Differin Gel
  • Differin Gel


Medication features

Differin Gel is a topical medication used to treat acne. It contains adapalene, a type of retinoid, which helps to reduce inflammation and promote skin cell turnover, clearing and preventing pimples and blackheads.

  • Works to keep pores clear
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • Apply a thin layer before bed
  • Available in Gel or Cream


Order Differin Gel For Acne Online

You can request to order Differin gel or Differin cream from our UK registered online pharmacy and doctor service. No prescription is required but you will need to complete an online consultation so our doctors can issue a prescription to our pharmacy.

If the doctors approve your order, our pharmacy will then dispense and dispatch your medication. We use Royal Mail as a courier and have next working day delivery options. If our doctors feel a face to face consultation would be best for you, a notification is sent via e-mail and a full refund is issued.

We also offer treatments for other skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

What is Differin?

Differin gel in the UK is mainly used to treat mild to moderate acne. It contains the active ingredient adapalene 0.1%, which is a retinoid. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on acne and helps to reduce soreness and irritation. It also reduces the incidence of blocked pores which, in turn, reduces the occurrence of spots and pimples.

Differin can be used on the face, chest, neck and back areas but avoid contact with the eyes and lips when applying it. It is available as a gel or as a cream. It is available as Differin acne treatment gel 45g or as Differin acne cream 45g. 

How is Differin applied?

Differin gel 0.1% is usually applied to the affected area in the evening, after washing your face. 

Remember when washing your face, you should use warm water, and ideally an oil-free acne wash. Patting your skin dry is also preferable, as this is less irritating to your skin. After washing, apply a thin layer of Differin over all affected areas with your fingertips.

It should not be used by children under 12.

Is Differin effective?

Differin anti-acne gel (like many acne treatments) can take between four to six weeks before you see noticeable results. You should have a review with your doctor after 12 weeks of using Differin.

The effectiveness of the treatment can vary from patient to patient. If you don't feel like Differin is working for you after six weeks, speak to your GP about alternatives. There are combination treatments available that may be more suited to your acne. If you would like to know what real users of Differin think, we have a collection of reviews for you to look at.

Differin Summary


Apply to skin in the evening before washing your face.


Anti-inflammatory effect reduces soreness and irritation of acne.


4-6 weeks for noticeable results.


From £24.95

Side effects

Can include skin dryness, redness, itching and mild burning sensations.

Differin Side Effects

Most side effects usually occur on the skin. Common side effects include skin dryness, redness, itching and a burning sensation. 

If you experience skin drying or irritation, you can try using it every other day instead of every day. You may still notice a benefit from using Differin but may experience fewer side effects. See the patient information leaflet for more information on side effects.

In rare cases, you may experience diarrhoea as a side effect. Stop using this treatment immediately and speak to your GP if you develop severe diarrhoea after using Differin.

It is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women to use.

Is it safe when pregnant or breastfeeding?

No. While the active ingredient in Differin, Adapalene, is absorbed in very small quantities through the skin, you are unable to use Differing if pregnant or breastfeeding. For alternative acne treatments when pregnant or breastfeeding, continue reading below, or refer to your doctor for a face to face consultation. 

Differin Alternatives

If you don’t feel Differin gel is right for you, there are several alternative approaches to treating acne.

We offer both over the counter treatments for patients who have e just started to experience initial symptoms of acne, as well as other prescription-strength treatments, for patients for whom over the counter treatments have not worked.

Another retinoid treatment is Epiduo Gel which contains a combination of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide. Duac Gel contains benzoyl peroxide and an antibiotic. Some people with acne are also prescribed an oral antibiotic called Lymecycline. Other treatments available from our online doctor service include;

If you are just beginning to experience acne, there are more gentle options available to try first. Skin washes with special anti-bacterial are usually a good starting point. These include brands such as

  • Clearasil
  • Witch
  • Freederm
  • Salcura

You will also find over the counter spot treatments, which are specifically formulated to help fight individual spots/zits, such as Freederm treatment gel. These treatment gels help quickly reduce the inflammation associated with a spot, and can help it disappear overnight! Perfect, for when you have a social event and what to zap your spot fast!

