La Roche Posay Adapalene Vs Differin: Which One Is Better 2023?

by Shopify API on Jul 06, 2024


Differin and La Roche-Posay Adapalene gel are both topical retinoids used to treat acne. They are both available as creams or gels applied to the skin. Both medications effectively treat acne, but they may have different side effects.

So, I tested out these products to share my experience with you. I want to help you decide which one is better and help you with your acne problems.

But, take note that we may have different skin types and it may result differently to you.

Is Adapalene the same as Differin?

Yes, adapalene is the generic name for the medication commonly known as Differin. Differin is a brand name for adapalene, which is a type of retinoid that is used to treat acne.

The purpose of this article is to compare the two topical acne medications, La Roche Posay Adapalene Vs Differin, and help you know which should you choose.

La Roche Posay

La Roche-Posay is the most widely recommended dermo-cosmetic brand worldwide, with over 90,000. Dermatologists recommend it. They work with professionals and dermatologists to create innovative skincare solutions for sensitive skin.

Differin vs. La Roche-Posay Serum La Roche Posay

La Roche-Posay offers expert skincare recommendations from dermatologists, regardless all of the skin types. La Roche-Posay has solutions for sensitive, redness-prone, and aged skin.

Before I discovered this product, my dermatologist enlightened me first with the acne I am experiencing. Good thing I was recommended with these brands, specifically La Roche-Posay.

It also provides high-quality suncare products and skincare products for children and babies. La Roche Posay offers a single-stop solution for all skin problems, from babies to adults. I'll surely try these other products from La Roche-Posay soon.


Differin is the OTC retinoid that has Rx-strength anti-cancer properties. Retinoids play an essential role in the treatment of acne.

La Roche Posay Adapalene vs. Differin Differin

They regulate skin cell turnover, reduce inflammation deep under the skin, and help to prevent and clear pimples. Adapalene, a type of medicine, is a prescription-strength retinoid. It inhibits cell growth and reduces edema.

So, when I tried this brand, here's what I noticed: Differin's Adapalene retinoid is gentler and more effective than other retinoids. This means that you don't need to spend your entire life in the sun to have the clearer skin you desire.

This medication can be used to treat acne. This medication can be used to reduce the severity and number of acne pimples and accelerate the healing of existing ones.

Galderma Differin Gel 0.1% Adapalene

Differin Gel vs La Roche Posay Adapalene

Is La Roche Posay Adapalene Better than Differin?

I've used both the most popular acne treatments with the active ingredient adapalene - Galderma's Differin and La Roche Posay's Adapalene - for some time now, so I thought I'd write my thoughts on how well they work on my skin, and which one is better.

Galderma Differin Gel 0.1% Adapalene

Galderma's Differin Acne Treatment Gel is the first and only FDA-approved full prescription-strength retinoid.

The acne treatments are available without a prescription in the US and are a dermatologist-developed and tested.

The active ingredient, Adapalene, is contained in the gel. It aims to reduce and eliminate both inflammatories and non-inflammatory acne treatments such as blackheads, cysts, whiteheads, and whiteheads.

It can target signs of aging, and improve minor concerns like hyperpigmentation and fine lines.


Differin Gel is a very straight-to-the-point product. Besides the active ingredient, it only contains a few more carbomers to provide thickness and viscosity to the formula and solvents to keep it stable for a long time.


Galderma's Differin Gel is free of any fragrances or other fragrant ingredients. It also has no scent.


Adapalene is only available in Europe via prescription. However, I purchased Differin from a pharmacy that did not ask for a cure and charged me slightly more than regular.

You should apply Differin on dry, clean skin.

When I first began using it, I used Differin over my La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume three times per week.

It quickly became a part of my skin, and I started using it three times per week. After two weeks, I was using it every night.

I experienced no irritation or peeling during this period. However, this was not my first experience using retinoids. I also stopped using any other activities for at most three weeks.

After three weeks of Differin daily use, I gradually transitioned into other actives like salicylic acid or niacinamide. This was also when I experienced a minor purge.

My forehead and temples felt a bit bumpy, and I also noticed a few pustular zits on my cheeks, nose, and chin. It is a common symptom when I try a new activity that causes purging.

It wasn't serious, but I had a good routine before Differin, so it wasn't surprising that I didn't expect anything significant.

It was probably a combination of not exfoliating for three weeks and introducing a different activity at the time. The purge started three weeks after it began.

Although this is not a general rule, a retinoid purge may take up to three weeks to begin.

Apart from that, Differin's texture was appealing to me initially. However, my perception changed eight weeks later when I tried La Roche Posay.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1%

La Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1%

Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment was the second of the two products, and it was only launched a few years ago.

It is part of the brand's Effaclar range, designed with oily and acne-prone complexions in mind.


The Adapalene Gel treatment is a very straight-to-the-point product. Besides the active ingredient, it only contains a few more carbomers to provide thickness and viscosity to the formula and solvents to keep it stable for a long time.


