If you have severe acne, that does not respond to over the counter medications, no matter how strong, you doctor may choose to try a prescription medication to treat your acne. One of the prescription medications they might choose is Differin. Differin (also known as Adapalene) is a gel medication that is a form of Vitamin A, and is also a retinoid. Retinoids are known for changing the rate of skin cell growth and replacement. By increasing the rate of skin cell turnover, retinoids can help cure and prevent acne.
Differin is a gel formula that is applied daily, after cleaning your face, at night. It should only be applied as prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist. Applying too much, or too often, will irritate skin and make acne worse, not improve it faster.
What does Differin do?
Differin, as mentioned, is focused on improving skin cell replacement. By speeding up the replacement of skin cells, dead skin cells are sloughed off, keeping pores from becoming clogged. Not only does Differin speed up skin cell replacement, it also has exfoliating properties, which work bacteria and impurities out of the skin. This helps prevent bacteria and impurities from staying in pores, and therefore keeps pores from clogging. Differin also has anti-inflammatory properties, that help reduce swelling of current acne. By changing the way that skin replaces itself, Differin will help prevent future breakouts from happening, and lead to clear skin.
What are the side effects?
One of the largest side effects of Differin is causing break outs to become worse, at least at first. This is actually a sign that the acne treatment is working. Because Differin causes skin cells to replace themselves faster, and has exfoliating properties, dead skin cells rise to the surface faster than before. This can cause flaky, dry skin. Impurities are being forced out of pores and are also rising to the surface. This all works to create more acne, but only temporarily. Skin has to do a major turnaround to rid itself of the acne causing bacteria that has already built up. Once the bacteria and dead skin cells on the surface have been cleared out, skin will begin to improve, usually with dramatic results.
Other side effects are extreme drying of the skin, again this is usually temporary, and associated with getting rid of older skin cells. Using an oil free moisturizer can help relieve some of the dryness that occurs with using Differin. Another side effect of using Differin is that newer skin cells are more sensitive to sunlight, so many people find that they need to use sunblock when they did not before, even just to go outside for a few minutes. Additionally, people may notice that their skin becomes red, peels, or appears to be sunburned. These are normal side effects, but if swelling or pain occurs speak to your doctor immediately.
Will Differin work for me?
Differin is a very potent acne medication, and because of this, many people with dry or sensitive skin may have problems using it. I personally cannot use these types of topical medications because within two or three days it’s painful to even touch my face lightly. However, many people do have good results with Differin. The main issue that people have using the product is how long it takes to show results. Waiting two or three months after you start using a product to have skin clear up seems to be a rather long time. There are many other topical retinoid based medications that can be prescribed, and most have a faster turn around time. So, Differin will probably work for you, but the issue is if you can deal with dry, peeling, broken out skin for a month waiting for it to do so.