Ask An Expert: Prescription Differin Explained

Sometimes we need a little extra help when it comes to fighting acne. And while that help can come in the form of a prescription from your dermatologist, we don't always know which important questions to ask until after the appointment is over. But don't worry, if you're a prescription Differin user, we asked the questions for you in this week's “Ask an Expert” post.

On Facebook Vicki asks, Do you happen to know anything about prescription Differin? My dermatologist recommended this product for my adult acne. Can it be used in conjunction with AHA's and other vitamin A derivatives?

We reached out to West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD, for help with this question.

The best Differin candidate would be “patients that have open and closed comedones, or blackheads and whiteheads,” says Dr. Beer. “It contains retinoids, drugs that make the skin cells less sticky so they don't clog the skin.” Younger people that have oily or thick skin are also ideal candidates.

But if you're fair skinned, you may want to avoid it, as fair people tend to get irritated from this family of drugs. Other side effects include irritation, redness, and increased sensitivity. It can also dry your skin out, especially if you use it when your skin is wet. “Make sure that you use it when your skin is dry,” says Dr. Beer.

As for using Differin with AHAs and vitamin A derivatives, Dr. Beer suggests waiting about six weeks to be sure that your skin won't become irritated from just the Differin use. “Differin can be used with other skin-care brands, but not with other products or ingredients in the same family such as Tazoratene or Retin A.” He also doesn't recommend use while pregnant.

If applied correctly and religiously, Differin users tend to see results in about four to six weeks.

Hope these answers are helpful! Keep sending us those questions on Facebook and Twitter, and we'll keep getting you expert advice.

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