So, you've decided you want to try a best-selling retinoid acne treatment, but you can't quite figure out what the differences are? We've all been there, don't worry!
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CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum vs Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%
By penetrating deep beneath your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin) and neutralizing free radicals, retinoids boost your skin's production of elastin, collagen, and comedolytic agents. These natural chemicals work simultaneously with retinoids' auxiliary exfoliating effect to uncover fresh layers of skin, essentially speeding up the skin's natural regeneration process and consequently thwarting acne-related concerns and hyperpigmentation.
The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum and the Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% feature two different types of retinoid—Retinol and Adapalene—which, as we'll be discussing today, makes all the difference when it comes to deciding which is best for you and your skin. Let's get into the comparison!
On paper, the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum contains .3% retinol and the Differin Adapalene Gel contains .1% adapalene. You would be forgiven for thinking that would make CeraVe's serum the stronger of the two, but that assumption would be incorrect. In fact, retinol needs to undergo a two-step oxidation process before it becomes a retinoid (the useful stuff), whereas adapalene *is* a retinoid and does not need to be converted before it becomes active.
The upshot of this fact is that the Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% is by far the most potent of the two, meaning that it would in all likelihood yield results more quickly. However, it's definitely worth considering that this potency also comes with an increased risk of irritation, and trust us when we tell you that retinol burns are absolutely no fun at all.
If you have particularly sensitive skin, or have never tried retinol before, it would probably be best to try the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum first. Once you've figured out exactly how much your skin can tolerate, you would then be able to graduate to a stronger retinoid such as the Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% more comfortably.
Another point to consider is the fact that the Differin Adapalene Gel only contains adapalene plus the necessary preservatives and ingredients for it to be administrable as a gel. The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum contains retinol, of course, but it also contains several other skin-nourishing ingredients, including:
- Licorice Root Extract: known to be especially beneficial for those struggling with inflammation-related concerns such as acne and eczema.
- Niacinamide: helps to calm the skin, minimizing redness and blotchiness.
- Ceramides: helps restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
- Hyaluronic Acid: helps to maintain your skin's hydration levels.
As is fairly apparent, with CeraVe's Retinol Serum you're getting far more than just an ordinary retinol serum; you get a full-package acne treatment in one.
To sum up, the Differin Adapalene Gel is heavily geared towards those looking for a strong solution to acne-related concerns (ideal for those with some prior experience using retinoids), whereas the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is a relatively mild acne treatment, best suited for those with sensitive skin and/or beginners with retinol.
Looking for a mild acne treatment?
Try the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Looking for a stronger acne treatment?
Try the Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%
Resurfacing Retinol Serum by CeraVe
Our rating: ★★★★★
With encapsulated retinol to help resurface skin.
What makes it special? CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum helps smooth your skin's texture by reducing the appearance of post-acne marks, minimizing the look of pores and improving your skin’s surface. The formula contains encapsulated retinol to help resurface your skin, plus licorice root extract to help brighten your skin’s appearance. In addition, it's formulated with 3 essential ceramides that work together to lock in skins moisture and help restore your skin’s protective barrier, along with soothing niacinamide.
Which skin types? For post-acne marks & pores.
Adapalene Gel 0.1% by Differin
Our rating: ★★★★★
Clears acne with the power of Rx, without a prescription needed.
What makes it special? Take a different approach to clearing—and preventing—your acne. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free Differin Gel contains the retinoid adapalene, the first over-the-counter active ingredient for acne in more than 30 years. It’s what you and your skin have been waiting for. Use daily. Get consistently clear.
Which skin types? For acne-prone skin types.