Medication features:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Clears the acne and stops further development of spots
  • Heals scarring


Available strengths:

0.1 Cream 0.1 Gel


Price £26.99

Includes free private prescriptions

In stock

Delivery Time


Expected delivery date:

Wednesday, 13 December 2023

If you order within:


Next Day Delivery

Next Day

Quick Assessment


UK Registered Pharmacy

UK Registered

Discreet & Confidential

Discreet &

  • Overview
  • FAQ
  • Side Effects
  • Patient Information Leaflet
  • Reviews

What is Differin

Acne affects the oil glands and hair follicles within the skin, usually on the face but sometimes on other areas of the body too such as the neck and back. The pores, which connect to oil glands produce sebum, a substance which carries dead skin cells to the skin’s surface, but sometimes the oil and skin cells plug the pore instead. The bacteria, which usually live harmlessly on the skin contaminate the plugged follicle and this can cause an infection which develops into acne. There are a number of different forms that this infection manifests itself as including papule, pustules, cysts and nodules but all fall under the term Acne.

Due to the infection being the main cause of acne, it is crucial you treat it as you would any other infection, with a medication such as Differin which works to clear the acne and stop further development of spots, whilst healing and decreasing any chance of scarring.

Can I buy Differin gel Online?

By filling in our short medical questionnaire, our doctors can ascertain whether Differin gel is the most appropriate treatment for your acne. This will be based on a number of factors, including the severity of the infection and other medications you have tried or are currently taking. Once the doctor has given you a prescription, you can purchase your treatment online without having to visit your GP or chemist to pick up your medication. Instead, it will be sent directly to your address.

How effective is Differin gel?

Differin is an effective treatment for reducing inflammation making it especially beneficial for anyone suffering from black or whiteheads as well as pustules.

In fact, adapalene, the active ingredient in Differin, is a retinoid which has been found to have a number of benefits which acne fighting ingredients in other products, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, cannot claim to offer, such as:

  • its ability to balance the skin cell production
  • being a once a day only application
  • being anti-inflammatory
  • being non-staining for clothing and sheets.

Differin has been proven to prevent acne from forming if used daily as recommended, and it is oil-free, meaning your face will not be slick or sticky. It also helps to restore your skin’s natural texture and tone by fighting acne deep down within the pores where the infection starts.

Why choose Differin gel?

For anyone who has struggled to find an effective acne treatment, Differin may be the next best step to take, as it has been found to be very well tolerated when compared to other topical gels and creams containing retinoids. It is also a good option for people who struggle to take medication orally.

What is contained in Differin gel?

Differin contains the active ingredient adapalene, a retinoid medicine which is derived from vitamin A.

The inactive ingredients are carbomer 940, poloxamer 182, propylene glycol (E1520), disodium edetate, Phenoxyethanol, methyl para-hydroxybenzoate (E218), sodium hydroxide and purified water.

How should I use Differin gel?

Adapalene is for topical use only and not to be swallowed. Wash your hands prior to use, followed by washing your face using a mild cleanser and patting the skin dry. Using the fingertips, apply a thin layer of Differin gel to the affected area or areas. Do not apply to the inside of your lips or inside the nose or mouth.

Typically you would use it once daily in the evening, though follow the guidance given to you by your doctor. Using more gel than required or for longer than recommended will not make the medication work more quickly and may result in irritating or painful side effects.

How does Differin gel work?

The active ingredient in Differin increases the turnover of skin cells, creating a natural exfoliation-type process to the surface layer. This unblocks pores and the sebaceous glands which produce the oil allowing this sebum (oil) to be released. This helps to decrease blackheads and oiliness. Adapalene also gives an anti-inflammatory effect too, lowering redness, heat and swelling.

How long can I take Differin gel for?

Your doctor at Click Pharmacy or GP will let you know the amount of time you should use Differin. It will begin to work from the first application, but whereas some people will see the benefits after one to two weeks, others may find it takes a month or two.

For the first few weeks, it may feel that your skin is appearing to get worse, but this is not the case. During this time, the medication is dealing with the issues under the surface, so be patient and continue to use your gel for as long as recommended to ensure you get the full benefit of it.

What are the side effects of Differin gel?

As with any medication, some patients may experience side effects, whereas others may not.

The most common side effects of Differin include irritation, redness and dryness to the area of application as well as a slight burning sensation. These tend to be due to your skin getting used to the medication and can ease after a couple of weeks as it begins to tolerate it.

