Differin Gel Review: Will It Work the Best on Your Acne?

If you’ve ever struggled with acne, the following Differin Gel Review will tell you about a new revolutionary gel called Differin Gel, the first product of its kind approved for over-the-counter acne treatment. Based on user reviews, Differin Gel is a new leader in ridding yourself of stubborn acne, with most sufferers reporting a significant difference in their skin over time.

It also excels over other products that have been available by prescription and over-the-counter for many years, making it a preferred product for many to clear their skin. In the following article, we will review the pros and cons of Differin Gel review, as well as providing need-to-know information for anyone who may be wanting to give it a shot. Always remember to consult your physician or dermatologist before starting a new acne regimen, especially if you have been using any other acne treatments.

What Is Differin Gel?

Differin Gel

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Differin Gel, known under its generic name of adapalene, is a retinoid gel that was first approved as a prescription used to treat acne in 1996. It reduces inflammation and treats clogged pores, giving your skin the smooth look you may have always desired and had trouble finding with other products. According to dermatologists, most patients who come into the office seeking acne treatment are prescribed a topical retinoid as a first and hopefully final option.

It is FDA approved and safe for most skin types. With adapalene now available without a prescription, it’s no longer necessary to make a costly and time-consuming appointment in order to find relief from some of the most aggressive types of acne.

Product Specs

In this Differin Gel review, we will show how Differin stands apart from other prescription acne gels because the FDA has approved it for over-the-counter use. It works similarly, however, clearing already clogged pores and preventing skin cells from sticking together inside the follicle which is what causes those nasty pimples. Differin Gel also reduces inflammation of your skin, reducing redness and further adding to that smooth texture you’ve always wanted. Patients can use Differin either as an all-over face treatment or apply to problem spots and areas to clear occasional breakouts.

How It Compares

In this Differin Gel review, we picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

Differin Gel


Most users found Differin to be fairly effective for clearing their acne, including some who used it when it was still a prescription and continue use now. A large percentage of patients saw clear skin after 8-12 weeks, which is the recommended usage time for maximum results. Some users even reported their acne scars and discoloration improved dramatically as well.

The active ingredient in Differin is called adapalene, at a concentration of 0.1%, and is one of the most effective chemicals used to treat acne over-the-counter. It used to only be available with a prescription so some patients might only remember it as such. With the FDA’s approval of adapalene, it is now easier and more cost-effective for acne sufferers to try after finding little to no relief using other OTC products. It is a slightly lower percentage of active ingredient that was offered with a prescription, so some patients who have tried the prescription form may not find the over-the-counter product to be quite as effective.

Differin Gel is approved for over-the-counter use by the FDA, with little or no side effects. Some cases of extreme skin drying or peeling were reported; however, most users claimed this cleared up after a couple of weeks and they then saw Differin’s positive effects. Every drug affects every patient differently, so keep this in mind when starting Differin or any other acne treatment.


  • Available over-the-counter, making it easier to obtain
  • Very affordable compared to other products
  • FDA approved


  • Can cause some skin irritation
  • Must make sure to hydrate and protect skin from the sun while using
  • Can take 8-12 weeks to see optimum results

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Medication Spot Treatment with Maximum...
  • 1-ounce tube of Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Medication with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to help effectively treat pimples...
  • Acne spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and goes to work quickly by targeting the source of where breakouts...
  • Features the same acne formula prescribed by doctors for 10+ years without a prescription and provides clearer looking...

Clean & Clear has long been available over-the-counter with multiple products used to clean skin and treat acne. The Persa-Gel uses benzoyl peroxide, a common over-the-counter acne treatment which is slightly stronger than what you would find in Clean & Clear’s other acne cleansing products. They also include a spot treatment to help get rid of the occasional pimple if you do not require all over use.


Most users with mild-to-moderate acne saw a significant improvement in the quality of their skin after a few weeks use, similar to Differin Gel.

Benzoyl Peroxide is not new to the acne treatment scene and is usually the first stop after salicylic acid for stubborn breakouts. It works very well for a variety of patients; however, some will require stronger active ingredients. It is found in some prescription acne treatments, used in tandem alongside an anti-biotic for those with particularly aggressive cystic acne. Also, be aware that benzoyl peroxide will bleach colored fabrics, even after you’ve washed it off of your skin.

The active ingredient for Clean & Clear Persa-Gel has long been approved by the FDA and available over-the-counter for some time as well. It sees similar side effects to Differin Gel, including facial dryness and irritation. A good moisturizing and sunscreen routine is also recommended while using this product.


