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What is Differin Gel?

Differin Gel belongs to a family of medications known as retinoids. It is used to treat common forms of acne. It may decrease the number and severity of acne and promote quick healing of pimples that do develop.

Differin Gel is usually applied once a day at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription or package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.

To use the Differin Gel, follow these steps:

  • Gently wash the affected skin with a mild soap or soapless cleanser and pat dry with a soft towel. 
  • Using the Differin gel, use your fingers to spread a thin film of medication over the affected area, not only to a single pimple or spot.
  • You may feel a slight warmth or sting in the place where you applied Differin gel. This feeling is normal and should go away by itself in a short time.

Before Taking Differin Gel

Before taking Differin Gel, tell your doctor and pharmacist:

  • If you are allergic to Differin, other medications, or any ingredient in it.
  • If you have or have ever had eczema or any other skin condition,
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to real and artificial sunlight and wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen, especially if you sunburn easily. Differin Gel may make your skin sensitive to sunlight or ultraviolet light.

Do not use hot wax to remove unwanted hair from the area you are treating with this medication.

Differin Gel Side Effects

A Differin Gel may cause some unwanted effects along with its needed effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur, they may need medical attention.

More common

  • Burning sensation or stinging of the skin
  • Dryness and peeling of skin
  • Itching of skin
  • Redness of skin

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:


  • Worsening of acne

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.


Who should not take Differin Gel?

Do not use Differin Gel if you are allergic to it, have eczema or seborrheic dermatitis, or are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Can Differin Gel make acne worse?

Some people might notice that their acne worsens when using Differin Gel. It is common and expected during the first four weeks of use. After that, your skin should start to improve.

How should you store the Differin Gel?

Keep Differin Gel tightly closed and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture.

Can Differin Gel be mixed with other medications?

It would help if you never mixed Differin Gel with other creams, gels, or lotions. You should avoid using creams or lotions containing alpha hydroxy, salicylic, or glycolic acids, as these might worsen skin irritation.

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