In utter desperation, in pain and despair, I went to a dermatologist Monday. For me to go to a doctor is rare and an indication of the severity of my problem. My faith in doctors was greatly restored as I was shown great concern and compassion by the entire staff and most especially by the P.A. and the doctor who is booked for the next 6 months, but made time to see me and make a diagnosis - CONTACT DERMATITIS. These two people were beautiful, vibrant, healthy, not in a rush, explained that they know prednisone can be dangerous when taken over a long period of time, but that 1 week of a low dose would not harm me and would bring about significant improvement. NO KIDDING. After only 1 dose that evening, I slept all night pain and itch free. I have two different steroid creams to use for a week, one for face, the other for arm and chest. The improvement is so dramatic it's incredible. I am molting again, but no redness, no inflammation, no pain, no itch. Underneath the skin is beautiful - especially for a woman my age!
Once I am healed up we will do some patch tests to determine what caused this problem. I suspect that when I was working our cart at the Ohio ren faire, there was one windy dusty day. This is an agricultural area with corn and soybeans sprayed with all kinds of nasty stuff. I may have had a tiny cut or bug bite, some little opening in my skin. I can't imagine it's my coconut oil, but we will find out, testing shiitakes, red clover, coconut oil, tea tree oil, Skin Dressing, anything I have been anointing myself with or consuming.
I am so heartened to know that there are compassionate, responsible, competent, healthy doctors out there. That has hardly been my experience in the past in dealing with my parents, children, and self.
They even approved highly of my diet and use of herbs - unlike Susun Weed who basically bitched me out for not eating meat and more animal products!
Thank you all for your concern and insights as well.