Adapalene Gel does not contain any additional fragrances or fragrant components. It also has no smell.


As I mentioned, Adapalene is only available in Europe via prescription. However, you can purchase them online without a prescription. I bought Galderma's Differin from this website to see if it works.

I was still prescribed Adapalene Gel by La Roche Posay and asked for a refill. I wanted to review it.

Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment was my first choice. It lasted me eight weeks, with almost daily use.

It did not cause any irritation, redness, or sensitivity when I used it over my La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume for the first few weeks.

I didn't feel any new purging after switching from Differin to Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment. My skin kept improving.

I finally decided to use it after my moisturizer around the fourth week. I also used Differin for the eight previous weeks. My skin had become accustomed to the active ingredient, and there was no irritation.

I stopped moisturizing the product because it is gentler. I find it moisturizing enough by itself.

After Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster, it's my current nighttime use. I also use it in the morning when I'm not out of the house with sunscreen or makeup.

Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment is my preferred choice for Differin. It has a smoother texture and spreads quickly on the skin.

Differin has a stiffer consistency and doesn't spread nearly as well as La Roche Posay due to the different carbomer.

Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment gives me a more flawless glow, and my skin feels softer than Galderma's Diffin.

However, this could be because I'm experiencing the full effects of Adapalene after I've been using it for more than three months. That's how long it takes for adapalene results to show.

Both products are approximately the same size and cost about the same with a $2 difference. I am deciding to stick with Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment as I like the texture and beautiful glow.

What’s the Distinction Between Differin Vs La Roche Posay Adapalene

Differin vs La Roche Posay Adapalene: Things You Need to Know

Are Differin and La Roche Posay adapalene the same?

The La Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel and the Differin Adapalene Gel both have a 0.1% concentration of Adapalene. This means that if all other variables are the same, they have the same potency and effectiveness. 

The only difference between Differin and La Roche Posay Adapalene is the different carbomer. Differin has Carbomer 940, while La Roche Posay has Carbomer Homopolymer.

The Differin Adapalene Gel and La Roche Posay Adapalene Gel have very similar formulas. The main difference between the two gels is that the Differin gel contains Carbomer 940. In contrast, the La Roche Posay gel contains Carbomer Homopolymer. Both of these ingredients create a clear gel consistency, but Carbomer Homopolymer is supposedly smoother in texture. 

Other than that, these products are practically identical and contain similar ingredients such as Edetate Disodium (preservative), Methylparaben (preservative), Poloxamer 182 (solubilizing agent), Propylene Glycol (humectant), Purified Water (solvent) and Sodium Hydroxide (efficacy enhancer).

What’s the Distinction Between Differin Vs La Roche Posay Adapalene?

Galderma's Differin is different from Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment in that it contains an entirely different carbomer.

Differin lists Carbomer 940 as an ingredient, while La Roche Posay lists Carbomer Homopolymer.

The carbomer makes La Roche Posay's product more spreadable and smoother than Differin. However, aside from how they feel on the skin and how it spreads, La Roche Posay's product is essentially the same product.

Carbomers, a family of crosslinked acrylic acids polymers, are essential elements in many merchandises. They include prescription drugs and cosmetics; family, industrial and institutional care merchandise; printing Inks; adhesives and coatings.

Carbomers are used to create the desired aesthetics in merchandise. They can add viscosity or texture while stabilizing and prolonging their life.

Carbomers are non-hazardous and cause little or no irritation to the skin and eyes from the concentrations found in cosmetics and personal products.

Carbomers are often referred to as by-product builders as "a formulator's best friend" because of their reliability, utility, and sometimes the ability to save doomed product launches by stabilizing poorly-conceived formulations towards separation.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo vs Adapalene

Both La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo and La Roche-Posay Adapalene Gel are facial treatments. They do not contain any harsh alcohols, fragrances, silicones, or sulfates. These are fungal acne safe and reef safe. Moreover, they have 3 ingredients in common.

What differs between these two are just a few details in their product information. 

The Adapalene Gel is not paraben-free, while the Effaclar Duo is. However, if you have eczema, the Effaclar Duo may worsen it. 

The Adapalene Gel has a total of 8 ingredients, while the Effaclar Duo has 13. 

La Roche Posay vs Differin

La Roche Posay Adapalene Vs. Differin FAQs


What is the difference between Differin cream and Differin gel?

Both Differin gel and cream contain 0.1% of the active ingredient, Adapalene, so they are just as effective. 

The gel dries more quickly, which may be better for acne patients with oily skin. 

The cream form is less drying and irritating, so it may be a better choice for patients with sensitive skin.

Which Differin is best for acne?

Adapalene is an active ingredient in Differin Gel, which is recommended by dermatologists. It clears acne, prevents new acne from forming, and improves your skin's natural texture and tone. 

The 0.1% solution in Differin Gel is best for mild to moderate breakouts. If you have severe acne, you may need the 0.3% adapalene solution, which requires a prescription.

