What Causes Forehead Acne

Is Differin Retinol We Found Out?

Differin is made from adapalene which is a mild but effective retinoid product. The difference between retinol and retinoids is that retinoids can be purchased over the counter (OTC).

They all belong the to Vitamin A family. Retinols can be very confusing. There are different levels of retinol strength. Ranging from super active to very mild.

Generally the ‘stronger’ the retinol the more likely it is to cause skin irritation. Often described as retinol burn or the lovely ‘retinol uglies’.

Retinol increases skin cell turnover and removes dead skin cells quicker than normal. This is what causes the irritation, skin redness, dryness and flaking.

The ‘weaker’ the retinol the less likely it is to cause nasty side effects.

Adapalene is a mild form of retinoid, and in some countries like the USA, you can buy OTC. Other countries like Australia regulate all retinol products, and Differin is only available via a prescription.

Stronger retinol like tretinoin is a prescription-only drug in nearly all countries. This means it is regulated and therefore only available from dermatologists, skin specialists or some medical doctors.

Adapalene, the active ingredient in Differin is a form of retinol.

So to answer the question yes Differin, which comes branded as Differin gel is retinol.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a family of compounds used in cosmetic and medical treatments.

Retinol works by docking with receptors in your skin cell. It then connects to the cell’s DNA and makes it reproduce faster.

This intensive reproduction cycle commonly causes dryness, irritation, flakey skin and inflammation, also known as the retinol uglies.

Retinol stimulates collagen production thus reducing wrinkles. It can also reduce inflammation in acne and has a mild effect on hyperpigmentation.

Retinol is the scientific name for vitamin A. ‘Retinol’ belongs to the retinoid family (a squad of ingredients derived from vitamin A).

This retinoid squad includes retinol, and its natural derivatives ie: retinoic acid, retinaldehyde, and retinyl palmitate.

Retinol is the most popular and commonly used retinoid because it packs a punch, but it can cause severe irritation. Adapalene is used in Differin acne treatment gel because it is less irritating than other retinols.

The treatment of inflammatory acne often called acne vulgaris with Differin has been shown to be more effective than tretinoin and has an anti-inflammatory action on the skin.

Adapalene can be used on its own against mild acne. It has also been proven to be effective as a maintanace treatment to keep acne from reoccurring.

Like all things with skin care products – consistency is key!

Differin is safe and effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris and if used in combination with benzol peroxide can optimise results.

What Type Of Retinol Is Differin?

Differin’s active ingredient is adapalene which is an agent used in the treatment of an acne lesion.

Differin can be bought OTC, unlike the other retinoids that need a prescription.

Differin is retinol which is part of the retinoid family, also known as vitamin A.

Compared to Retinyl Palmitate, Differin is gentle, and skin irritation is usually mild.

However, all retinol derivates can cause skin redness, dryness and flaking especially if you have sensitive skin. Oily skin and acne-prone skin can be sensitive skin so always start slowly.

When Is The Best Time To Use Differin For Acne?

The best time to use Differin for acne is in the morning and evening, applying it twice a day. But the most important consideration of using Differin for the treatment of acne is consistency.

If you are new to using active ingredients, it is always best to start slowly.

Apply Differin onto cleansed and moisturised at night, before going to bed.

All retinols increase skin cell turnover, and this can cause skin redness dryness and irritation. Differin is mild, but it is always best to start slowly.

Use it at night over moisturizer for 2 – 3 nights. If your skin tolerates it add to your morning skincare routine after moisturiser and before sun protection.

You should be using an SPF every day anyway, but it is especially important with the use of Differin or any retinol-derived product.

You should not use Differin if you already using other retinol products. This will increase your chances of having a reaction.

Can Differin Be Used For Wrinkles?

One of the side effects of retinol is it’s proven to be effective in the treatment of wrinkles. Because it is part of the retinol family.

Differin is considered mild retinol and the active ingredient has only a small effect on wrinkles.

Retinols speed up the turnover of skincells. By the time a skin cell gets to the surface of your skin, it is dead. This just means it has no access to blood supply or nutrients.

Retinols help slough off dead skin cells by increasing cell turnover.

They bring fresh plump cells to the surface of the skin quicker. This improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

There are better retinols than Differin for the treatment of wrinkles.

But if you are going to have a side effect from a skin care product the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles is a definite bonus!


Adapalene is the main ingredient of Differin and is used to treat mild to moderate acne and is approved by the FDA

Differin contains the active ingredient adapalene. Adapalene is a mild retinoid.

As well as treating acne, Differin has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and has a mild effect on the appearance of wrinkles.

Even though Adapalene is mild retinol, it doesn’t mean that it is not effective. Mild retinols take a little longer to work, but the benefit is that skin irritation is kept to a minimum.

If used correctly, it usually has only very mild irritation potential. But caution is still advised. If you get red, inflamed or swollen skin after applying Differin discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice

Apply Differin over moisturizer morning and night for best results.

Always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day.

This is very important when using Differin or any retinol. Retinols can make your skin more sensitive to the effects of sun damage.

Differin also works at preventing acne from reoccurring. This means that once your acne has cleared up you should still apply Differin to stop it from coming back.