Drugs Home > Adapalene Dosage

For most people, the standard dose of adapalene is a thin layer of the gel, lotion, or cream applied to the affected area once a day, just before bedtime. It is normal for your skin to get worse before you notice any improvement. It can take up to two months before you can determine whether this acne medication is working for you.

An Introduction to Dosing With Adapalene

There is only one standard way to use adapalene (Differin®). As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Adapalene Dose for Acne

Adapalene products come in two different strengths -- 0.1% (cream, gel, and lotion) or 0.3% (gel only). The 0.3% formulation is probably most appropriate for people who have more severe acne.
The standard dosage for all adapalene products is a small amount applied to the affected area once a day just before bedtime, after washing the face and/or other affected areas (such as the back). For the lotion, this "small amount" is specifically mentioned to be about the size of a nickel.
Although some people may be able to see good results by just treating a few problem areas, you will probably find that you get better results by applying the product to the entire area (while making sure to avoid the delicate skin around the eyes and lips). Do not just treat when an outbreak occurs; be sure to use the medication on a daily basis.
You should expect that your acne might temporarily get worse before it gets better. This is due to the action of the medication on acne lesions that were hidden beneath the skin. It is important to try to "stick it out" for a least two months or so, when you will have a much better idea of whether this medication is working for you. Additionally, many of the bothersome adapalene side effects (such as dryness and redness) often go away with continued use of the medication.
Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun while you are using adapalene. Ask your healthcare provider about what sun protection measures you should take. He or she will be able to recommend a good sunscreen that will be appropriate for your skin type (and will not worsen your acne).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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