Last Updated on May 12, 2022
The bottom of laptops can get very hot, can’t they? This heat comes from operating hard drives, processors, batteries, and other internal electronic mechanisms.
Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to heat on the upper legs can cause ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome,’ a brownish discoloration of the skin. In some cases, this skin darkening can become permanent and in rare cases, the damage may lead to skin cancer.
Toasted Skin Syndrome Research Observations
The following is a brief list of observations about the impact of heat on the skin with an emphasis on laptop heat:
- When skin is damaged but not burned from exposure to heat, it’s called Toasted Skin Syndrome also known as Erythema Ab Igne (EAI).
- In the past, Toasted Skin Syndrome was on the lower legs of patients who worked in front of open fires or coal stoves and now in patients using laptops in the lap.
- Researches consider that the heat between 109.4 to 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to cause skin burns. They also suggest that heat at 111.2º Fahrenheit is enough to cause Toasted Skin Syndrome.
- Toasted Skin Syndrome, conditions are typically found on only one leg where the ventilation exhaust output fans are located.
- One or both of a patient’s upper legs can develop Toasted Skin Syndrome, after several weeks to months of extensive use of laptops on the lap.
- Toasted skin syndrome can result in permanent pigmentation to the skin, and in severe cases can lead to skin cancer.
- To protect yourself, simply avoid contact with the heat source.
- “Sometimes people don’t initially make the connection between the rash and the exposure, but based on the pattern you can figure out that it’s probably from heat” says Jennifer Stein, a professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center.
Laptops, Tablets and Our Future
The popularity of laptop computers, tablets and other portable devices is only going to grow. For the very sensitive, like children, use of these devices in laps should be kept brief. When prolonged use is required, a laptop heat shield may be used between the body and the device to avoid Toasted Skin Syndrome.