Health warning circulating in the form of a graphic claims that using a laptop computer across your legs can cause a heat related condition known as “toasted skin syndrome” that may lead to skin cancer.
Toasted skin syndrome is a real condition and medical reports indicate that using a laptop across your legs can indeed cause it. The condition can also be caused by exposure to heat from other sources such as heat packs and hot water bottles. And, in very rare cases, the condition can cause damage leading to skin cancer.

What is it?
Toasted Skin Syndrome is clinically known as Erythema Ab Igne and commonly known by various names such as ‘laptop thigh’ and ‘hot water bottle rash’ . Swiss doctors also call it ‘laptop-induced dermatosis’ .

Who is at risk?
“People who spend prolonged periods of time studying, reading , or playing games on laptops resting on their upper legs could develop this skin syndrome ,” warns dermatologist Dr Shreyas Kamath. Traditionally , this skin condition is common among people often exposed to heat while working (blacksmiths, silversmiths, cooks, etc). And now, people using laptops for long hours, even students and corporate individuals, are facing this.

The prolonged placement of laptop on the thighs results in thermal build of around 44 degrees of heat to which the skin responds by developing persistent redness and pigmentation . This has been reported in medical literature between 2004 to date, explains dermatologist and dermatosurgeon Dr Shenaz Z Arsiwala.

Harmful effects
“The skin develops a patch which is mottled (caused by local hemostasis – stagnation of blood) and later becomes reticulated erythema (patchy striped erythema) leaving behind pigmentation,” says Dr Manerkar.

First of all, identification of the root cause, i.e., the source of the heat, needs to be identified . If the cause is excess duration of laptop usage, it should be cut down. Also, direct contact of the laptop and the skin should be avoided by placing a barrier in between. Dr Arsiwala says laptop coolers are also available. The skin change, if detected early and is mild in nature, can settle on its own without treatment . However, for persistent redness, anti-inflammatory creams can be used.

Prolonged and repeated exposure to heat causes a marked redness and discolouration of the skin. Sometimes it will give a blotchy appearance which will appear as toasted skin. Mild itching and burning sensation on the affected area.

Source: Interesting Facts & Information

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