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Acne Treatment Gels – Adaferin, Deriva, Faceclin-A

In this review of Adapalene, we are going to answer common questions related to its effective, use and side effects.

What is Adapalene

Differin gel for acne treatment in IndiaAdapalene is a synthetic retinoid commonly prescribed for treatment and prevention of acne. It works on all types of acne. Adapalene has fewer side effects than tretinoin (Retino-A) but is just as effective if not more.

In India, adapalene is available as 0.1% gel formula from these brands

  1. Adaferin Gel by Galderma                 price Rs. 200 for 15 gm
  2. Deriva by Glenmark (Gracewell) 
  3. Deriva-MS by Glenmark (Gracewell)
  4. Medapine by Ranbaxy                        price Rs. 165 for 15 gm
  5. Aclene by Cipla                                        price Rs. 86.25 for 15 gm
  6. Adaple by Wallace                                  price Rs. 80 for 15 gm
  7. Apalene by Elder Pharma                price Rs. 75 for 15 gm

All the gels above have the same composition – 0.1% adapalene.

Deriva has 2 versions one is regular Deriva and the other one is Deriva-MS. Both have 0.1% adapalene, but the difference between Deriva and Deriva-MS is that the latter contains adapalene in micronized format. That must increase the effectiveness of Deriva-MS somewhat.

Differin is the most popular brand name for Adapalene, so that’s the name we are going to use for this review. More information about Differin is available here.

Is Differin effective for acne

Differin gel works under the skin’s surface to unclog pores and clear up pimples. Pores then begin to function normally again. It not only helps to prevent the formation of new pimples, but also helps existing pimples.

Your acne might seem to get worse before it gets better. This is the notorious “initial breakout” people talk about. It means the medication is working – acting on pimples that began forming before you started treatment. Not everyone may experience this initial breakout or purging from Differin.

Adapalene increases the effectiveness of anti-acne antibiotic clindamycin. Therefore you find combination formulas such as: 

  1. Adaple-C          price Rs. 110 for 15gm
  2. Clindapene     price Rs. 128 for 15gm
  3. Deriva-C           price Rs. 110 for 15 gm
  4. Deriva-C AQ  price Rs. 86.5 for 15 gm
  5. Deriva-CMS   price Rs. 192 for 15 gm
  6. Pimplex 
  7. Faceclin-A     price Rs. 136 for 15 gm

All the above ointments have the same composition:  adapalene 0.1 %, clindamycin 1 %. 

Deriva-C has 3 versions: regular Deriva-C, Deriva-C AQ and Deriva-CMS.

All 3 have have 0.1% adapalene and 1% clindamycin. Deriva-C AQ gel is in an aqueous base. The difference between Deriva-C and Deriva-CMS is that the latter contains adapalene in micronized format. That must increase the effectiveness of Deriva-CMS somewhat.

Where to buy Differin in India

Differin is available by prescription only. Even though this milder retinoid is said to have fewer side effects, we do not advise self-medication. Before making a trip to your nearby medical store, pay a visit to your dermatologist for a legitimate prescription.

How to use Differin

Use Differin gel at night. Apply a thin film all over the face and other areas of the skin affected by acne. It might cause redness immediately upon applying. Don’t use more than the bare minimum needed. Using more will only increase irritation and redness.

Do not apply Differin on a popped pimple or bruised areas of the skin. Keep it away from lips and eyes.

When does Differin show results?

Differin is quite effective as an acne treatment. You start seeing results within 2 months, but it takes about 10-12 months for it to take full effect. You will see about 10% improvement in acne per month.

Differin side effects

The most common side effect of Differin is skin redness, dryness and peeling. Some people experience stinging and burning too. If you have existing hyper-pigmentation from acne spots, it may look like Differin is making them darker or redder. It is best to avoid sun exposure as much as possible and use gentle products alongside in order to reduce skin redness and darkening of spots. As skin gets used to the treatment, this redness reduces.

Precautions while using Differin

Do not use any other strong treatments such as alcohol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen throughout the day.

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Works, but needs patience

May 01, 2013 by acne mantra
Differin works. The biggest mistake I made was to not use it consistently. The redness and dry skin initially can scare you, but stick with it. It is one of the best acne treatments.

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21 Responses to Acne Treatment Gels – Adaferin, Deriva, Faceclin-A

  1. Profile photo of angel
    angel May 1, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    How does this compare with Yogurd in terms of benefits for acne and anti-aging ?

