Beauty editors swear by it, and it’s available over-the-counter.

By Brandi Broxson
amazon.com

Having acne as a teenager is a kind of rite of passage. I spent many weekends in high school doing peel-off masks, pore strips, and dabbing on spot treatments. The constant search for a solution was some sort of annoying novelty.

Unfortunately, that quest extended into adulthood where, at 28, I’m still plagued by those ugly red bumps and painful hormonal whoppers which often crop up on my chin and cheeks.

About a month ago, I turned to our beauty editor, Chelsea Burns, for skin advice. She told me about Differin Gel, a product that used to be by prescription only but recently became available over-the-counter. It contains adapalene, a kind of retinoid that helps treat existing pimples and prevent future ones by normalizing cell turnover. I had heard retinoids were great for anti-aging but had no idea that they’re also effective for treating acne. The formula is also oil-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free, which is essential for my sensitive skin.

I was skeptical when I saw the price was only $13 for a 30-day supply—I’ve tried a lot of skin products and thought that expensive equates to better results. Wrong! My skin has never been clearer, and I’ve also noticed that it has reduced the appearance of old acne marks.

Even better, it’s a cinch to use. Every night, I apply a pea-sized amount (really, you don’t need any more than that!) of the gel to my troublesome T-zone and wake up with noticeably less red and swollen blemishes. But consistency is key if you want to see results. And a word of advice? Use a moisturizer to prevent feeling too dry.

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