Adapalene is a retinoid topical medication that dermatologists and doctors prescribe for treating acne. It’s been on the market for more than 20 years and more than 40 million people across the globe have used it.
The best news for those who are prone to acne is that the FDA recently approved an over-the-counter acne treatment known as Adapalene Gel 0.1%. This means that sufferers no longer have to visit their doctor to be prescribed this medication.
So how does Adapalene treat acne? Well, acne, like whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, begins with a clogged pore. Our skin cells are continually renewing themselves. The old cells die, shedding and revealing new skin. If your skin is acne-prone, however, the dead cells combine with oil, get sticky and rather than shedding, they clog pores and trap acne bacteria inside.
By unblocking your pores and promoting quicker cell turnover, Adapalene attacks acne at its source, before the pimples can form on the skin. The dead cells of skin don’t get the chance to accumulate in the pores, preventing the development of earliest acne blemishes. In addition, Adapalene is an anti-inflammatory, so it treats the inflammation and redness of the pustules and papules that have already developed.
Even though this medication is new to patients who use over-the-counter acne products to keep their skin clear, it’s not a new treatment at all. It’s been a renowned anti-acne ingredient for many years and has been proven effective in clinical trials.
Adapalene may be applied to the face and its first effects may be seen in just a fortnight, but it can take you 3 months of everyday application to see reliable results.
When first used, the medication can cause dryness, irritation, and redness for some people. The irritation usually eases after the first month of continuous use, however. Sometimes your acne can briefly appear worse. If this happens, you can use a mild, non-comedogenic moisturizer, ideally one containing sunscreen protection, to counter the dryness of skin. If skin irritation is overly bothersome (severe), stop using Adapalene and talk to your doctor before you use it again.
Lastly, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should consult a healthcare provider before applying Adapalene as an acne remedy.
A brief feeling of stinging or warmth may occur just after applying Adapalene. Skin dryness, redness, scaling, itching, worsening of acne, or mild burning may occur within the first two to four weeks of using Adapalene. These effects usually subside with continued application. If any of the effects get worse or persist, tell your pharmacist or doctor right away. Your doctor may tell you to stop using the medication, decrease the frequency of use, or change the strength.
If you’ve been instructed to use Adapalene by your doctor, remember that he/she knows that it will provide you with more benefits than side effects. Many Adapalene users don’t experience severe side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of these severe side effects: very irritated/red skin, intense burning sensation, red and watery eyes (conjunctivitis), skin discoloration, and eyelid swelling.
A very severe allergic reaction to Adapalene is rare. However, seek medical help as soon as you notice symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as rash, swelling/itching (especially of the throat, tongue, face), trouble breathing, and severe dizziness.
This isn’t a full list of potential Adapalene side effects. If you suffer other different side effects, get in touch with your pharmacist/doctor.
Call your healthcare provider for medical advice regarding side effects. You can tell the FDA about any side effects experienced at -800-FDA-1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.
For an adult dose, apply some Adapalene to the affected part once daily at bedtime.
For a pediatric dose (children aged at least 12 years old), apply the cream to the affected part once every day at bedtime.
Severe stinging/warmth on application: You may temporarily stop using the medication or reduce the frequency of use until you can tolerate treatment.
Avoid using Adapalene if you have sunburned skin or you’re treating skin with irritating products such as salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol. Wait until your skin heals.
The efficacy and safety of this medication hasn’t been determined in patients under 12 years old.
Drug interactions can change how your medicines function or increase your chances of suffering severe side effects. This article doesn’t cover all potential drug interactions. Have a list of all products you’re using (like herbal products, prescription, or non-prescription drugs) and give it to your pharmacist or doctor. Don’t start, halt, or change your dose of any medication without your doctor’s permission.
Some products that can interact with Adapalene include products with glycolic acid, hydroxy acids, hair-perming solutions, menthol/alcohol/lime-containing products (like shaving lotions, toners, and astringents), abrasive/medicated cleansers and soaps, as well as cosmetics and soaps with a fast drying effect.
Other drug interactions can make you more sensitive to sunlight (sulfa drugs like sulfamethoxazole, fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin, thiazide water pills like hydrochlorothiazide, tetracyclines, and phenothiazines like chlorpromazine).
During the first three weeks of Adapalene application, your acne may seemingly worsen before it improves. You should expect full improvement inside 12 weeks, particularly if you apply the medicine daily. You shouldn’t stop using this medication if your acne appears worse initially, unless symptoms like irritation and others worsen. Check with your healthcare provider if your acne doesn’t get better within 8-12 weeks.
Don’t use any topical medication on the same area you’re applying Adapalene, unless your doctor directs you. If you use another topical medication on the same part treated with Adapalene, these products can cause minor to serious irritation of your skin.
Your doctor may instruct you to apply other topical products, include erythromycin, benzoyl peroxide, or clindamycin during your Adapalene treatment. Applying the topical medications at various times of the day can reduce the chances of skin irritation.
If your skin gets too red or dry at some point, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should keep using Adapalene. You can ease these skin problems by applying moisturizers, creams, or lotions as needed.
When using Adapalene, avoid too much sun exposure on treated parts and don’t use sunlamps. As your skin can be more susceptible to skin irritation or sunburn, use sunblocking or sunscreen lotions with an SPF of at least 15 on a regular basis. Wear protective clothes against cold weather, the sun, or wind.
Your acne may worsen initially and then should improve. It may take 2-12 weeks to see the full impact.
Don’t wash your face over 3 times daily without the permission of your healthcare provider.
Make sure to speak to your healthcare giver if you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or plan to get pregnant.
As an acne medication, Adapalene has been favored for decades by dermatologists but, until recently, it was available only by prescription.
It attacks acne by clearing blocked pores and ensuring that they’re clear so that acne bacteria is not trapped within and blemishes don’t get an opportunity to form. In addition, Adapalene boasts strong anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit existing pimples.
Adapalene is one of the top medications available for acne. It comes with so many benefits but also a number of side effects. To establish whether Adapalene is right for you, be sure to seek medical advice from your dermatologist first.