Topical retinoids help address the early lesions of acne vulgaris. Consensus guidelines advocate the use of topical retinoids as the primary treatment for most forms of acne vulgaris. However, all topical retinoid preparations may be irritating, and this may contribute to underutilization in clinical practices. Topical adapalene fosters topical retinoid treatment of acne with less irritation. Adapalene is a more stable molecule than tretinoin. Adapalene can be used without concern for photo-deactivation. Because of its chemical stability, adapalene can be used in combination with benzoyl peroxide products. The availability of a stable topical retinoid associated with little irritation may facilitate meeting acne treatment consensus guidelines.