Important Safety Information - Adapalene

Written by HeyDoctor Medical Team

Important safety information and consumer warnings you should know about adapalene.

Important Safety Information - Adapalene

Important safety information and consumer warnings you should know about Adapalene


The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more, talk about any new medicine with your healthcare provider and pharmacist. The full FDA-approved product labeling can be found at or 1-800-555-DRUG. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Adapalene (Differin)

What is Adapalene and what is it used for?

  • Adapalene is a topical retinoid medication used for the treatment of acne in people age 12 years and older.
  • Use only one time per day.

What should I know before using the product?

  • If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a doctor before use.
  • Some other retinoid drugs have been shown to cause birth defects. There is no specific evidence that Adapalene 0.1% causes birth defects in humans when used topically as directed.
  • Do not use Adapalene if you are allergic to adapalene or any of the ingredients in this product.
  • Keep out of the reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control center right away.

How often do I apply the product?

  • Apply this product only one time per day and try to apply the product at the same time each day.

How do I apply the product?

  • Gently clean the affected areas using a mild (non-irritating) cleanser and pat dry.
  • Apply Adapalene as a thin layer to the affected areas of the skin only one time per day. For example: if you get acne on the face, clean, dry, and apply the product to the entire face. Adapalene is not a spot treatment and should not be used to treat a single pimple.
  • Avoid product contact with eyes, lips, and mouth. IF contact occurs, immediately flush the area with water.
  • Do not apply product to damaged skin (cuts, abrasions, eczema, or sunburn).
  • Wash hands after use.

How long will it take for Adapalene to work?

  • It may take up to 3 months of daily use for results to appear.
  • Do not use more than one time per day. Applying more than directed will not provide faster or better results, but may worsen skin irritation.

What do I do if I need to be in the sun?

  • When possible, limit sun exposure, including light from tanning beds.
  • WHen going outdoors, use a sunscreen as labeled. Your skin may be more sensitive while using Adapalene. If you use this product during the day, allow it to dry before applying sunscreen.

Can I use a moisturizer if my skin is dry?

  • Yes, use of a moisturizer may help decrease dryness and other signs of irritation/. Avoid products containing alpha hydroxy or glycolic acids which may worsen irritation.

When is my skin most likely to become irritated? And what do I do?

  • Irritation (redness, itching, dryness, burning) is more likely to occur:

    • In the first few weeks of use
    • If using abrasive skin cleansers. Products with drying effects or more than one topical acne medication at a time. You may want to delay starting Adapalene until any irritation from using the other product(s) has gone away.
  • Moisturizers may be used
  • Irritation usually lessens after 4 weeks of continued use.

What do I do if my skin becomes severely irritated?

  • If irritation becomes severe (overly bothersome), stop using and ask a doctor before using the product again.

Can I remove unwanted facial hair by waxing while using this product?

  • Do not use wax to remove hair in areas where the product has been applied because it may worsen skin irritation.

When ingredients are in Adapalene?

Active ingredient: adapalene 0.1% Other ingredient(s):

  • Carbomer 940
  • Edetate disodium
  • Methylparaben
  • Poloxamer 182
  • Propylene glycol
  • Purified water
  • Sodium hydroxide

Adapalene may contain hydrochloric acid to adjust the pH.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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