I think I've found something that works pretty well in treating my patchwork areas. Skin reactions are the most common reason to discontinue the Emsam patch, and I thought I was going to avoid them totally while on 6 mg. However, as soon as I moved to 9 mg I started having red areas which itched and sometimes were kind of hive-like. I've tried everything under the sun to treat them (it seems) and for a while I was getting afraid it would end the patch for me, because I couldn't just rotate to places a few inches away from a blotch (which are about 2x2 inches) and which are only to be on certain areas of skin, I had to patch every day in an area that was a distance from any red area, or the red area would be worse altogether and the new reaction would be much more pronounced.
At first I tried what I'd read, to clean the area thoroughly with an astringent before applying. So I used witch hazel pads to clean. No luck. Then I started trying different lotions on the broken out area. It soon was obvious that the best choice was diaper rash cream from Aveno, but that is white and thick and not attractive since some areas I'm treating are visible. I then just bought a lot of products and tried them, and if they seemed to work I started adding them to a mixture, which now seems to treat the patches fairly well, at least well enough for me to have a new site each day.
And the mixture is: Aquaphor, Balmex Ointment (not cream or it won't be clear), and glycerin. I don't know the ratios, but what I've been doing is putting regular lotion on after a shower, then treating any really red areas with the mixture at night. I don't treat it all at night because the stuff doesn't wash off easily and I can't put a new patch on it. So then in the morning I put on the new patch and then any red area is treated with a nice coating of this mixture. And it's working. The red areas are not so bad now, and they go away a bit faster.
I suspect this mixture will work well for dry skin and other irritated areas as my hands generally are so dry from washing at work that they crack and bleed and sometimes need prescriptions meds. This year I'm using alcohol liberally as well as washing even more than usual and my skin is less dry than I remember any year of working, so apparently this stuff helps that too (it's on my hands every morning and I wipe/wash it off so it's not slimy but it is there).
Anyway, that's it from me today. I overslept until 3o minutes after I usually leave, and now I just want to eat and sleep.