When it comes to face washes, Differin's Gentle Cleanser is about as bare-bones as it gets, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In this instance, it adds up to an affordable product that does exactly what is says—just without frills.
Gentle Cleanser comes in a plastic bottle with a pump dispenser. Inside is a fragrance-free, lightweight lotion product that's easy to spread across the face. It effectively removes dirt, oil, debris, and makeup. The reason this doesn’t get our top rating, though, is that it contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which is one of the more drying cleansing agents available. It's not here in a great amount, but it's still not an ideal addition.
Today's more sophisticated cleaners (and there is a growing number of them available) offer additional benefits, such as a unique sensorial experience, plus soothing and moisturizing ingredients that can leave skin more conditioned than before you washed it. In this case, however, Differin makes clear that what they're offering is a basic product, and there's no denying this is a pretty good option for normal to slightly dry skin, including acne-prone.
- Effectively removes dirt, oil, debris, and makeup.
- Fragrance free.
- Contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which is potentially drying.
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.
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