  • Available at most major retailers
  • Comes with spot treatment
  • Works well for mild-to-moderate acne


  • Slightly pricier than Differin Gel
  • Will stain fabrics (sheets, towels, etc.)
  • Skin drying or irritation is common

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Treatment Face Mask

Neutrogena has offered a new and unique acne treatment with this light therapy face mask. It’s a onetime buy of a mask that uses the same light technology as a dermatologist’s to clear your skin, harnessing UV-free blue and red lights to reduce inflammation and unclog pores. It is especially recommended for those with sensitive skin who have had reactions to other acne treatments.


While Neutrogena’s light mask seems to help improve some acne symptoms, it simply isn’t as powerful as other acne therapies on the market. It is targeted mostly towards patients with sensitive skin who have a hard time using creams or gels and feel Neutrogena’s light therapy will be effective in improving their skin as opposed to other products.

This treatment does not contain any chemicals, preferring to use a dermatologist-approved light therapy as a treatment. Some reviewers have speculated that Neutrogena’s attempt may be nowhere near as strong as what you would receive at your doctor’s office. It is UV-free and a great alternative for patients who react easily and negatively to chemical acne treatments.

Because the light therapy mask is chemical-free, it makes it exponentially safer than creams and gels. However, there were complaints about the light hurting user’s eyes even with safety glasses on.


  • Highly recommended by those with sensitive skin who have had bad reactions to acne creams or gels
  • One short 10-minute use per day
  • One time purchase of the mask


  • May not be as effective as creams/gels
  • One of the priciest acne treatments available over-the-counter
  • Mask requires an “activator” that is only good for 30 uses, therefore must be replaced every month at an additional cost

Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Acne Blemish Control

Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Acne Blemish Control Daily...
  • A daily skin treatment that treats acne blemishes
  • Formulated with a powerful blend of blemish-fighting dioic, salicylic and lipo hydroxy acids
  • Known to minimize the appearance of acne and blemishes

Kiehl’s might be a lesser-known acne treatment brand but offers a whole line of products to use with their blemish control cream. Taking a somewhat more natural route, it uses salicylic acid along with sulfur and vitamin B3 to treat and prevent acne. It seems to be about as effective as other over-the-counter products containing the same active ingredient, and patients who only suffer from mild acne may see significant skin improvement.


While some patients found relief from Kiehl’s, most found that it was not strong enough to treat all of their symptoms. Salicylic acid is relatively mild and is used in most face washes to help prevent or treat breakouts and blackheads, making it a good product to try first.

Kiehl’s main ingredient is salicylic acid, which is found in a variety of over-the-counter acne treatments. Kiehl’s also adds other natural acids to their product, which is what sets them apart; however, the addition of these acids does not seem to increase the effectiveness of the product over that of other salicylic acid heavy treatments.

Kiehl’s use of salicylic acid makes it safe and relatively side-effect free as compared to stronger ingredients. Most users reported less facial dryness as compared to similar products.


  • Uses a long-known acne treatment acid
  • Less severe side effects as compared to other treatments
  • The brand has a whole line of acne fighting products


  • Very pricey, especially considering other products with the same active ingredient cost much less
  • Not as effective for those with moderate-to-severe acne
  • Hard to find outside of beauty stores or products brand website

Comprehensive Overview of Differin Gel Review

When it comes to acne, a large percentage of the population is fortunate enough to need little more than an over-the-counter face wash containing salicylic acid in order to relieve their mild breakouts and keep skin clear of acne. For those that suffer from moderate-to-severe acne, finding an effective treatment can be somewhat of a nightmare. From creams and gels, to light therapy, and even oral tablets, there are a variety of options for the acne sufferer. However, many of these treatments can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.

Accutane, an oral drug that was developed for severe acne has a long list of painful and sometimes dangerous side effects. It’s understandable why patients would want a better alternative and something that is much more effective than your run-of-the-mill OTC treatments. That’s where this Differin Gel Review comes in. Combined with a proper face washing and skin hygiene routine, Differin Gel review gives patients the edge over their acne they need without all the dangers of drugs like Accutane. It’s safe, effective, and relatively side-effect free.

What We Conclude

This Differin Gel review has determined that compared to other similar products available on the market, Differin seems to be a step above the others in terms of cost, effectiveness, and ease. It’s clear to see why many of today’s acne-prone citizens prefer new Differin Gel review over other treatments.

Last update on 2021-08-05 at 08:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API