If you experience major irritation, then speak to your doctor, who may recommend you apply it less often or take a break from it.


Other Warnings to consider

Make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking or using to ensure they will not interfere with one another or make one or both of them less effective or even dangerous.

There are certain products which are to be avoided whilst using Differin:

  • other retinoids
  • peeling agents such as glycolic or salicylic acid
  • powerful cleansers or exfoliates
  • products containing astringents and alcohol
  • treatments which contain vitamin A

Due to the medication potentially causing sensitivity to UV light, it is important you avoid spending an excessive amount of time in the sun and apply a block every day to avoid irritation and burning.

Can I use Differin with other acne treatments?

Yes, you can use Differin with other acne treatments. Experts say Differin can be used with topical treatments – particularly those containing clindamycin (Duac) or erythromycin (Zineryt). You can also use products that contain benzoyl peroxide. However, this does mean that you should layer the products. It would be best if you used the topical treatments at different times of the day. In addition, Differin should not be used with topical retinoids, including isotretinoin, tretinoin, and trifarotene.

Can I wear makeup with Differin?

Yes, you can wear makeup while you are using Differin. However, you should make sure to remove the makeup and clean your skin thoroughly before applying Differin. Once the Differin dries down, you can apply non-oily makeup.

Is Differin suitable for me?

In some situations, Differin Cream or Gel should be used with caution. It may not even be recommended. For example, Differin may not be suitable for patients with severe acne or those with acne covering a large body area. In addition to this, it is not suitable for you if you are on some other acne treatment. However, in the case that it does not work for you, you should inform your GP, and they may suggest a better acne treatment plan for you.

Inform your GP if you are taking other medicines before using Differin. Differin may not be suitable or must be used cautiously if you are using products containing vitamin A derivatives. Also, it will not be suitable if you are allergic to adapalene or other active ingredients in the medicine.

Differin is ideal to use on dry and fair skin. You can also use it on your chest, back or face.

Differin Alternatives

If Differin gel is not right for you, several alternative acne treatments exist.

You can over the counter treatments, as well as prescription-strength treatments. OTC acne treatments are ideal for patients who have just started to experience the initial symptoms of acne, while the prescription medication is for patients for whom over-the-counter treatments do not work.

The best alternative is a retinoid treatment known as Epiduo Gel which contains a combination of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide. Similarly, Duac Gel also works, which contains benzoyl peroxide and an antibiotic. In addition, you can find other treatments, such as Zineryt (Topical antibiotic) and Acnecide (Benzoyl peroxide).

Several over-the-counter spot treatments specifically designed to help fight individual spots or zits, like the Freederm treatment gel. These treatment gels help reduce the inflammation that comes with a spot or zit quickly, which can make them disappear overnight.

In addition to the  widely available options, you can try the following:

  • Herbal medicines
  • High-dose vitamin treatments
  • Homoeopathic treatments
  • Isotretinoin
  • Accutane

What is the active ingredient in Differin Gel?

The active ingredient in Differin Gel is adapalene. This anti-inflammatory ingredient is effective at fighting acne without causing any further damage to the skin.

How long does it take for Differin Gel to work?

The gel usually reduces symptoms of acne within 1-2 weeks of use. However depending on the severity of the infection it can take up to 2 months for acne to clear up.

Can I use a moisturizer after using Differin Gel?

It is advised to use a gentle moisturiser after using Differin Gel. you should avoid using any harsh products for the length of the treatment.

What should I avoid while using Differin Gel?

While using Differin Gel you should avoid using the following:

  • Harsh exfoliants
  • Products containing vitamin A
  • Peeling agents such as salicylic acid


Can I go in the sun after using Differin Gel?

After using Differin Gel your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. You should always use sunscreen before going into the sun for maximum protection. You should also avoid using tanning beds and salons.

Can I use Differin Gel if I suffer from eczema?

You should consult with a GP or pharmacist before using Differin Gel if you suffer from other skin conditions such as eczema.

Like all medication, after using Differin Gel you may experience a number of side effects. Possible side effects include:

  • Worsening of acne in the first 2 weeks of use
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Sensation of warmth
  • Stinging
  • Burning

These side effects should decrease as you continue to use Differin Gel. If any of these side effects worsen, you should stop using Differin Gel and speak to a GP or pharmacist.

Always read the patient information leaflet before starting your treatment. The patient information can be found here.

Authored by

Last reviewed 11 April 2023

Superintendent Pharmacist GPhC No.2220953

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