Both Differin (adapalene) and Retin-A (tretinoin) are topical retinoids which are available in different formulations and concentrations. They have been found to be effective for mild to moderate acne, reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions in 8-12 weeks.
According to research, Differin and Retin-A are proven to be effective in reducing inflammatory acne by 47% and 50% respectively, and non-inflammatory acne by 57% and 54%. Differin is significantly the more effective of the two, benefiting two out of three people.
Over-active sebaceous glands tend to contribute to the enlarged appearance of the pores. Retinoids work by normalizing he follicular lining cells, loosening the cells in the skin and unblocking the pores, allowing the natural oil-producing glands to function properly. Retinoids also help decrease inflammation and act as a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells.
Retinoid products can be bought over-the-counter, but generally, retinoids such as Differin and Retin-A which are prescribed by a doctor, are more effective, as they have a higher retinal concentration level.
Differin is a retinoid-like drug and affects the growth of skin cells, reducing the production of keratin. It is more suited to those with dry or fair skin, and is available in a gel or cream form. The cream is less irritating than the gel and thus suitable for sensitive skin, but less effective in comedonal acne.
Retin-A works well for both comedonal and inflammatory types of acne. For these reasons, Retin-A and similar acne medication have become the mainstay of most acne therapies, effective when used alone or in combination with other topical or oral treatments. Differin is the least irritating of retinoids, whereas Retin-A has more adverse side effects than other topical retinoids.
Retinoids get to the root problem of acne by preventing microcomedo formation. They decrease the number of existing comedones and block pathways that lead to inflammation. Studies have shown that there is an enhanced therapeutic benefit when topical retinoids are used along with other topical and oral treatments for acne.
Irritation from retinoids is still an issue in that some people are very sensitive to retinoid treatments. The initial use of retinoids may turn the skin red and irritated, leading many people to stop using the products as they believe that they are allergic or sensitive to the products.
However, most people find that with regular use these effects subside, and in most cases the treatment goes on to be very sucessful. With patient education and proper use, side effects from retinoids can be reduced.
How To Reduce The Side Effects Of Retinoids Such As Differin and Retin-A
To minimize side effects, at the beginning of treatment, use retinoids like Differin or Retin-A every other day or even only once or twice a week to help the skin adapt to the treatment. Depending on how the skin responds, the applications can be increased to every other night and then slowly to every night as the skin adapts to the medication.
It is important to apply retinoids such as Retin-A or Differin at night because the sun inactivates these medications. Retinoids are not photosensitizers. This means that they do not increase your sensitivity to sun exposure. They do help your stem cells mature in a more normal way, which can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Therefore, apply sunscreen and wear a hat or cap when going outdoors. Reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours, and try not to be out in the sun at mid-day when the sun is at its hottest.
Stop using Retin-A for about 5 to 7 days before and 2 days after having lips, brows, or face waxed in order to minimize irritation and the burning sensation from the procedure. Even if Retin-A is being applied to only the forehead and cheeks, the skin on the upper lip can still be more sensitive to waxing or other potentially irritating procedures.
Other areas of the body that are not being treated with Retin-A are not affected. Legs and bikini or other areas not being treated with Retin-A can undergo waxing procedures as usual.