Photo taken from official Differin website

Differin Gel contains a powerful prescription-strength retinoid called adapalene in concentrations of both 0.1% and 0.3% respectively.

According to their official website, “adapalene adjusts the speed of skin cell turnover to make sure your skin goes through the right process, creating a healthier environment for skin. Regulating skin cell turnover to a normal rate helps to keep the pores from clogging and target acne before it even starts”.

  • In clinical studies, Differin Gel provided nearly a 60% average reduction in acne lesions after 12 weeks which continues to improve with further use
  • Up to a 90 day supply clears and prevents pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and clogged pores
  • Reduces redness and inflammation caused by acne
  • Restores skin’s tone and texture by clearing your acne

Taken from the Differin official website https://www.differin.com/

So basically Differin is an anti-acne gel and dermatologists have been prescribing it to patients as young as 12 years old who suffer from acne problems. In the US, FDA had just approved this product (for 0.1% concentration only. 0.3% concentration is still prescriptive-based) to be made available for over-the-counter (OTC) use but in Singapore both concentrations of this product are prescription based.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of Differin 0.1% gel, shall we?


Active ingredient: adapalene 0.1% (retinoid)
Inactive ingredients: carbomer 940, edetate disodium, methylparaben, poloxamer 182, propylene glycol, purified water and sodium hydroxide. May contain hydrochloric acid to adjust pH.

How does the Differin 0.1% Gel fare?

Long story short, it works! I love it! This is a GAME-CHANGER! *LOL*

Now let me share with you the long story.. Although Differin had always marketed itself as a treatment for acne only, my purpose in including it into my skincare routine was to see if it had any anti-aging effects on my skin. When I first starting using this, I was very cautious and went in slowly. I’ve heard stories about the horrible side effects of prescriptive retinoids such as red irritated peeling skin, massive purging and even chemical burns. So for the first 2 weeks, I only used it once every 3rd night. For example, if I used it on Monday night, I’ll only use it again on Thursday. After I built up my tolerance to the product by the 3rd week, I started using it on alternate nights. AND I only used a pea-sized amount on my whole face (please do not use any more than that.. you will only increase your risk of getting chemical burns on your face). By doing so, I was able to avoid most of the unpleasant side effects of Differin.


Use a pea-sized amount only

I’ll share with you exactly what I did below.

My Differin Routine

  1. Remove sunscreen and makeup with cleansing oil/ balm
  2. Double cleanse with a mild cleanser
  3. Swipe a hydrating toner all over my face and neck
  4. Apply a thin layer of water-based hydrating serum all over my face and neck
  6. Apply a pea-sized amount of Differin all over my face. I portion out the product onto my fingertip and just dot it on my cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. When you are done, only a thin layer of the product should coat your face. I didn’t use Differin on my neck as I’ve heard that it is too strong and might cause discolourations on the neck where your skin is thinner.
  7. WAIT 30 MINUTES FOR DIFFERIN TO BE ABSORBED (very very important!!)
  8. Mix 3 drops of facial oil with night cream in my palms and apply to my face and neck.
  9. Go to sleep

In the first 2 weeks of using Differin, I experienced mild purging with some of my stubborn clogged pores emerging and slight feeling of dryness/ tenderness around the sides of my nose. However, I didn’t experience any peeling skin. By the end of the 3rd week, my skin was looking brighter, my mild breakouts were mostly gone and skin feels much smoother. Now that I’m in my 6th week of usage, I’ve noticed that the large pores on the cheek area at the side of my nose seemed to be minimised, skin tone is very even and some fine lines on my forehead are softened. I believe that with continued usage of this product, I should experience better results in terms of anti-aging. Afterall the best form of anti-aging is prevention!

Another exceptionally important thing to note is to wear lots of sunscreen when you are using this product as it will make your skin more sun-sensitive!

Where can you find it?

In Singapore, Differin is prescriptive based only. In the US, it can be purchased from Walmart, Walgreens, Target and most major pharmacies. It retails at US$12++ (15g – up to 30 days supply) and US$25++ (45g – up to 90 days supply).

Thank you for reading!

2 Comments on “Review – Differin Gel 0.1%

  1. Pingback: Review – Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Original “1970” – Engineering Beauty

  2. Pingback: My Experiment with Differin 0.1% + Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% – Engineering Beauty

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