Oil Control Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Differin is famous for its original acne-fighting Gel that contains a retinoid known as adapalene. You won't find that active ingredient in this moisturizer; rather, this is intended to be a sunscreen option compatible with oily, acne-prone skin. The good news? It succeeds in its mission.
Oil Control Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has a fluid lotion texture that feels lightly hydrating. It blends imperceptibly into skin and dries down to a natural finish, all the while treating skin to reliable broad-spectrum sun protection.
Formula-wise, Differin included a couple proven soothing ingredients to target redness—although it's impossible to know how potent they are considering the ingredients are listed alphabetically instead of in order of concentration. (Listing ingredients this way is an option for over-the-counter drug products but descending order is more helpful to the consumer).
Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot else to brag about here in terms of extra beneficial ingredients, but Differin isn't claiming such.
This isn't the most state of the art daytime option, but for those struggling with acne and clogged pores, this fragrance-free moisturizer with SPF is a lightweight, inexpensive way to get your sun protection without making acne worse.
Editor's note: This product is identical in formulation to Cetaphil's Dermacontrol Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30, which earned four stars from our team. The difference in ratings is because Cetaphil's version claims it "soothes sensitivities like redness or dryness caused by using some acne treatments", but neither formula has enough soothing ingredients to do that (and Differin's version doesn't claim to).
- Lightly hydrating, fluid lotion texture that won't clog pores.
- Reliable broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Natural finish (no white cast).
- Fragrance free.
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.