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM May 1, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      Good question. Yugard is a retinol cream and Differin is adapalene. They are both retinoids. Adapalene is a synthetic retinoid unlike retinol. This adaptation from the original retinoid molecule gave it increased capability to maximize its anti-acne benefits and minimize its irritation. Differin is less irritating than other retinoids and more stable in the sun. Retinol is highly unstable unless packaged right.

      Yugard is an over-the-counter anti-aging treatment that also helps with acne scars. Differin is specifically targeted toward being an anti-acne treatment. If Retino-A or Yugard cause irritation or too much redness and acne is a major problem for you, get an Adaferin or similar adapalene gel precription.

  2. Profile photo of angel
    angel May 1, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Does Adapelene also have anti aging benefits ? Does it help with scars ?

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM May 1, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      As far as I have read, no conclusive studies have been conducted. But given its retinoid nature, I would hope that it helps with anti-aging and scars too.

  3. thatsme June 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Which is a better option to treat acne – adapalene or retin A/nexret ?

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM June 5, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      Aapalene is mainly targeted at acne and is generally better tolerated with fewer side effects – redness, initial breakout etc.

  4. aijaz June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    hi, my doc suggested me to use aziderm in the evening and deriva bpo n glyco -A alternativelt at nights, is it ok??

  5. seerat June 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    hi…..i used faceclin and cetaphil cleanser for 4 month.It showed good result.Now, i am using neutregena facewash and facelin.Should i continue faceclin or not????should i change neutregena facewash??

  6. tj June 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm #


    my doctor suggested me to use deriva-cms and sebonac ( salicylic acid gel ) , but you people insist not to use salicylic acid gel … what should i do…. help me.. as soon as possible

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM June 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Hi tj, since it is part of your doctor’s prescription it might be better to use it because if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll be able to discuss it with your doc.

  7. tj June 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm #


    as far now it seems to be working for me…… but i wanna know is it good for a long time use ( 3-6 months ) . i have started using it a week ago, but i am able to see my face is a bit reddish…. is it okay ?

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM June 30, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Hi tj, it is likely the combination of Deriva-CMS and Sebonac together that is irritating your skin. You know we don’t have the authority to advice against your doc’s prescription, but if you’re seeing redness, then yeah, you take the call. Either contact the doc or look for alternatives. Another way is to use only one product for a few days and then see which of the two works better for you. Keep using that and chuck the other one. They are two different products for two different reasons, but you may still be able to get away with using just one.

  8. tj June 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    thank you guys…..

  9. Sona July 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    hi…can i use aha glow facewash along with faceclin A…???

    • Profile photo of TejuPriya
      TejuPriya July 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      hi sona aha glow cause dryness/peeling..if used along with adapelene could cause more dryness/peeling..if your skin can tolerant u could try using it once a day and then gradually making it twice a day after few days..add a oil free moisturizer along with it..i would suggest u to use a mild cleanser like sebamed cleansing foam which doesnt cause any dryness but helps with acne ..

  10. Devika July 20, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Hi acne mantra.I would like to know which adapalene brand is effective.?i’ve been using deriva cms from almost two months now but i don’t find any improvement in my acne and new pimples keep forming as well. I am suffering from harmonal acne. Please help :(

  11. Kah veng July 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Differin really work effectively for severe acne on affected area(s). However as mention by the user above, do NOT apply it at morning or noon as it will significantly cause severe sunburn and redness..Subject to different interpretation by doctors, some view that use differin after wash your face using mild soap (I strongly recommended using Cetaphil product) can actually made differin abosorb faster and function better but the problem is it will really coz quite severe redness on acne spot and associated areas. so, you can attempt to use method as I mention or as mentioned by the user in the site or both to see which can result better improvement..
    for me, I use benzoy peroxide with cetaphil acne moisturizer at morning and differin at night..For me, it really work perfectly..perhaps this piece of information can helps those people concern.

  12. Zayn August 8, 2013 at 4:02 am #

    I have just started using facelin-a gel and I use nivea for men oil control facewash is it okay to use it? Do you recommend any other facewash with Adapalene and clindamycin phosphate gel(faceclin-a) ? ?

  13. Zayn August 8, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    I also wanted to know which are the best over the counter products to be use for a flawless bright skin permanently? It would be a great favor if you could tell me what fashwash,moisturizer,toner and scrub to be use! I have a sensitive oilly skin

  14. baljeet brar August 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    hi plz tell me that which cream or gell i can use, have acne scars.

  15. baljeet brar August 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    my skin colour also looks like dark now. plz suggest me which cream or gel i have too use.