Differin (Adapalene) – How to Use for Acne
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Differin (Adapalene) – How to Use for Acne

Hey guys, my name is Dr. Sam and I’m a family doctor based in New Zealand. In this video, I wanted to show you how to use differin gel for acne. Now I’m really passionate about this subject, because I used to have horrendous acne when I was a teenager and I really wish that this product had been around. So let me fill you in on how differin works and how it can work for you! Differin cream and gel, which is also called adapalene is a retinoid medicine. What this means is it increases the turnover of your skin cells to help unblock pores and glands in your skin. This helps to reduce blackheads, acne, spots, redness and inflammation. But there are a couple of tricks to using differin and getting the most out of this medicine. Firstly, you need to use this on a regular basis, because it doesn’t work as a now and then sort of product. Think of it like brushing your teeth and if you don’t do it all the time, you don’t get the benefits. So now I’m gonna demonstrate how to use differin cream on myself! FYI – my skin is extremely sensitive, so the products that I’m going to be recommending and talking about are quite specific for sensitive skin. So you might be able to get away with other products that don’t have all the sensitive hypoallergenic stuff in them. Anyway, let’s go through the process step by step. So firstly at night you want to take off your makeup, as you usually would. I personally recommend a gentle skin cleanser to do this and my absolute personal favorite. If I’m completely honest – it is! Is this product called Cetaphil, which is a gentle skin cleanser. And you use a couple of pumps of this and onto you wipe with some cotton pads, circular ones from the supermarket. So let’s go! Now, it’s important not to be too harsh with this process – so you want to be quite gentle on your skin. Do not have too much rubbing and scratching on your skin, because it will make the acne worse. Okay and then you want to wet your face with just some tepid, lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer to your skin. It’s really important that your skin is wet, when you do this and I just use any old kind of night cream that I’ve got going at the time. At the moment I’m using a “L’Oreal Revitalift” laser x three night cream. And you just basically put a tiny wee bit on there Once you’ve done that, you really need to wait for about five to ten minutes for it to dry properly. So it feels comfortably dry and in this time I usually brush my teeth and read my book, if I’ve got a little moment. Then come back to it, so once it feels just comfortably dry then you can actually apply the differin cream. Now, with the differin cream – it’s really important that you just don’t use too much, because otherwise you’re just wasting it and so with the cream: Essentially, put a pea-sized amount on your finger…so… like about that much. And you want to put tiny wee dots on your forehead, your cheeks and your chin and just the top of your nose. You really need to avoid the eye area around the nose corners and also the corners of your mouth, because that’s where the thinnest skin is and it’s most sensitive. And then, so you just gently rub this in. Now, also a very important tip is when you first start using adapalene or differin cream, everybody pretty much gets a reaction (a skin reaction) where the skin gets much redder, drier and more irritated. Particularly around the first three to four weeks of starting using it. And you’ve got to let your body, let your skin, get used and adapt to the differin cream. Remember that differin cream is always working behind the scenes to unclog your pores, really getting to the root of why you have the acne in the first place. So I know that it’s really hard when it first starts flaring up and you feel that “I’ve just started this and it’s so much worse”. It’s actually a known reaction to the differin cream and if you persist and persevere with it, you’ll get past it and your skin will be looking really lovely. The first thing in the morning, when you get up you want to wet your skin. So that again you’re moisturizing it and apply a sunscreen straight away in the morning. My personal preference again because I have sensitive skin and I’ve tried soo many different sunscreens and I always tend to react to them. And finding something that doesn’t actually cause acne, as well. This is my preference it’s called “Sunsense” sensitive invisible sunscreen, It’s non comedogenic, it’s wonderful – you can use it on babies, it’s just the best. I can’t switch from anything now! So again just applying a nice smooth layer to wet skin so that it helps with the moisture. Then you’re good to go, you can apply your makeup straight over top. Now that you’ve seen my real self with no makeup on, I’m gonna have to change back to something a bit more presentable…so…. Oh! Thankfully, I’m back to my normal self with all my makeup in place. Thanks for watching and I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did please remember to subscribe to our Channel. You could also hit the little notification bell, next to the subscribe button, so that you don’t miss out on any of our latest videos.


