I recently was snooping around my little sister’s products, and I saw Differin gel, which I always knew to be a prescription-only acne medication. I assumed she saw a dermatologist who prescribed it to her. But she told me that she purchased it at Target! Did you know that the FDA approved Differin to be sold over-the-counter last summer?
Differin is the brand name for Adapalene, which is a topical retinoid. Historically, retinoid creams have been prescription-only.
Retinol creams (not to be confused with retinoids, e.g. Differin) have been available for over-the-counter purchase for quite a while. They claim to improve the appearance of fine lines and skin tone and texture. Although effective, retinols, which are another derivative of vitamin A, are less potent than retinoid creams such as Differin, and it typically takes a longer period of time to see results with retinols.
Retinoids not only work to unclog pores and reduce inflammation associated with acne, but they also cause high cell turnover which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discoloration.
Adapalene, which is the active ingredient in Differin, is one of two active ingredients of the popular prescription-only medication, Epiduo. I have had patients ask me for a prescription, only to learn that their insurance company does not want to pay for it, and its whopping $200+ dollars!
Well, good news! You can essentially purchase Epiduo over-the-counter for less than $20! The two active ingredients of Epiduo are Adapalene 0.1% (which is Differin, whoo hoo!), and benzoyle peroxide 2.5%, which has been available over-the-counter for quite a while and its manufactured by popular brands such as Clean & Clear and Neutrogena.
So if you are still searching for the right acne product, give Differin a try! Have you used this before? Comment your experience or thoughts!