Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Differin vs La Roche Posay Adapalene

Differin vs La Roche Posay Adapalene

Topical retinoids are acne prone skin’s best friend, but what’s the difference between Differin gel vs La Roche Posay adapalene gel?

Adapalene gel treatments are some of my favorite skincare products, and honestly, these two are basically the same. The main difference has to do with a few minor inactive ingredients.

Either way, you can find Differin and La Roche Posay both pretty easily at drugstores like CVS.

This article will explain everything you need to know about Differin gel, La Roche Posay Adapalene, and the difference between them.

Adapalene Gel 0.1% Overview

Adapalene gel with BowTiedFawn branding

Adapalene is one of my favorite topical acne medications for skin.

It is a vitamin A derivative, also known as a retinoid. In fact, it’s the only retinoid approved for over the counter use in the United States by the FDA!

Adapalene gels applied at night to your skin works by upregulating cell turnover. This makes them great to target acne and give you clear skin.

Differin and La Roche Posay both make products that include this awesome active ingredient.

Alternatives to Adapalene

If you’re familiar with Differin, you probably have acne. So you’re likely already familiar with other skin treatments!

There are other retinoids out there that you would need to see a dermatologist to get, like:

  • Tretinoin
  • Tazarotene
  • Trifarotene

If you don’t think you’re ready for adapalene, you can always try out a more gentle form of vitamin A called retinol.

Some of these work better as acne skin treatments and others target aging better.

Which are better for your skin?

Neither Differin nor La Roche Posay adapalene gel are a replacement for these prescription-strength retinoids from a dermatologist.

However, they are a good place to start for your skin. You can always upgrade later!

Trust me, your skin will thank you for being gentle with it. Plus, both Differin and La Roche posay adapalene gel will have an efficacy enhancer in the formula to make them effective.

My Thoughts on Adapalene

I’ve tried a bunch of different stuff for acne treatment, and nothing is as good in my opinion. It works better than salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as an acne treatment for my clear skin!

I don’t even have oily skin – in fact, I have pretty dry skin. Either way, I like La Roche Posay adapelene or Differin.

Even if your skin is a bit bumpy, it will leave you with smoother texture after you get through the retinoid purge.

What’s a minor purge with initial irritation compared to the beautiful glow you’ll get in two weeks?

Okay, okay – it’ll take more like 3-6 months. But I promise the results are worth it if you have acne prone skin or oily skin.

Differin vs La Roche Posay Adapalene Gel

Differin Adapalene Gel Treatment

Differin adapalene gel 0.1% treatment logo with BowTiedFawn branding

Differin gel was the first FDA approved retinoid that you could pick up at your local drugstore. The concentrations found are lower than what you’d get at the dermatologist, but it’s still super effective.

It has not yet been approved to target signs of aging, but I suspect that it will be eventually.

La Roche Posay’s Adapalene

La Roche Posay adapalene gel 0.1% logo with BowTiedFawn branding

I like La Roche Posay as a brand, but but La Roche Posay’s product is basically the same as Differin.

Both medications effectively treat acne. You can compare the ingredient lists side by side and none of the differences will stand out.

This one is the same dermatologist-developed prescription strength retinoid with a clear gel consistency.

Don’t get me wrong, La Roche Posay adapalene is still a good choice. There’s just not much of a difference.

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient adapalene gel 0.1 works the same way in both.

Whether Differin gel or La Roche Posay adapalene, you’ll get where you need to go.

Seriously . . . adapalene gel is simple. If you have acne prone skin, it’s an ideal acne treatment.


Both skincare products include 0.1% adapalene which is effective to treat acne.

And these acne treatments are stronger than you think!

You only need a thin layer of either Galderma’s Differin gel or La Roche Posay adapalene to get the results you need.


Honestly, the only difference here is really in a few small ingredients down the list on both.

These ingredients (like carbomer homopolymer) don’t change anything significant.

These carbomers are really just there to improve the viscosity of the formula so the thickness is suitable like other skincare products.

Again, Differin gel and La Roche Posay adpalene both work for acne treatment.


Paula's Choice Ceramide Enriched Firming Moisturizer with BowTiedFawn branding

Look – it’s simple.

If you’re going to be using adapalene or other actives, you need to be moisturizing. This goes double if you have sensitive skin.

So yes, you need to use moisturizer after Differin.

If you stopped moisturizing, your skincare would not work as effectively because your skin barrier would be compromised.

I promise – moisturized skin is happy skin!

A good moisturizer can also help with hyperpigmentation and reducing irritation from adapalene gel 0.1%.

It’s important to pick one without harsh alcohols (of which, propylene glycol is not one) for your skin.

So I suggest checking out my moisturizer reviews like Paula’s Choice Ceramide Enriching Moisturizer or Clinical Ultra Rich Moisturizer.

Conclusion: Differin vs La Roche Posay Adapalene

Adapalene gel is my favorite acne treatment. And hey, it’s simple!

I like both of these products, Differin gel and La Roche posay adapalene 0.1%. Your skin will thank you for both or either.

They’re treat hyperpigmentation and other minor concerns, but they’re both best used to for people with oily skin dealing with acne.

As a bonus, neither really has fragrant components, and they’ll both fight hyperpigmentation. Plus, I can promise your dermatologist likes it too.

In fact, you’d have to see a dermatologist to increase from adapalene gel 0.1% to 0.3%.

One may have a few more carbomers or a different carbomer, like carbomer homopolymer for example. But you won’t notice much.

I really think you’d be happy with either, so pick whichever one is most available to you!

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