Compare Differin vs. benzoyl peroxide

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Differin (adapalene)

Prescription or OTC

Benzac (benzoyl peroxide)

Prescription or OTC
Treats acne.

Differin (adapalene) is commonly used for treating acne, but, it can cause skin irritation.

Treats acne.

Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) is the most effective over-the-counter treatment for mild acne.

3.4/ 5 average rating with 394 reviewsforbenzoyl peroxide
Upsides
  • Differin (adapalene) is a good option for the treatment of acne.
  • It is available as a cheaper, generic medication.
  • It only has to be applied to the skin once a day at bedtime.
  • The 0.1% gel formulation is available over the counter, without a prescription.
  • Differin (adapalene) is generally well tolerated, with few side effects.
  • Available over-the-counter from many brands.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) comes in many different forms and combinations with other acne products.
Downsides
  • Your skin may look worse before it starts looking better.
  • Differin (adapalene) can take up to 8 to 12 week to start working.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) increases your skin's sensitivity to the sun and may also cause dryness or stinging.
  • Be careful when applying Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) to large areas since it can bleach hair, clothing, and pillow cases upon contact.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) needs to be combined with other medications to effectively treat severe acne.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Lotion
  • Cream
  • Lotion
  • Liquid
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Soap
Price
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Reviews
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394 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
29%
saiditworked well
9%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
5possible side effects
  • Skin dryness
    42%
  • Skin redness
    38%
  • Skin scaling
    35%
  • Persistent burning and stinging
    24%
  • Persistent itching
    21%
See more detailed side effects
The Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Local skin reactions
    • Soaps and cleansers with skin-drying effects
    • Products with high concentraions of alcohol, astringents, spices, or limes.
  • UV and sunlight exposure
  • Severe allergic reaction
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Bleaching
  • Skin irritation
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Allergic reaction
See more detailed risks and warnings