DIFFERIN® Gel & Cream

Adapalene 1mg/g (0.1%)

Consumer Medicine Information

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about DIFFERIN.

It does not contain all the available information. It does not use the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using DIFFERIN against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet with your medicine.
You may need to read it again.

What DIFFERIN is used for

DIFFERIN contains the active substance adapalene that belongs to a group of medicines called retinoids.

DIFFERIN is used for the treatment of acne (blackheads, whiteheads and pimples) of the face, chest or back. The product acts against the abnormal skin processes associated with acne.

Your doctor, however may prescribe it for another purpose.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why DIFFERIN has been prescribed for you.

This medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription.

DIFFERIN is not addictive.

Before you use DIFFERIN

When you must not use it

Do not use DIFFERIN:

  • if you have an allergy to any medicine containing adapalene
    if you have an allergy to the active substance or any of the excipients listed at the end of this leaflet
  • if you are pregnant
  • if you are planning a pregnancy

Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives of the skin

Do not use DIFFERIN after the expiry (EXP) date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.

Before you start to use it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.

DIFFERIN gel contains methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218) which may cause allergic reactions (possibly delayed) and propylene glycol which can cause skin irritation.

DIFFERIN cream contains methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218) and propyl hydroxybenzoate (E216) which may cause allergic reactions (possibly delayed).

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:

  • Eczema
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis (scaly, flaky itchy and red skin)

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Like most medicines of this kind, DIFFERIN is not recommended to be used during pregnancy. Your doctor can discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.

In case of unexpected pregnancy, treatment should be discontinued.

Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed. Differin can be used during breast feeding It is not known whether DIFFERIN passes into breast milk. To avoid exposure of the infant, do not apply DIFFERIN to your chest if breast-feeding.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell him/her before you start taking DIFFERIN.

DIFFERIN should only be used on the skin.

DIFFERIN is not recommended for use in children under 12.

Using other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking this medicine.

How to use DIFFERIN

How much to use

Apply a thin film of DIFFERIN gel or cream to the affected area once a day before bedtime and after washing. Ensure that the affected areas are dry before application.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure how much to apply. They will tell you exactly how much to use for each application.

Follow the instructions they give you.

How to use it

  1. Cleanse the affected skin with a mild cleanser or a mild soap.
  2. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
  3. Apply a thin film of DIFFERIN gel or cream to the areas of acne. Do not simply treat the pimples. Let the gel or cream dry.
  4. Do not wash your face after applying the gel or cream. Try not to touch the treated areas overnight.

Avoid the use of of oil-based makeups and creams. Cosmetic products with an abrasive, drying or peeling action may cause an extra irritant effect.

DIFFERIN should not be used on the following areas:

  • eyes
  • lips
  • mouth
  • mucous membranes
  • Angles of the nose
  • open wounds (cuts and abrasions)
  • sunburn
  • skin wth eczema
  • severe acne on large areas of boby

If DIFFERIN comes into contact with these areas, the area should be rinsed immediately with plenty of water.

Hands should be washed after applying DIFFERIN.

How long to use it

Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how long to use DIFFERIN.

Continue using your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.

Pimples and spots will be reduced only after several application of this medicine. It may take 4-8 weeks to notice an improvement and more improvement after further use.

It is important that you continue using DIFFERIN as long as prescribed by your doctor.

If you are not sure how long to use DIFFERIN, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

If you forget to use it

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and use your next dose when you are meant to.

Do not use a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.

If you have trouble remembering to use your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.

If you swallow it

Immediately telephone your doctor, or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26 in Australia or 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766 in New Zealand), or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital, if you think you or anyone else may have swallowed DIFFERIN.

Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.

While you are using DIFFERIN

Things you must do

Tell all doctors and pharmacists who are treating you that you are using DIFFERIN.

If you feel that DIFFERIN is not helping your condition, tell your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor if, for any reason, you have not used DIFFERIN exactly as prescribed. Otherwise, your doctor may think that it was not effective and change your treatment unnecessarily.

If you become pregnant while using DIFFERIN, tell your doctor.

Things you must not do

Do not give DIFFERIN to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as yours.

Do not use DIFFERIN to treat other complaints unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you to.

Things to be careful of

Minimise exposure to sunlight and UV lamps. Protect your skin when you are in the sun, especially between 10 am and 3 pm. If outdoors, wear protective clothing and use a non-comedogenic, broad spectrum, SPF 50+ sunscreen.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about the length of time you have been using DIFFERIN.

Side effects

All medicines may have some unwanted side effects. Sometimes they are serious, but most of the time they are not. Your doctor has weighed the risks of using this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • Redness
  • Dry skin
  • Skin burning sensation
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Skin irritation
  • Itching of the skin
  • Sunburn
  • Skin discomfort
  • Skin exfoliation
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Pain of the skin
  • Skin swelling
  • Eyelid irritation
  • Eyelid erythema
  • Eyelid pruritus
  • Eyelid swelling

These are mild side effects of the medicine and are usually short-lived.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • contact dermatitis/eczema
  • acne flare
  • swelling of the face or eyelids
  • conjunctivitis

These may be serious side effects of the medicine and may require medical attention.

If you experience sensitivity or irritation when applying this medicine, stop using it and tell your doctor. You may be asked to use the cream less often, or to stop using it until symptoms subside.

If any of the following happen, stop using DIFFERIN and tell your doctor immediately, or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives of the skin

These are very serious side effects. If you have them, you may have had a serious allergic reaction to DIFFERIN. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.

Serious side effects are very rare.

Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell. Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

After using DIFFERIN

If you have queries about any aspect of your medicine, or any questions regarding the information in this leaflet, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.


Keep the medicine in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

Do not store it, or any other medicine, in a bathroom, near a sink, or on a window-sill.

Do not leave it in the car. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep it where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.


If your doctor tells you to stop using DIFFERIN or it has passed its expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any that is left over.

Return any unused medicine to your pharmacist.

Product description

What it looks like

DIFFERIN is a smooth white cream or smooth white gel. It is supplied in plastic tube with a plastic cap containing 3g, 5g, 30 g and 50g of cream or 5g, 30g and 50g of gel.


Each gram of DIFFERIN contains 1 mg (or 0.1%) of adapalene as the active ingredient.

Inactive ingredients for the gel:

  • carbomer 940
  • propylene glycol
  • poloxamer
  • disodium edetate
  • methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218)
  • sodium hydroxide
  • purified water.

Inactive ingredients for the cream:

  • carbomer 934P
  • PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate
  • glycerol
  • squalane
  • methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218)
  • propyl hydroxybenzoate (E216)
  • disodium edetate
  • methyl glucose sesquistearate
  • phenoxyethanol
  • cyclomethicone
  • sodium hydroxide
  • purified water.


Galderma Australia Pty Ltd
13B Narabang Way
Belrose NSW 2085
Ph 1800 800 765

Distributed in New Zealand by:

Healthcare Logistics
58 Richard Pearse Drive
Airport Oaks
Ph: 0800 174 104

Made in France

Australian Registration Number:

AUST R 53918 (gel)
AUST R 66174 (cream)

® Registered Trademark

This leaflet was prepared in July 2018.

Published by MIMS October 2018

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