This of course can be both a good thing as well as a bad thing for consumers. Many consumers will apply the more concentrated dose without realizing the potential side effects of these types of ingredients and wind up with severe side effects. Our experts warned us going into the product review that for many this ingredient can result in a “burning sensation” as its goal is to promote accelerated exfoliation. Accelerated exfoliation often leads to severe drying of the skin which can also lead to acne scars.
We thought we would test each of the three versions based upon the recommendations made on the Differin website. We used the lowest concentration on minor acne breakouts and the higher concentration on more severe cases (all acne seems severe to most of us, but that is not always the case). We also conducted sensitive skin reviews using the cream version of Differin. The results were honestly somewhat troubling.
This lowest dosage was far more than any of us wanted to deal with. The rate at which this product dried out our skin was staggering and according to our experts would lead to long term damage with continued usage. Like many harsh acne treatments, this dries out the oily skin rather quickly, but causes so much damage simultaneously that one must wonder which skin condition is worse.
Those of our subjects that did not have a reaction to the product said that it did seem to dry out acne rapidly, but they were uncomfortable with the amount of drying and needed to use a replenishing moisturizer to complete the treatment. For the majority, however the burning sensation and severe drying was almost too much for them to deal with, and had this been a normal use and not a study, they would have discontinued the use. This one is tough to call. The product may in fact work well but there is no way for us to know who it will react poorly with and who will enjoy it. A fairly large risk from our standpoint.