Can the OTC version of Differin be used for wrinkles? I’m going to find out.
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Don’t you know Differin is for acne, not anti-aging?
Yes, I know. Differin is the first new over-the-counter (OTC) acne medicine available in over 30 years. The active ingredient, adapalene, is a retinol and is related to tretinoin (Retin-A). The main difference is that adapalene is not as harsh on the skin as tretinoin, and apparently works with different receptors in the skin than tretinoin.
However, adapalene does still do some of the same things that tretinion can do, like smooth and re-texture the skin. Of course, what adapalene does best is get rid of acne.
If Retin-A is so great for anti-aging, why not just use that?
Retin-A is not available without a prescription in the United States, and if you are over a certain age and do not have acne, doctors here won’t prescribe it. That makes it difficult to get a Retin-A prescription. Also, Retin-A is expensive in the U.S. (Yes, I can get Retin-A online through an overseas pharmacy site, but I don’t know if I’m ready to try that yet.)
So, if you don’t have acne, can you still use Differin?
There’s nothing that says I can’t. There are only one or two studies that show that adapalene is effective for anti-aging as of this posting. That’s mostly because all other studies only concentrated on adapalene’s effect on acne. Any evidence that adapalene works for anti-aging was purely coincidental.
Even though I’m in my mid-40’s, I still get a couple of spots here and there. When I do, I want them gone. However, that’s not my primary goal for using Differin. I want to use Differin for its skin smoothing and re-texturing (a.k.a. anti-aging) properties.
The OTC version of Differin isn’t full prescription strength. Will it still work?
In theory, yes. The main difference between the prescription strength gel and the OTC strength gel is the percentage of adapalene it contains. Prescription strength is 0.3%. OTC strength is 0.1%. With the OTC version, I should be able to use Differin every night with no redness or peeling. Just to be safe, I’m using it every other night to start.
Where can you find the OTC version of Differin?
I bought mine at my local grocery store. It’s available in 1/2 ounce and 1 ounce tubes. The 1/2 ounce tube sells for $13.99 USD. The 1 ounce tube sells for $28.99 USD. (Prices may vary depending on where you get it.) Looks like the Differin 0.1% gel is available at Wal-Mart, Target , CVS, Walgreens, Amazon, and most places you can buy skincare.
How do you plan on using Differin for anti-aging?
As I mentioned above, I’m starting out using Differin every other night. Adapalene may be gentle, but it’s still a powerful retinoid. So far, I’ve been using this for about a month. (I wish I had thought to take a photo of my skin before I started this experiment.)
On the nights I use the Differin gel, I double cleanse to remove all my makeup and get my skin really clean. After cleansing, I pat my skin dry and use a gentle, hydrating toner. (I’m really liking the Thayer’s rose petal toner right now.) Then I smooth on a light moisturizer. I let that sink in for a few minutes, then I apply the Differin gel all over my face, concentrating on areas that have large pores, texture, and wrinkles. I use slightly more than the recommended pea-size dollop, but I am also putting it on my neck and chest. I then let the Differin gel sink into my skin for a few minutes, and after that I follow up with a heavier night moisturizer. (This is very simplified compared to my usual multi-step nighttime routine.)
That’s not how you’re supposed to use adapalene!
I know that’s not the recommended way to use adapalene. I have done a lot a reading on how to use it and what to expect, as well as watching several videos of real people using it for their anti-aging routines. The way I’m using it is within bounds. So far, I haven’t had any redness or peeling. Well, I haven’t had anymore redness that I usually have.
I have had a few pimples crop up, but I think that’s mostly the adapalene working. The spots are also on the right side of my face. Since I tend to sleep on my right side a lot, that may be a sign I need to change my pillow cases more often. I do feel like the pores on my nose look a bit smaller since I started using this, but my oiliness hasn’t subsided. I still get quite oily by midday.
I don’t know how this experiment is going to work out, but I will keep you updated. Hopefully, this will get me some good results and I won’t have to try to order Retin-A from an overseas pharmacy.