How Strong of a Retinoid is in Differin Cream?

The Differin Cream 0.1 %, the mildest version of the 3. And can it increase the penetration of hydroquinone to produce greater lightening affects?

Doctor Answers 2

Differin is not a true retinoid

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Differin (adapalene) is not a true retinoid like Retin A or Tazorac but has similar properties to these other topical medicines.  It is difficult to classify its strength, but it can be thought of as a more mild version of Retin A and Tazorac.

Houston Dermatologist

Different Differin

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Differin (Adapalene) is a bit different than Its cousins Tazorac ( Tazarotene) and Retin A ( Tretinoin) in that, unlike the others, which are natural Vitamin A derivatives,  it is a synthetic Retinoid. It is a designed drug, meant to activate the Retinoid receptors in the skin. Whether bears the same attributes as the true Vitamin A derivatives, has not been adequately studied. Thus, it probably works as an anti-aging medication, but the data is not yet there. Similarly, whether it allows better penetration of hydroquinone like Tretinoin, and presumably Tazaratene, I must rank as more of a probable than a definite. 

One thing I would note also is that Galderma, the company that makes, Tri-Luma also makes Differin. They opted to use Tretinoin in their fine, bleaching product. One would think that, if they were convinced that Differin was at least equal to Tretinoin, they would have used Differin in that.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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