Adapalene for Acne : Benefits, Precautions and Side Effects

Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorder affecting millions of people across the globe.

A lot of home and herbal remedies have also been suggested as a treatment option.

Other medications include antibiotics and anti-retinoid.

This article shall discuss the effectiveness of one such anti retinoid, adapalene, in the treatment of acne.

What is Adapalene and how it helps in Acne?

Adapalene belongs to the class of medications known as retinoid and is a third generation topical retinoid.

It is used to treat moderate to mild acne and is usually helpful towards the treatment of acne that contains comedones.

Adapalene’s comedolytic effect is possible because of its ability to inhibit keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation.

According to a study, adapalene reduced comedo formation by 50% to 60% as per the comedo counts.

How does it treat acne?

Adapalene is an effective and trusted treatment for mild to moderate acne.

It tends to inhibit the growth of infected cells and also of bacteria thereby reducing the severity of acne pimples and also facilitates quick healing. It also tends to have exfoliation properties which

It also tends to have exfoliation properties which help in removing the dead skin cells and unclogs the pores.

Additionally, it also has the anti inflammatory capability which helps in reducing the inflammation and the resultant swelling and redness by killing the acne causing bacteria.


Adapalene comes in the form of a gel, solution, and cream to be applied topically on the affected area.

While the solution comes in a glass bottle with individual wipes for one use. It should be used one time in a day.

It should be applied only as instructed by the doctor and you should never indulge in ovantibioticion for quick results as it might lead to increased risks of side effects.

Taking adapalene can only prevent the acne breakouts and not cure it completely.

It might cause initial breakouts during the first few days and complete improvement will only be visible after a period of 2 months or more.

Before applying it, you must wash and pat dry the affected area with a non medicated soap or cleanser and use your fingers to gently apply a thin coat over the area concerned.


It should be kept away from light and moisture and at room temperature. The best suitable temperature range is 68 degrees F to 77 degrees F (20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius). It should be kept in a cool place away from direct heat.

Different forms may have different storage requirements and the pamphlet should be consulted for this.

The proper disposal of unused medicine should be discussed with the pharmacist and it should be kept away from the reach of children.

Possible Side effects

The side effects associated with the use of adapalene, specifically topical adapalene, are enumerated below:

  • It might cause an immediate reaction of burning sensation or redness
  • Using it topically can cause dryness and itching, tickling
  • It may also cause initial breakouts and worsening of existing acnes
  • It might lead to eyes redness and watering, conjunctivitis in extreme cases
  • Allergic reactions to this medication might include rash, swelling itching of the throat, face, tongue, dizziness and respiratory problems
  • Continued topical application has the potential to make your skin sensitive to Sun’s rays
  • It might cause skin discoloration including hyper or hypo pigmentation


In order to minimize the risk of the above-mentioned side effects and ensure the full effectiveness of the treatment, you must observe the following precautions:

  • You must inform the doctor if you are pregnant, breast feeding or are trying to get pregnant.
  • The doctor must be informed about any other skin disorder that you might have or have had other than acne, particularly eczema
  • The doctor should be informed about any family history of skin cancer if any
  • The doctor should know about all the prescriptive, non-prescriptive, oral and topical medications you are taking
  • If you feel that you require moisturizing the treated area, then use a cream/lotion that is not particularly oil rich as it might clog your pores
  • Do not use make-up at the same time and spot as you use adapalene and strictly avoid using anything which might exfoliate and make your skin dry
  • Since it can make your skin sensitive to Sun light, you must avoid exposure to direct sun light and wear a sun screen, with an SPF of at least 15 or a protective cloth, whenever going out.
  • Continue with the treatment for at least 6 weeks before judging the result and taking a decision
  • Avoid getting pregnant while on adapalene and discuss the most suitable contraceptive you can use, with your doctor
  • In order to prevent any recurrence, you must continue with the maintenance treatment even after the spots and acne are gone
  • Do not apply adapalene to a burnt, broken or diseased skin
  • It is for external use only and must be kept away from the eyes, mouth and mucous membrane
  • Do not try waxing or using a hair removal cream on the area under treatment

Possible Drug interaction of adapalene

Products/ medications that have the potential to react with this medication include:

  • Products/ medications containing alpha hydroxyl acid
  • Products/medications containing glycolic acid
  • Hair removal solutions
  • Products/medications containing alcohol, lime or menthol, like astringent, toners or shaving lotions
  • Medicated or abrasive soaps and cleansers
  • Products/medications containing sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid
  • Products that might increase sensitivity of your skin towards light such as water pills and sulfa drugs
  • Products that can cause dryness

Customer reviews for adapalene

We did an online analysis of consumers review to see how the experience has been of consumers who have undergone this treatment.

Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about it:

What they liked about it:

Time effective: Adapalene was rated to be a very high time effective treatment by many consumers.

It had shown, according to some, an 80% improvement in just 3 weeks. The difference can be felt in the very first few instances of usage.

Black heads: A lot of consumers believed that it was also additionally effective in reducing black head to a large extent.

Though black heads are usually a cause of pigmentation and not directly related to the growth of bacteria or microbes, adapalene though accidentally showed a marked clearance in their skin

Skin texture: Adapalene was seen to improve the texture of the skin in order to make it more smooth, soft and supple.

It also reduced dryness for a lot of consumers. As such it was highly recommended by then for an overall improvement in the health of your skin.

What they did not like about it:

Redness: A few consumers complained that its topical application made their skin red and also added to the already existing redness caused due to the acne induced inflammation.

Initial breakout: Some consumers were really unhappy with the initial breakouts that were caused as a result of its application.

However, it has been suggested that these breakouts are just a sign of the effectiveness of the medication as they actually try to bring out the suppressed pimples in order to start and facilitate the healing process.

Scaling: Quiet a few of them were unhappy with the effect that it had on their skin initially.

It not only caused scaling and itching of the skin but also made them extremely dry so that they started to peel off.

The dryness sometimes also causes aching of the skin area concerned.


Adapalene is a fairly popular and time tested drug for the treatment of acne.

It combines its anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties to fight the acne causing bacteria.

Moreover, it improves the texture of the skin so that it becomes more soft, supple and smooth.

Moreover, it improves the texture of the skin so that it becomes more soft, supple and smooth. Moreover, it is very time

Moreover, it is very time efficient and you can notice the difference or improvement in just a few days or weeks.

It attacks the acne causing bacteria at its very roots and inhibits their growth thereby preventing any further breakout.

If all other treatments or medications have not worked for you, this might just be the treatment you have been looking for. Anyhow, there is mo harm in giving it a try.

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