I stumbled upon this website and I see so many people with the same problem that I have been having. However, I am hoping I am closer to an answer.
About 3 years ago, I got a rash on the top of my knee near my thigh area. It started out as one pimple that itched unbelievably. As with anyone else, I scratched it. Next thing I know I have a cluster of these pimples all over this local area. The bumps almost start looking like hives. I could handle the rash, but the itch was unbearable. It was strange that it did not itch me all day, but as soon as it was night time, it would act up. It also would itch if the rash got any sun exposure. At the time, I did not have health insurance, so I tolerated it. My boyfriend said try putting Witch Hazel on it. Since no other over the counter creams helped, I gave it a try. It helped somewhat and although I hated the smell, it gave me the most relief. Perhaps because it has a drying agent. This rash lasts about 4 months. It takes that long for the last eruption to disappear. When it disappears, all pimples and bumps are gone, but I have a slight discloration in my skin from where it was. Hot showers makes the discoloration more prominant.
I am not sure how much later, but it developed again. Same leg, same knee area, although more widespread and bigger this time. This time I had health insurance and immediately went to a dermatologist. He took a skin biopsy and the results came back negative to everything. He said I must have a hyper-sensitivty to something. Gave me the strongest cortizone cream available, which was like putting water on it. It did nothing with absolutely no relief.
Almost a year later, it came back. This time on both knee/thigh areas. Geez, a double whammy! What is this stuff? I went back to the same dermatologist who again took another biopsy. This time it came back as possible skin lupus. However, blood results gave back negative to skin lupus, so that was quickly ruled out. All he did was shake his head and did nothing. I was so upset. Not only did I not know what I had, I did not know how to treat it, let alone prevent it! I was also annoyed because this doctor wasn't curious. Why didn't he contact all of his associates and friends and ask if they knew what this was? Why not pursue answers for me? I am not sure if it was laziness on his part, or the fact that perhaps he didn't want to show others what he did not know, but his complacency left me hanging. That's when I knew I needed a different doctor!
Six months later, I got it on my forearms. Same thing. Same unbearable itch, but now it is on my forearms. I didn't go back to the doctor as he was of no help. I lived with this itch and a lot of Witch Hazel. Four months later, it disappeared.
Now, it is happening more frequently, although the duration is the same. However, this time I went to a different dermatologist. Although she had no answers, she did inform me of a twice a year meeting of all dermatologists and said I should attend so they can all look at me. Wow! I finally have someone willing to look for answers and get other opinions!
So, just this past Saturday, I went to this conference. In the examination room, I had clusters of doctors come in. Supposingly, 75 dermatologists were attending, although it didn't seem to be that many that looked at my rash. But, there were at least 50. I was so thankful I had the benefit of 50 dermatologists with all these years of experience looking at this rash, asking questions, and then giving their input to my doctor. Although I do not know what they had to say, I do know that I am scheduled to have another blood test, and a more specific type of biopsy later this week. This biopsy test is called "Direct Immunoflorescence." What it entails and how is this different, I haven't a clue. All I know is that it is a different biopsy than the previous two.
Although I had the rash on my arms this time, I was smart enough at my last leg/knee onset to take photos of the stages of it with my iPhone. I then printed them in color to show all of these doctors. I wanted someone to see what is driving me insane for these past few years. If I was fortunate enough to see all of these doctors, I wanted them to have every image available of it on legs and arms. I also took them because if I wasn't going to get any answers from the doctors, I was going to post them on the internet.
So, for anyone out there that has had the typical biopsy done of their rash, perhaps you need to have your doctor do this Direct Immunoflorescence test. I truly don't know if it will give direct answers or just eliminate possibilities. But, it seemed to be the general consensus of all how attended that I should take this test. I am just so grateful that I was fortunate enough to have so many dermatologists looking at this, and better than that ... it was free of charge.
Now, to get answers! If I find out anything, I will post here and let you know.
So you know, I do not take Splenda, so I am doubtful that is the problem for me. But for all of you who are itchy and miserable, I do understand your discomfort. I have been dealing with it on and off four four years. Only now, I hope I have answers!