In addition to the options available on our website, there are other options available for consideration when battling acne. Some of these will require referral to a specialist for further discussion, others can be available online. Alternative options include;

  • Herbal medicines
  • High dose vitamin treatments
  • Homoeopathic treatments
  • Isotretinoin | Accutane. A specialist drug, available only via a face to face consultation. 


Acne Causes, Treatments and Tips

Differin Prices

45g Cream


2 x 45g Cream


45g Gel


2 x 45g Gel


Written by Qualified Experts


Hywel McGlinchy, Clinical Pharmacist

Authored By: Hywel McGlinchy

GPhC Registration: 2215744

Date Authored: 07/08/2023


Hywel McGlinchy, Clinical Pharmacist

Reviewed By: Karim Nassar

GPhC Registration: 2064752

Last reviewed on: 19/03/2024


  • What is Differin?

    Differin is a cream or gel used to treat acne. It contains adapalene, which works to clear pores and reduce inflammation. Adapalene is classed as a retinoid. Differin adapalene gel 0.1% acne treatment is a prescription-only medicine.

  • How long will it take Differin to work?

    This can vary but most people will see results within 4-5 weeks. However, it may take up to 8 weeks for some people. Most acne treatments take time for you to see the full benefits due to the shedding cycle of your skin.

  • How long should I use Differin for?

    If after 8 weeks, there is no improvement in your acne, you should stop treatment. After three months of use, you should review the treatment with your GP.

  • What are the side effects of Differin?

    The most common side effect is red or sore skin. If inflammation and redness are severe, you should reduce the application frequency to once every two days. If you are still suffering from severe dry/red skin, you should stop using this treatment. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you experience any side effects.

  • Is Retin A the same as Differin?

    They are very similar. They have different ingredients but are from the same class of medicine. Retin A contains tretinoin which is a retinoid that has anti-inflammatory effects. Differin acne gel treatment contains adapalene which is a “retinoid-like” drug and therefore acts in a very similar way.

  • How long does it take to see results from adapalene?

    Several months of treatment may be needed to see the best results.

  • Do I need to wash off Differin gel?

    You do not need to wash off the gel or cream. Apply it in the evening and leave it overnight. However, always remember to wash your hands after application.

  • Can I buy Differin in the UK?

    Differin is a prescription-only medicine which means it must be prescribed by a doctor or medical professional. You can request to order it from our online doctor service after completing an assessment. If approved, our doctors will send a prescription to our pharmacy team for delivery to your address.


Treatment Comparison

IngredientsClindamycin / Benzoyl PeroxideAdapaleneLymecycline
ActionDual action on bacteria; antibiotic and skin sheddingHelps unblock pores and reduce inflammationAntibiotic kills bacteria
Oral or Topical?TopicalTopicalOral
DirectionsApply thin layer at night after washing.Apply thin layer at night after washing.Take ONE capsules DAILY (preferably in the morning)


Info Leaflet

Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. 


Differin acne treatment gel ingredients: adapalene, carbomer 940, propylene glycol, poloxamer 182, disodium edetate, methyl parahydroxybenzoate, phenoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide, purified water.

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Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
Gel x2 x 60g £55.98
Gel x1 x 60g £28.99
Cream x2 x 45g £47.95
Cream x1 x 45g £24.95


Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
Tetralysal (Brand) 300mg x56 £22.50
Tetralysal (Brand) 300mg x28 £14.95
Lymecycline (Tetalysal Generic) 408mg x56 £21.95
Lymecycline (Tetalysal Generic) 408mg x28 £14.50

Oxytetracycline 250mg Tablets

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
1 Month Supply (112 Tablets) £14.99

Duac Gel

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
5% x3 x 30g £55.95
5% x2 x 30g £39.99
5% x1 x 30g £21.75
3% x3 x 30g £59.99
3% x2 x 30g £39.99
3% x1 x 30g £21.99


Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
30mls £14.95
Zineryt x 90mls £32.95

Epiduo Gel

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
Epiduo Gel x1 x 45g £25.95
Epiduo Gel x2 x 45g £45.95
Epiduo Gel x3 x 45g £68.95


Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
20% x30g £14.99
20% x2 x 30g £27.99

Treclin Gel

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Gel x1 £19.99
Gel x2 £38.99
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