Stores & Services
Find a Sephora

Happening at Sephora

View all


From makeovers to personalized skincare consultations

Free Classes

Get inspired, play with products & learn new skills

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Adapalene with other skin care products

Does anyone use Adapalene or other prescription gels with their normal skin care. 


Can I use Adapalene and a serum and moisturizer? if so, should I use adapalene before or after a serum?


Thank you,

I agree with everyone above. Differin has really helped m...

I agree with everyone above. Differin has really helped my skin but you definitely need a moisturizer after. I use Differin at night and salicylic acid in the mornings, both followed by moisturizers or masks.

Re: I agree with everyone above. Differin has really helped m...

OMG NO!! I know this is an old post but for anyone who comes across this I want to make sure they know that it is NOT ok to use salicylic acid while using any retinols, including Differin (even if you use them at different times of day). That is a recipe for a chemical burn at worst and stinging, dry skin at best. 

Re: I agree with everyone above. Differin has really helped m...

@PRESER06  I’ll second @RGbrown here. Whether or not you can use retinol with BHA or an AHA—whether layered atop each other in the same routine, or alternated in AM and PM routines—depends on your skin’s tolerance. 


My nightly eye serum, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum 0.5 oz/ 15 mL, contains retinol, BHA, and AHA. The pH level isn’t quite where it needs to be for the 2 exfoliants to effectively do much, but still: they’re in this serum along with retinol. I’ve used this on my finicky undereye skin each night for months with no bad reaction. That doesn’t mean everyone else’s skin can tolerate it. My skin seems to love it. In fact, nowadays I apply it over a very thin layer of leave-on BHA exfoliant. 


Also, I use The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL 4 nights a week. I always layer it atop either the BHA exfoliant I mentioned or a leave-on AHA exfoliant. I’m doing all of this with my dermatologist’s blessing. It helps that I took my time introducing AHA to my skin first to build up tolerance, then introduced OTC retinol later. I’m honestly surprised my skin’s handling this layering so well, considering how it throws itchy bumpy scaly tantrums over other things. I can’t use skincare products that contain honey 2 or more days/nights in a row but, somehow, acid exfoliation + retinol on the same night—and on consecutive nights—is just fine. 😂 


I don’t use Rx retinoid or even OTC Differin because my skin doesn’t need that potent a retinoid, and that stuff could be too damaging for my particular skin. That’s yet another example of how individual skin tolerance matters. 

Re: I agree with everyone above. Differin has really helped m...


I beg to differ. I use Salicylic Acid and retinol together every single day. Perhaps your skin can't handle them both, but that's not a blanket statement that can be applied to everyone.

Re: Adapalene with other skin care products

Hi there!

     I work at a Pharmacy, and I also use over-the-counter adapalene. Adapalene clears your skin by drying it out. In my opinion, use the adapalene before you go to bed. When you wake up, put moisturizer on your face. Personally, the Belif True Cream works best for me. Adapalene should only be used once per day, because it dries out your skin. If your doctor advised you to use this multiple times, don’t put on the moisterizer directly after the adapalene. Let it dry out your skin a little bit, then put the moisterizer on for better results.


Hope this helps!

Re: Adapalene with other skin care products

Hey, just a quick note. Adapalene doesn't work by drying skin out. It treats acne by increasing the rate at which your skin cells turn over. But I agree that moisturizing is super necessary, especially when using Differin!

Re: Adapalene with other skin care products

I use Differin (adapalene), and definitely recommend using a serum and/or moisturizer to prevent dryness. I use Differin first and then follow with an antioxidant-rich moisturizer in the evening. I use a niacinamide serum (and no Differin) in the morning.


This article may be helpful as you figure out what works and doesn't with retinol products:

7 Replies
Conversation Stats
  • 7 replies
  • 5 Hearts Given
  • 8 Contributors