Differin 0.1% (adapalene) GEL is going to be available over the counter (OTC) –which means, without a prescription. It is the first kind of acne medicine that will be OTC in the retinoid category.
For those attempting to treat acne, this is kind of a big deal. There are limited medications available OTC and this will give a new and different type of OTC acne treatment.
Want some background information about acne? See our ACNE OVERVIEW article
Who should use it? If you are looking for an alternative to benzoyl peroxide for mild acne –Differin is for you. It helps keep pores clear and helps stop them from becoming clogged. It will not stain clothes and towels (like benzoyl peroxide can!)
It is best NOT to use it in the first 3 months of pregnancy because it is a retinoid product and has a low risk of interfering with early development.
How do I use it? Apply to affected area once daily. It is best to apply to the whole area instead of just spots. This means, if you have active pimple on your chin –apply to the whole chin, not just the one area. This will help stop future breakouts. However, if your chin is where you break out and rarely have any acne on your forehead then no need to apply to your forehead.
To help most topical acne products to work best–wash face, pat dry, apply acne medications –WAIT 10 minutes then apply moisturizer then sunscreen.
What if it doesn’t work?! It is best to give it 2-3 months to see if it is helping. If not, you can use it along with benzoyl peroxide products –best to start with lower strength of 2.5-5%. Higher percentages are not necessarily better and can often be more irritating!
Here is an article all about your OTC options: OTC Acne Treatments
There are many prescription medications for acne that you can talk with your healthcare provider about.
If you are new to using topical acne products, please be aware that once you start treating, acne typically gets worst before improving.
Anything else I should know?
If you are currently on Differin 0.1% gel, you MAY have issues with insurance continuing to cover the medication once it is available OTC. Looks like OTC Differin 45grams may cost ~$30 (compared to benzoyl peroxide ~$6 for the same amount).
Differin 0.3% gel and 0.1% cream will still be by prescription only…at least for now!