Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

In this article, we will find out “Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer? “, together.

Differin gel has proven to be one of the best treatments for mild to moderate inflammatory acne. This gel is used as a topical skin treatment and it contains adapalene, a retinoid as its active ingredient. The retinoid clears acne through unclogging the pores and promoting exfoliation of dead skin cells.

The adapalene in Differin gel also helps decrease the amount of oil secreted by the sebaceous glands which may clog the pores when available in excess. Differin gel also helps treat dark spots and fine wrinkles and prevent formation of Comedones and whiteheads.

When using Differin gel to treat acne experts recommend using it together with a moisturizer to minimize dryness and other skin irritations that may occur as the medicine adjusts to your body. The big question however is, do you apply Differin gel before or after moisturizer? Let’s find out.

Importance of Using a Moisturizer with Differin Gel

During the first few weeks of using Differin gel you are likely to experience some side effects such as redness, dryness and irritation. This is known as retinization and it results as the gel tries to become accustomed with your body. This period may last anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks. During this time, it’s essential to use a gentle moisturizer such as Differin soothing moisturizer to help calm the itchiness and other skin irritations occurring as the gel adjusts to your body.

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

Whether or not to apply Differin gel before or after a moisturizer is a personal choice. Some people apply a moisturizer before the Differin gel while others layer it on top of the gel. While applying a moisturizer before the Differin gel is a viable option it may lead to difficulties in the absorption process of the treatment.

Differin gel requires a well cleansed skin to absorb quickly and treat acne. Therefore, always ensure to apply Differin gel before a moisturizer for faster absorption. Also take into account that Differin comes in a gel form which means it’s less thick than your moisturizer. It’s always advisable to apply lighter products first before moving on to the thicker ones.  You can follow the following steps when using Differin gel to treat acne.

Step 1: Wash Your Face with a Gentle Cleanser

The number one requirement before applying Differin gel is to wash your face with a gentle, non-drying and non-irritating cleanser. This will help get rid of makeup dirt, excess oils and other debris providing a clean surface for the gel to absorb faster into your skin.

Step 2: Apply Differin Gel

Differin gel works as a full-face treatment. Therefore, apply it to your well cleansed and dried face. As with any other skincare product, ensure to use it as recommended by your dermatologist or manufacturer. It may require you to apply different sizes of the gel such as pea sized amounts amongst others based on your condition.

The rule of the thumb is to ensure you apply a thin layer of the gel on a clean skin surface.

Step 3: Apply a Moisturizer

To minimize the drying effects of Differin gel you should apply a non-comedogenic and mild moisturizer on top of it to keep your skin glowing and hydrated. Experts recommend waiting 30-40 minutes after applying Differin gel before topping it up with a moisturizer.

If you apply the gel in the morning, ensure to follow it up with a 30 SPF sunscreen to prevent harmful UV rays.

Some Best Moisturizers to Use with Differin Gel

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

This night cream is a non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturizer that contains useful ingredients such as Niacinamide, biomimetic peptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid that help in calming the skin, hydrating and restoring protective skin barrier. CeraVe skin renewing night cream comes in a non-foaming, creamy texture that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving any residue.

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

With this moisturizer you can be assured of a renewed skin in one night. To apply CeraVe skin renewing night cream get a sufficient amount of it at the back of your hand and apply in small dots over your face. Rub it gently using the tips of your figures until it’s evenly absorbed onto your skin.

Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisture Infusing Lotion

Paula’s choice Hydralight moisture infusing lotion is ideal for hydrating and replenishing dehydrated and damaged skin. This moisturizer contains a light as water formula that absorbs quickly into the skin hydrating and leaving a non-greasy matte finish.

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

Paula’s choice moisturizer also contains antioxidants that help in soothing the skin and giving it a younger refreshed look. This moisturizer is safe to use on normal to oily or combination skin types. You can use it at night as the last step in your skincare routine or in the morning. When using it in the morning ensure to follow it up with a 30 SPF sunscreen to protect against the negative effects of sunlight.

Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion

If you are fighting to overcome dry skin this is the moisturizer for you. Hadalabo Gokujun hyaluronic lotion moisturizer contains three types of hyaluronic acid that help in hydrating and replenishing the skin. This moisturizer is free of fragrance, oil and alcohol.

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

To apply, get a pea sized amount of it on your palm and gently rub it between your hands to warm before applying it on your face.

Zelen Life Moisturizer

Zelen life moisturizer is a fragrance free and non-comedogenic cream that absorbs quickly into the skin helping sooth it and hydrates it. This moisturizer is pure organic and contains essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins to help in nourishing and replenishing the skin. You can use this moisturizer on any skin type for good hydration and soothing.

Do You Apply Differin Gel Before or After Moisturizer?

Primary Things to Consider When Choosing a Moisturizer to Use with Differin Gel

There are hundreds of mild and non-comedogenic moisturizers compatible with Differin gel out there. Before choosing a moisturizer to use with Differin gel you should consider the following factors;

Your Skin Type

Different moisturizers address different skin types. Before using a moisturizer to use with Differin gel you must ensure it’s right for your skin type.

Ingredient List of the Moisturizer

Moisturizers are composed of different ingredients. Before purchasing any product it’s advisable to know what’s contained inside to avoid negative allergic reactions and other side effects that may result.

What You Desire for Your Skin

Moisturizers perform other functions besides hydrating. If you for instance need something that will help heal and restore your damaged skin you should opt for one with those capabilities.


When used correctly Differin gel is one of the surest ways of addressing acne and other related skin conditions. To avoid drying and other side effects that result from using this product you should ensure to use it with a gentle and non-comedogenic moisturizer such as those mentioned above.

For best results ensure to use Differin gel before your preferred moisturizer and add a sunscreen when using it during the day. Also remain consistent with the medication and use it as prescribed by your dermatologist or doctor.


🧸 🐰 💦 💄 💋 🧼 🌞🌞🌞 Hi There. I'm Brittany. I've been writing about beauty for a while now and have written for other prominent websites. Since I was a little kid, I knew I loved beauty when my mother let me clean off her makeup with baby wipes while getting ready for church. 💗 I love nail polish, makeup, hair, skin care products, and everything in between. Also, 🌸 I get my inspiration from the most popular magazines and international bloggers, celebrities, and famous makeup artists. Visit my contact me page now!

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