Adapalene with Benzoyl Peroxide (Epiduo) for Acne Treatment

Adapalene with benzoyl peroxide is a type of prescription acne treatment for both women and men of all ages. They are the generic chemicals that are found in brand name acne treatment Epiduo. This topical gel or cream can be prescribed for acne when the patient has already tried over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide options without success. 

When used as prescribed, adapalene with benzoyl peroxide can be very effective at reducing the quantity and severity of pimples as well as promoting quick healing of the blemishes that do appear. 

What is adapalene?

Adapalene is a topical retinoid, a type of chemical compound that is related to vitamin A. Retinoids increase the rate of skin cell turnover, thus making it a very effective acne medication. Pimples and blemishes appear when your pores become clogged with dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria and sebum (oil). When retinoids like adapalene improve your skin cell turnover rate, there is less opportunity for pores to become clogged and cause acne. It also helps decrease swelling and inflammation. Differin is a brand of adapalene gel in Australia.

What is benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is a commonly found ingredient in over-the-counter acne medications. When applied to your skin, it helps reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria and causes skin to dry and peel. There are prescription-strength acne gels and creams that have stronger concentrations of benzoyl peroxide than found in OTC options.

How does adapalene with benzoyl peroxide work?

Separately, adapalene and benzoyl peroxide are effective first-line acne treatments. When combined, they become more effective than their individual counterparts in treating acne. While you can find adapalene and benzoyl peroxide in stronger concentrations as individual items, adapalene with benzoyl peroxide will typically be prescribed at 0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. 

The combination of antiseptic and drying capabilities of benzoyl peroxide with the skin cell turnover power of adapalene is available by prescription only in Australia. Doctors and dermatologists will evaluate the severity of your acne before prescribing this particular gel. 

What is Epiduo?

Epiduo is the brand name acne medication that contains 0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. As with its chemical counterpart, Epiduo is a topical acne treatment that can be used on pimples on the face, chest or back. It should only be used on the skin, and not on your lips, eyes or any areas of broken skin. 

How does Epiduo compare to other acne treatments?

Both Epiduo and the generic gel can be very effective in controlling breakouts and improving acne overall. Because they are only available by prescription, they are much stronger than anything you can find over the counter. Studies have shown that the combination of adapalene with benzoyl peroxide in a single gel is stronger than its separate counterparts.

How long does it take to work?

Everyone’s skin is different. Your doctor will carefully review your medical history and symptoms to determine the appropriate treatment length for you. Topical treatment can range from 3 to 6 months and then be used as needed. However, to manage persistent acne, you will need to identify a skincare routine that helps prevent regular breakouts. Using Epiduo as part of this skincare routine, along with cleansers, toners and moisturisers, can be an effective long-term acne management plan. Talk to your doctor about the other acne products you’re considering using to understand how they might interact with Epiduo. 

Who can use it?

While Epiduo is a safe prescription acne treatment for most people, it is not recommended for pregnant women or women who are planning pregnancy. As a topical solution, it is absorbed through the skin and thus can have adverse effects on an unborn baby. 

How to use Epiduo

Your doctor or dermatologist will prescribe you a personalised treatment plan with instructions on how to use Epiduo for best results. Typically, you will use a pea-sized amount of the gel over clean, dry skin once per day. You can apply it over the entire acne-prone area, not just on individual pimples. This method can help prevent breakouts before they happen. You can use adapalene with benzoyl peroxide on the face, back, neck, chest or anywhere else you have acne.

These ingredients can cause photosensitivity, so it’s important to always wear sunscreen while using Epiduo. Some common side effects include dryness, irritation, redness or flaking. These side effects are typically at their worst at the beginning of the treatment as your skin adjusts to the new medication. Always tell your doctor if side effects are making you uncomfortable or seem very severe.

Always use your prescription medication exactly as prescribed. 

Benzoyl peroxide can bleach hair or coloured fabrics such as clothing, bedding and towels, so use caution when getting dressed and washing your face. 

If over-the-counter options aren’t working for you, you can be prescribed a personalised acne treatment plan online via Rosemary. Start your online visit today.


∙ The Journal of dermatological treatment (July 2010) - Synergistic efficacy of adapalene 0.1%-benzoyl peroxide 2.5% in the treatment of 3855 acne vulgaris patients
∙ Australian Family Physician (September 2006) -
Managing acne vulgaris effectively
∙ Australian Family Physician (July 2006) -
Acne and acne scarring

ARTG Registered Medications:

Product DIFFERIN adapalene 1mg/g gel tube is registered in the ARTG, AUST R, Product EPIDUO 0.1%/2.5% adapalene / benzoyl peroxide gel bottle is registered in the ARTG, AUST R

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