Topical retinoids are an important part of treating acne. When you have acne, your skin cells are produced at a higher rate than normal. This can cause old cells to build up and clog your pores. 

Adapalene helps to regulate the skin cell turnover process so that your pores don't get clogged and new acne is less likely to form.

Differin Adapalene Gel
Differin Adapalene Gel

Differin Gel is a retinoid acne treatment that contains the active ingredient adapalene, which may not be available in other acne treatment solutions. 

It is available in two strengths: 0.1% and 0.3%. The 0.3% strength is used for treating severe acne and is not recommended for use in children under the age of 12 years. 

The most common side effects of Differin Gel include dryness, redness, irritation, and burning/stinging. These symptoms usually peak at the 2- to 4-week mark before subsiding. 

Not everyone will experience these side effects; in clinical studies, average scores were less than mild. Less common side effects include erythema, pruritus, sunburn, and acne flares, which occur in fewer than 1% of people who use Differin Gel.

Do you wash Differin Gel in the Morning?

Avoid skin products that dry skin or shed your skin. Adapalene can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. It is best to apply Adapalene in the evening and then wash it off the following day.


Does La Roche Posay have adapalene?

La Roche-Posay has Adapalene, like many other dermatological formulas. Adapalene, a type of retinoid, is an ingredient commonly used to treat acne. 

However, unlike other traditional acne medications, Adapalene also treats skin redness, which is more commonly known as rosacea. A few other useful ingredients in La Roche-Posay are glycerin, an active ingredient used in many skin cleansers and moisturizers, and allantoin, the ingredient found in many over-the-counter moisturizers that are used to soothe skin. These are just a few of the ingredients that can be found in La Roche-Posay.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% is a powerful retinoid acne treatment that has been proven effective by dermatologists. This oil-free and fragrance-free 45g acne treatment contain the active ingredient adapalene. This retinoid is available only by prescription.

How often should you use La Roche-Posay adapalene?

Use La Roche-Posay Adapalene gel 0.1% once daily unless you experience severe skin irritation. 

The gel should be applied to clean, dry skin that has been gently cleansed beforehand. 

Do not use it as a spot treatment for pimples - this will not work and may actually worsen your skin condition. If excessive drying of the skin occurs, begin using the gel every other day until your skin adjusts, then revert to using it once daily. 

La Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel

Do not use more than directed as this will not speed up results but may worsen skin irritation. You may see an initial worsening of your acne during the first few weeks of using the gel; this is normal. However, if the irritation becomes severe, discontinue use.

Is La Roche-Posay adapalene FDA approved?

FDA-approved and recommended by dermatologists, Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Retinoid Acne Treatment from La Roche-Posay is a prescription-strength retinoid acne treatment that contains the active ingredient adapalene gel. 

Adapalene gel is the first new over-the-counter active ingredient for the treatment of acne approved by the FDA in over 30 years. This oil-free, fragrance-free acne treatment gel is finally available to help those suffering from breakouts.

La Roche-Posay Adapalene Purge

Skin purging is the process of increasing cellular turnover and accelerating the skin's natural shedding process in order to remove dead skin cells. This goal is to achieve a more radiant, refined, and blemish-free complexion.

La Roche Posay's Adapalene Gel is a great product that I started using as soon as I finished my 15g tube of Differin. 

I didn't experience any initial irritation, redness, or sensitivity when I switched to using this product, and it only improved. My skin continued to improve with consistent use.

Is La Roche Posay Cruelty Free?

Unfortuanetely, La Roche Posay is not a cruelty-free company as it is required to test on animals in order to sell its products in countries such as China. While La Roche Posay may not be conducting the animal testing themselves, they are still complicit in the process and, therefore, can't be considered a cruelty-free company.

La Roche-Posay does not practice cruelty. La Roche-Posay pays for and allows products to be tested on animals if required by law. La Roche-Posay sells its products in China, where animal testing for cosmetics is required.

Are La Roche-Posay Products Natural?

No. La Roche Posay does not make any claims that they are organic or all-natural.

There needs to be some clarification as to whether La Roche Posay products are natural. They are not natural in a traditional sense like that of a pure herbal compound. But they do not contain any harmful chemicals.

Here is what La-Roche Posay says in their FAQ. 'All La Roche-Posay products are formulated with ingredients of natural origin. This is a very wide definition and can cover many ingredients, such as essential oils, flowers (e.g., chamomile), and extracts taken from plants.'

It was discovered in France hundreds of years ago in La Roche-Posay. Established researchers have recognized its skin-beneficial properties due to its high content in Selenium, a rare and remarkable regular cell reinforcement.

Differin vs La Roche Posay: Final Thoughts

After careful consideration, it is evident that La Roche-Posay Adapalene Gel 0.1% is a little more effective treatment for acne than Differin Gel 0.1%. Adapalene has been proven to be more effective in reducing the number of acne lesions and treating acne scars. We hope this article will help you choose a proper treatment and make you happier.