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This might get a little long and winded but I need some advice ....

So, I've been using Green Cream Level 6 for about 8 weeks. I also have Rx Evoclin foam and Ziana gel, but I switched from the Ziana to the Green Cream because I was gettting major flaking and dry skin.

Basically my regimen is I wash with Eucerin in the AM, apply Evoclin foam, moisturize, maybe some vitamin E on red spots, then Everyday Minerals for makeup. In the PM I wash with Eucerin, apply Green Cream Level 6 then wait about half an hour before deciding if I need some moisturizer or not. I've been doing this for about 8 weeks.

The first week I had major drying and flaking so I cut back the GC to every other day, or every third day until my skin seemed to look less dry. At about the 2nd week I had a little breakout, nothing too terrible; and I've been getting about 1-2 new blemishes a week, but nothing major, usually smallish whiteheads. So after 3 weeks or so I noticed some overall improvement in the quality of my skin and was rather happy.

However, since then I've been in this vicious cycle with the Green Cream. If I use it every day, I get very flaky, so I drop it back, and my skin recovers, but it also doesn't look like there's any improvement so I try to slowly ramp up again. Then, the last couple of weeks I've had one major purging episode per week, which makes my face inflammed and look horrible. So I back off the GC during these episodes, heal up and try to use it again, only to have the whole thing start over.

So - I'm either too flaky, purging, or not using it enough to see results. I've tried using a small amount of moisturizer before applying GC to combat the dryness and that does help a little - but I'm sure it's decreasing the effectiveness of the product.

What am I doing wrong here? I can't seem to get into a good groove with this product, and right now I'm completely broken out on the right side of my face. Are people still purging after 8 weeks? What's the longest people have gone with steady use before the purging stopped? And how do I get the flaking to stop where I can use the product daily so it's effective? Right now I feel my skin looks old, blotchy and more wrinkled then usual. I have to use an insane amount of moisturizer to keep from looking flaky and dry. Ugh. Frustration. I believe in the product, but people help me get into a good routine here!!

Thanks in advance for your help~~~!!!!

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Don't worry ..... this happens to a lot of people.

Like other topical retinoids, GC interferes with your skin barrier function -- at least, until your skin becomes fully adjusted to it. This means that in the early weeks, your skin is prone to water loss through evaporation.

Also, it has the effect of making your skin cells less "sticky". This means they stop clogging up your pores ... but it also means that the outer layers peel off very easily.

There are a couple of things you can do to reinforce your barrier function. Add fish oil to your diet, and add a drop or two of emu oil to your moisturizer and your sunscreen. Also, be sure to stay hydrated -- drink plenty of water!

Peeliness, I found, was best addressed through gentle exfoliation. You can use a soft facial brush or a gentle scrub with silica beads. Vivant makes a very good one -- you can find it at www.betterhealthyskin.com

Make sure your cleanser is extremely gentle and pH-balanced; an alkaline cleanser will also damage your skin barrier. And I strongly suggest cleansing only once a day, if possible -- at night, when you need to remove makeup. In the morning, all you should need is a quick rinse to remove product residue.

Moisturize every night, with the emu oil added ... and wear sunscreen during the day!

There's more info in my pinned post at the top of this forum.

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Thanks for the info. Is the fact that I'm still purging after 8 weeks normal? It's hard not to feel like the GC is causing breakouts instead of preventing them. Should I keep applying it during these purging episodes?

Is the general blotchiness and exaggerated wrinkles a normal step in the process? I can see why people often give up on this product, because it really does get a lot worse before getting better. I did read your pinned post and got a lot of good info, but I just wanted to make sure I was using the product correctly.

The good news is I haven't had any cysts. It's been all whiteheads during the breakouts (which is odd because I didn't really get those before).

I will add the emu oil to the moisturizer (already taking flaxseed oil caps). I ordered a Buf Puf to exfoliate with, on the recommendation of another poster. I'm pretty sure my cleanser is a good one; I'm not sure how to look up the pH. I'll go to the Eucerin website and see if it says so there.

Thanks again.

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You're just going through "the uglies". It happens while your skin adjusts to the product. I'm pretty confident that the suggestions I made in the previous post will help.

GC does contain ethanol and some people's skin does not take well to it. If you try everything I suggested and your skin still looks like this in another 4-8 weeks, that's something to consider.

Purging generally peaks in the 8-12 week range and things get better after that. Stick to your GC schedule! The only reason to back off would be redness, soreness, irritation, or severe peeling -- by this, I mean big dry flakes of skin with red, sore patches underneath. The more regular you are with the GC, the sooner the purging will be over and done with.

I found that gentle exfoliation REALLY helped with purging as well as flaking. Hopefully you will as well!

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