact your doctor. 

Does Differin help to reduce and prevent wrinkles?

Retinoids, including Differin, are commonly used as an anti-ageing treatment to prevent and treat wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation (the appearance of dark spots on the skin as a result of an overproduction of melanin). Differin stimulates the production of collagen, helping to improve skin elasticity and hydratio. This can help to reduce wrinkling. 

It is common to use Differin without having acne, for such purposes. You should see a dermatologist about using retinoids for this purpose.

What is the difference between Differin gel and cream?

Both forms of Differin contain adapalene 0.1%, which is why both the cream and gel have the same effectiveness. However, there are some differences in the way each consistency reacts to the skin. 

Differin gel is usually the product of choice for those with oily skin. However, Differin gel can cause skin to dry up easily and can cause more irritation than creams. Differin cream is used for those with a more sensitive skin type as the consistency of the cream doesn’t dry out as quickly and is less irritating.

Your healthcare provider can help you to determine which Differin is best for your skin type.  

Differin vs Epiduo

Differin and Epiduo Gel are both prescription gels that are used to treat acne breakouts. Whilst both contain the active ingredient adapalene, and neither medication uses antibiotics, Epiduo is considered the stronger treatment of the two as it includes benzoyl peroxide, an antimicrobial ingredient that eliminates bacteria on your skin. This common acne ingredient is used to treat acne skin inflammation. Epiduo works by combining adapalene and benzoyl peroxide to eliminate blackheads and whiteheads and reduce inflammatory acne. However, both acne treatments are highly effective as they reduce acne lesions over a long period of time. Essentially, Epiduo is Differin with benzoyl peroxide. 

Differin vs Tretinoin

The active ingredient in Differin is adapalene, a widely used retinoid used to effectively treat acne. Tretinoin, adapalene’s counterpart, is also a popular retinoid that is included in a range of acne gels and creams like Treclin Gel. Because both belong to the same class of medications, they provide similar benefits and share similar side effects

They are both highly effective acne treatments, in fact studies show both medications show a remarkable reduction in acne over a long period of time. If you suffer from mild to moderate acne, we recommend using either treatment, but make sure you consult this with your doctor first. 

Can you buy Differin gel over the counter in the UK?

You cannot buy Differin over the counter in the UK, as it is prescription-only medication. Therefore, you must have it authorised by a medical professional. However, you can buy Differin online through our website once you have completed an online consultation. Once it has been approved by one of our experienced pharmacists, we will send the prescription to you in a discreet package. 

Differin is available to purchase OTC in the USA.

Last Updated

Patient Information Leaflet

For more information about Differin Cream and Differin Gel acne treatment, take a look at the patient information leaflets below: 


Where can I find out more information about Differin?

To find out more information about Differin, visit the NHS website.


Articles you may be interested in:

Why do we get acne as adults and what can be done about it?

A Guide To Face & Body Acne: Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

Acne Face Map: What Spots In Different Areas Mean

How To Get Rid Of Chest Acne: Causes & Treatments

How To Get Rid Of Back Acne: Causes & Treatments

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.

See over 57 product reviews

Product rated 5/5

Differin Gel
Noticed my skin texture improving and no new spots so far!

By RP, 19th of February

Differin Gel
I ordered this acne cream according to my dermatologist suggestions

By Shabbir Chowdhury, 09th of February

Differin Gel
a must have

By V. C., 16th of January

Differin Gel
Only product that helps with my acne and hyper pigmentation

By Jaiden Wafwa, 15th of January

Differin Gel
Good product

By D Hayat, 28th of December

See More Reviews


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