Adapalene (Differin®) belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoid-like compounds. Approved by the FDA in 1996, Adapalene is used to treat acne vulgaris and keratosis pilaris. It works to prevent pimples from forming by altering the inflammatory process and keratinization, essentially normalizing the cells that clog pores.

Adapalene, marketed under the brand-name Differin®, is applied topically and is available as a cream or gel in two different concentrations; 0.1% cream and 0.1% gel, and 0.3% gel. Each formulation has a specific efficacy, with the 0.1% gel used to prevent new acne from forming and eliminate existing lesions. Differin 0.1% cream is specially formulated for sensitive skin, and Differin Gel 0.3% is used to treat more challenging acne. Side effects include itching, dryness, redness, burning or peeling.

If you are using Adapalene, it’s advisable to limit your exposure to the sun, sunlamps and tanning beds. Using sunscreen to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays is also recommended, as is protecting your skin from extreme wind or cold.

Adapalene carries an FDA pregnancy category rating of C, which means that the effects of the drug on human fetuses are not known. Similarly, any potential adverse effects to a newborn acquired through nursing mothers on Adapelene are not known.

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