Epiduo Acne Treatment

Adapalene 0.1% and Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%

Epiduo is a topical acne treatment that's used to treat mild to moderate acne. This treatment is actually a combination of two different acne medications: adapalene (better known by the brand name Differin) and benzoyl peroxide.

Epiduo can be used by teens, younger tweens, and adults with acne.  It works to treat both inflammatory acne as well as comedonal acne.

You can only get Epiduo with a prescription.

As of yet, there is no generic version available.

How Epiduo Works

Epiduo works to treat acne in several ways, thanks to its two acne-fighting ingredients.

The ingredient adapalene, a topical retinoid, acts as a comedolytic. This means it helps keeps your pores from becoming blocked, and prevents future blemishes from forming.

And, because of the benzoyl peroxide component, the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts (P. acnes) are also diminished.

Epiduo also helps tone down inflammation -- especially good if you tend to get red, inflamed pimples.

Since Epiduo hits many of the factors that cause acne, it is an effective treatment for whiteheads and blackheads, as well as inflamed pimples.

How to Use Epiduo

You'll apply a pea-sized amount of the gel (about one pump from the bottle) over clean, dry skin once a day. You'll need to apply it over all of the areas where acne is a problem, not just on individual pimples.

  This way, it can help stop those breakouts before they can even form.

Epiduo works on the face, and can also be used to treat body breakouts.

Epiduo isn't the only medication that contains adapalene or benzoyl peroxide.  In fact, you can get each of these medications on their own.

But the bonus of using a combination acne medication like Epiduo is that it streamlines your acne treatment routine.

One application and you're done.

Possible Side Effects of Epiduo

Epiduo gel can cause some side effects. Your dermatologist will give you a rundown of what to look out for, but these are the most common:

  • dryness
  • redness
  • flaking
  • stinging or burning

Luckily, the side effects are typically at their worst during the first few weeks of treatment. After your skin adjusts to the medication, side effects usually diminish. Of course, tell your doctor if side effects are making you very uncomfortable, or seem really severe.

The FDA lists Epiduo as Pregnancy Category C. Epiduo use hasn't been studied in pregnant women. There are better acne treatment options for pregnant moms.

Tips for Using Epiduo

This medication can cause photosensitivity, so wearing sunscreen is key. Also, stay out of tanning beds and booths (a good practice for everyone, really).

Don't have a waxing treatment done on any areas you're using Epiduo, or any other topical retinoid for that matter. It could cause serious skin irritation.

Stay away from harsh or drying skin care products. This can include scrubs, alcohol-based toners, and other OTC acne treatment products unless your doc gives you the OK.

If you have any questions about your acne treatment, don't be shy.

  Ask your dermatologist.

Your dermatologist can tell you if Epiduo is a good treatment choice for your acne.  If it's not, don't worry.  There are so many treatment options available, there's one out there that is a perfect fit for you.


Dressler C, Rosumeck S, Nast A. "How much do we know about maintaining treatment response after successful acne therapy? Systematic review on the efficacy and safety of acne maintenance therapy." Dermatology. 232.3 (2016): 371-380.

Galderma Laboratories LP.  “Epiduo (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) Gel Prescribing Information.” [Package insert].  Fort Worth, TX.  2013 Jan.

Leyden J. "Recent advances in the use of adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% to treat patients with moderate to severe acne." Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 27.1 (2016): S4-S14.

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