Adjunctive usage of a non-comedogenic moisturizer with adapalene gel 0.1% improves local tolerance: a randomized, investigator-blinded, split-face study in healthy Asian subjects

J Dermatolog Treat. 2013 Aug;24(4):278-82. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2012.661037. Epub 2012 Mar 4.


Background: Adapalene gel 0.1% is an efficacious treatment for acne vulgaris in Asians. It is generally well tolerated, but may still cause cutaneous side effects among patients with sensitive skin.

Objective: To assess the ability of a moisturizing lotion (Cetaphil®) in improving the local tolerance of adapalene.

Methods: In this 4-week, randomized, investigator-blinded, split-face study among 30 healthy volunteers of Chinese origin, adapalene gel was applied once daily to the whole face and the moisturizing lotion was applied once daily to only one side of the face according to the randomization scheme.

Results: At each study visit, both investigators and subjects reported better tolerance on the side of moisturizing lotion + adapalene gel than the side of adapalene gel only, with significant differences reported by the subjects during the first 2 weeks (p = 0.039 and 0.013, respectively). Global worst score, defined as the average of worst scores for erythema, desquamation, dryness, stinging/burning and pruritus, was significantly lower for the side of moisturizing lotion + adapalene gel than for the side of adapalene gel alone (0.43 ± 0.34 vs. 0.59 ± 0.44, p = 0.032).

Conclusion: The adjunctive usage of an effective moisturizer improves local tolerance of adapalene gel and may contribute to better adherence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / ethnology
  • Adapalene
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Asian People / ethnology*
  • China
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Gels / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naphthalenes / therapeutic use*
  • Propylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Gels
  • Naphthalenes
  • Propylene Glycols
  • cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate non-lipid cleansing lotion
  • Adapalene
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate