Daily Deep Cleanser
Differin's Daily Deep Cleanser is touted as a way to help control acne from the very first step of your skincare routine, but it falls short of being the best and gentlest way to do that.
This cleanser in a squeeze tube has a lightweight lotion texture with ultrafine scrub particles suspended throughout (though oddly enough, that information isn't included in the product description). The scrub action is gentle enough that it isn't going to damage skin, though we must point out that acne cannot be scrubbed away. Ditto for blackheads and white bumps.
Scrub particles aside, the fragrance-free lotion feels cushiony, has a slight foaming action, and rinses cleanly while effectively removing dirt, oil, and makeup. As claimed, this contains 5% benzoyl peroxide, the gold standard for tackling some of the root causes of acne.
The problem is that benzoyl peroxide is much more effective in clearing acne when included in a leave-on formula. Since this is meant to be rinsed off skin, you're not getting nearly as much of the benefit as you need to effectively treat breakouts.
The other issue is that one of the cleansing agents here, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, is potentially drying and aggravating to skin, which makes acne breakouts worse, not better.
Though we appreciate Differin's intentions to create a gentle cleanser/scrub, we wish the formula were up to par with some of the better options you'll find on our list of Best Cleansers!
Note: As this is an over-the-counter drug product, the brand lists the inactive ingredients in alphabetical rather than descending order. This is fine for such products, but it does leave the consumer guessing how much of any particular ingredient they're really getting other than the active ingredient.
- Provides gentle scrubbing action.
- Effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup while rinsing cleanly.
- Fragrance free.
- Benzoyl peroxide is more effective for acne in a leave-on product.
- Contains a drying cleansing ingredient.
As a brand, Differins come a long way in just a few short years. Originally Differin was the brand-name of the prescription retinoid adapalene, but in addition to the original adapalene-containing Differin Gel, they now offer a growing number of products available over the counter with a focus on treating and preventing acne.
The biggest change for Differin came in 2016, when, after two decades of being prescribed by doctors for acne, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the original Differin Gel for use over-the-counter. The move marked the first new drug approved for OTC acne treatment since the 1980s!
With the formula essentially unchanged since its introduction, Differin Gel remains a good alternative for those with stubborn acne that hasnt responded to more traditional treatments. To supplement their star product, Galderma, the parent company behind Differin, now offers additional products, such as a cleanser and a few moisturizers, each designed for breakout-prone skin. Overall, theyre relatively stripped-down formulas and dont offer much in the way of cutting-edge ingredients, but they are fragrance-free and gentle on acne-prone skin for the most part.
For more information about Differin, visit https://www.differin.com or call 1-866-735-4137.
Note: Because Differin is a pharmaceutical company, the original Differin Gel formula was tested on animals. However, the brand has stated in an email that their other non-drug skin care products are not tested on animals. As such, this brand's animal-testing status is a sort of grey area for consumers and we've decided to err on the side of caution and keep them on our list of brands that do test on animals, with this caveat, so each individual can make this very personal decision for themselves.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.