Differin vs CeraVe Retinol

Differin and CeraVe Retinol Serum are both popular affordable skincare products that contain retinoids.

However, Differin gel is better for acne prone skin while CeraVe Retinol Serum is better for mature skin and dark spots.

This article will explain everything you need to know about Differin adapalene gel 0.1%, CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, and which one is right for you.

Differin Adapelene Gel 0.1%

Differin Gel and Box with BowTiedFawn branding

Differin gel is a popular alcohol free over the counter acne treatment formulated with adapalene.

Key Ingredients

Key Ingredients

  • Adapalene 0.1%


The retinoid adapalene is an active ingredient that fights acne and clogged pores by speeding up cell turnover.

Differin adapalene gel 0.1% treatment logo with BowTiedFawn branding


Adapalene is a phenomenal treatment for acne prone skin. By speeding up cell turnover, Differin fights mild to moderate acne.

It can also pair well with benzoyl peroxide throughout your weekly skincare routine to fight acne.


La Roche Posay also makes an adapalene gel treatment.

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum with BowTiedFawn branding

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol is a popular alcohol free skincare product for mature skin and hyperpigmentation.

It can also be used as an acne treatment, although Differin gel is a better choice for that.

Key Ingredients

Key Ingredients

  • 0.3% encapsulated retinol
  • Licorice root extract
  • Niacinamide
  • Ceramides
  • Sodium hyaluronate (similar to hyaluronic acid)

CeraVe logo with BowTiedFawn branding


CeraVe is known for including ceramides in their formula, such as ceramide ap and ceramide np.


CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol has a bunch of anti aging benefits, such as:

  • Stimulates collagen production

  • Fights fine lines and wrinkles

  • Gets rid of dark marks

  • Evens out skin tone

Comparison: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum vs Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%

Differin Gel with BowTiedFawn brandingCeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum with BowTiedFawn branding

Both skincare products can be a great addition to your routine, but how do they stack up? Let’s take a look!

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient in Differin is adapalene, while the active in CeraVe is retinol. Both of these are vitamin A derivatives that speed up cell turnover.

Generally, adapalene is better suited to treat acne prone skin while retinol is better suited to treat aging skin or uneven skin tone.


Differin gel has 0.1% adapalene while CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol has 0.3% retinol. Adapalene is stronger than retinol, so Differin is stronger than CeraVe.

Therefore, Differin is more effective at fighting acne than Cerave. However, for some people, this extra strength may cause irritation and redness.

Because CeraVe is not as strong, it is a better choice for sensitive skin.

To avoid irritation, be sure to follow up either treatment with a moisturizer.

Skin Type

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol is a better choice for mature and sensitive skin. Differin gel is the better choice for acne prone skin.

Other Ingredients

Differin’s only important ingredient is adapalene. On the other hand, CeraVe is formulated with other skin loving ingredients to fight hyperpigmentation and dullness as well as soothe irritation

However, Differin is alcohol free while CeraVe contains alcohol.

Thankfully, both products are oil free and non comedogenic which make them great retinoid treatments.

Differin Gel vs CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol: Which should you get?

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum with Box and BowTiedFawn branding

If you are looking to treat acne, go for Differin. If you’re more concerned about signs of aging or dark marks, go with the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol.

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