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Like any other prescription medication you must consult a doctor before using Differin Cream.

PrivateDoc offers a confidential free consultation service that may result in you receiving a prescription for Differin Cream if it is deemed appropriate and Differin Cream can prescribed safely.

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The active ingredient in Differin is a drug called adapalene

1 gram of cream contains 1mg of adapalene (1% w/w)

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What is Differin Cream

Differin cream  contains  the active ingredient Adapalene, which is a form of vitamin A used in the treatment of acne. Acne is caused by blockage of sebaceous glands. This leads to an accumulation of the skins natural oils (sebum). Bacteria on the skin feed on sebum and produce waste products which further inflame the sebaceous glands, causing acne. Irritant substances can leak into the surrounding skin causing further inflammation.

Adapalene reduces the growth of the keratin surface skin cells that can block pores. This helps to unblock the pores and sebaceous glands (glands which secrete sebum) and as a result the sebum can escape. This reduces the formation of blackheads (comedones) and spots. In addition, Adapalene increases the turnover of the skin cells, which aids the natural exfoliation of the outer layers of skin. This also helps to unblock pores and decreases the formation of comedones and spots.

Who can use Differin Cream

Differin cream should be used with caution by people with:

  • Sensitive skin.

Differin cream should not be used by:-

  • People with known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredients.
  • People with eczema.
  • Pregnant women - in the event of an unexpected pregnancy, treatment should be discontinued

For further information and contraindications please see Patient information leaflet

How to use Differin Cream

Differin Cream  should be applied thinly to the affected areas of skin (not just the individual spots) once a day before bedtime.

  • Gently rub the Cream into the skin.
  • Wash your hands after applying the medicine.

Treatment Warnings

Important information about Differin Cream:-

  • This preparation is for external use on the skin only.
  • Clean and dry the affected area of skin thoroughly before applying this medicine. Use mild soap and pat rather than rub the skin dry. Using clean fingertips, only apply enough medicine to cover the affected areas of skin lightly.
  • When you first start using this medicine it may cause temporary stinging or a feeling of warmth in the skin. When used correctly, it will usually make your skin slightly red, like mild sunburn. You shouldn't use the medicine any more frequently than directed by your doctor, as this won't make it any more effective or work any quicker. It may also make your skin very red or irritated or start peeling.
  • If you get any severe redness, swelling, itching, burning sensations, blistering, crusting or peeling of your skin after using the medicine, you should apply the medicine less frequently or stop using it temporarily. If the irritation persists you should stop using the medicine completely and consult your doctor.  
  • Avoid getting this cream in contact with the eyes, eyelids, nostrils, mouth, mucous membranes (eg inside of the nose) and broken areas of skin. If you accidentally get the cream/gel on these areas, carefully wash it off with water.
  • You can use cosmetics or moisturisers while using this medicine, but you should not apply them at the same time. Wash your skin thoroughly before applying the medicine. You can use cosmetics and moisturisers after the medicine has been absorbed into your skin.
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps or sunbeds while using this medicine, as it increases the sensitivity of your skin to UV light. If exposure to sunlight cannot be avoided, use protective measures such as sunscreens or protective clothing over the areas of skin you have treated with this medicine.
  • If your skin is sunburnt you should not use this medicine until your skin is fully recovered, as it may potentially cause severe irritation to the skin.
  • This medicine is not recommended for children under the age of 12 unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Do not apply this medicine to broken or irritated skin.

Possible side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)

  • Dry skin. Burning sensation of the skin. Redness of skin.

For further information and a full list of possible side effects please see Patient information leaflet