  • SophieSophs

    Thank you for your video and info. I subscribed! Can you use tretanoin at the same time as differin or is it better to use on alternating nights ?? Or not together at all one or the other ? Thanks !

  • G J

    Hello, I hope you can help me. I'm finishing my second month on Differin, but I feel I've been purging the whole month is this normal? I heard is supposed to be like few weeks, but I dont feel this will stop for a while since I have like a lot of texture coming out.. not sure if i should continue.

  • Brit tany

    Hi! Is it ok to use Neutrogena Moisturizer with salicylic acid then Apply Differin? Or ill stop using anything with salicylic or benzoyne product?
    And another thing, does it work if ill apply it to those affected area only? Like cystic pimple.. i will only apply on that spot, will that work? Thank u 🙂

  • Al-waleed Saleh

    Some doctors suggest apply it on dry skin then moisturizer, and some say mixing it with moisturizer?
    Wich one is the right way?

  • Pau

    Hi doctor! I’d like to ask you a question, (sorry for my english i’m french 😬) so, i start a treatment with adapalene for my hormonal acne and i wonder if i can use fake tan while i’m on my treatment ? (hope you’ll understand my question) thank you ! ☺️

  • Melody’s inn

    Hi Doctor, i’m from VietNam so please excuse for my english.
    My night routine after remove make up wash with gentle face wash, then i apply niacinamide 10% + Zinc1% of the ordinary. I end up with moisturizer gel.
    I really want to add differin to my night skin so i don’t know if i can still use niacinamide or not. Thank you for your video ☺️ it’s so helpful

  • N ‘

    I use dermalogica clear start face wash which is used for breakouts. It contains salicylic acid. If i wash my face using this cleanser, and apply moisturizer, can i use differin in this case?
    Since a year i started having breakouts and pimples on my forehead, around the nose and on my chin, and im currently 21. Ive never had acne when i was a teenager and my skin type is normal to combination. My skin was always clear and i never used any skin care product, not even a moisturizer. Its really shocking to have all these pimples spread around my face. Ive never had a chance to see a dermatologist, i dont really know what wrong with me.

  • andyloc831

    Hey I have a question, usually I wash my face 3xs a day, in the morning, after work at 5pm( I work in a greasy kitchen) and at night at about 9 or 10pm, is this too much? My face gets sweaty at work and I don’t want to leave All the dirt on, should I just wash my face at 5pm and no more at 10?

  • Ceyhun Ozel

    Do u not wash it off if so would you use benozyl peroxide beforehand please someone reply I’m afraid I’ll mess it up

  • Khadija Omer

    Thank you for the useful video! I have a question, i got Differin and Skinoren cream, can you help me know how to use them together? Do i mix and apply or one before the other.
    Thank you in advance.

  • Weng Antolin

    Can I apply direct to my face without using moisturizer?and please how to use it at day routine,do I have to apply it first before sunblock?

  • frances sandoval

    After applying the differin, can we just directly apply it with no moisturizer at the beginning and a type of cream at the end? Or we have to apply something else

  • Teddy Dacius

    Thank you for the video! I currently use avocado or coconut oil for my skin instead of moisturizer. Would Differin still work with that?

  • Dynamite Dynamite

    Hi DR Sam , can differin 0.1% fade away post Imflammatory hyperpigmentation like get rid of it , PIH that’s not acne related , and can it work ok atrophic scarring too ? I await your response dr Sam 😊

  • sidra amin

    Hi doctor plz tell me in which order i should use my night cream , moisturiser, clindamycin lotion and adaptelene fort?? Thank you

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