Retinoid – Adapelene acne treatment

Adapalene belongs to a class of drug known as retinoid. They are chemically related to Vitamin-A. This product is also used to treat psoriasis and sun damaged skin. Most retinoids cannot be used at the same time with benzoyl peroxide because of increased tissue irritation. According to the study conducted by Dr. Thiboutot of Pennsylvania State University, adapalene can be used with benzoyl peroxide with good safety profile.

II. How does Adapalene works on acne?

Adapalene works by making the skin pores free from being clogged by helping the skin renew itself at a faster rate. The mechanism is still the same as with other retinoid which is increased skin cell turnover or peeling of the skin. Adapalene is also claimed to affect cellular differentiation, keratinization and also have an anti-inflammatory action.


Less irritating compared to tretinoin.


Adapalene gel 0.1% applied once daily was significantly more effective in reducing acne lesions and was better tolerated than tretinoin gel 0.025% in the treatment of acne vulgaris.
( Source: A comparison of the efficacy and safety of adapalene gel 0.1% and tretinoin gel 0.025% in the treatment of acne vulgaris: a multicenter trial.1: J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996 Mar;34(3):482-5)

This study showed that a majority of patients preferred adapalene 0.1% gel over tretinoin 0.025% cream and that it caused significantly less skin irritation.
( Source: Adapalene 0.1% gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: its superiority compared to tretinoin 0.025% cream in skin tolerance and patient preference.1: Br J Dermatol. 1998 Oct;139 Suppl 52:17-22)

III. Forms, Dosage and Administration

Available in prescription cream or gel form at 0.1% and 0.3% concentration. This medication should be applied to the entire face avoiding areas near the eyes, lips and nose.

IV. Precautions

  • Avoid products that contain high alcohol levels, other peeling agents and hydroxy acids.
  • Pregnant users should avoid using retinoids.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight because this product may cause sun sensitivity.

V. Side Effects

Erythema, scaling, dryness, burning and stinging sensation of the skin

During the first few weeks of treatment with Differin®, itching, dryness, redness, burning or peeling may occur. Exposure to sunlight, including sunlamps, should be minimized during the use of Differin®. Use of sunscreen and protective clothing over treated areas is recommended when exposure cannot be avoided. As with other acne medications, overexposure to extreme wind or cold or use of irritating skin care products may aggravate the skin” . Talk to your doctor if these effects become bothersome. (source: Galderma Laboratories)


Differin®, Adaferin®

References ( 2007 Galderma Laboratories, L.P.) Adapelene Gel ( Pharmacokinetics of Adapalene ) ( FDA Approves Differin® (adapalene) Gel, 0.3% For Acne Fast, Powerful Efficacy For Challenging Acne
( June 20, 2007)

Adapalene-Benzoyl Peroxide Combination Effective and Safe for Acne CME News Author: David Douglas
CME Author: Hien T. Nghiem, MD November 9, 2007

Adapalene for Acne | Adapalene acne treatment | adapalene acne | adapalene gel acne | adapalene for acne | acne adapalene

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