Adapalene (Differin) is a retinoid agent indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. In clinical trials, 0.1% adapalene gel has proved to be effective in this indication and was as effective as 0.025% tretinoin gel, 0.1% tretinoin microsphere gel, 0.05% tretinoin cream and 0.1% tazarotene gel once every two days; however, the drug was less effective than once-daily 0.1% tazarotene gel. It can be used alone in mild acne or in combination with antimicrobials in inflammatory acne and has proved efficacious as maintenance treatment. Adapalene has a rapid onset of action and a particularly favourable tolerability profile compared with other retinoids. These attributes can potentially promote patient compliance, an important factor in treatment success. Adapalene is, therefore, assured of a role in the first-line treatment of acne vulgaris.