Have your ever heard of Toasted Skin Syndrome? It is a skin condition called Erythema ab igne. The term comes from the Latin meaning "redness from fire". It is also known as "chronic heat dermatitis" and laptop induced dermatitis. This condition is brought about from exposure to heat. This syndrome is not new as it was first observed on people who work close to extreme heat, like the furnace of old trains, wood ovens, wood stoves, coal stoves or open fires. It could also be observed on people who have overused heating pads or blankets.
A few weeks ago I noticed this area on the back of my thighs just above the knee that looked to me like varicose veins or some sort of bruising; it was a net-like pattern of brownish red lines. It covered almost all of the back of my thigh on one side and some on the other leg. I really didn't know what to think about it. I searched the internet and diagnosed it as several conditions but still was not sure. Finally I broke down and spent the $100 to go to the doctor and I was shocked to discover it was "toasted skin syndrome"! The doctor explained to me that she had seen this on the front of the thighs from prolonged heat from laptops. She also indicated that it may not fade as it dependent on the extent of damage to the dermal layers. I was so bummed! I now have this giant mottled discoloration on the back of my upper legs and don't know if it will ever go away!
You are probably wondering how I got this on the back of my legs. I live in the north and we have a wood stove and I am always backed up against it. I would have never have guessed I was ruining my skin! Additionally I was always wearing jeans or pajamas when I stood in front of the stove so the damage from the heat went right through my clothes!
I have read several articles about Toasted Skin Syndrome and have read that young children are more susceptible to this condition as in the case of a 12 year old boy playing games on his laptop for hours at a time. However this condition can also come about with repeated exposures to heat such as in my case when I stood in front of my wood stove periodically throughout the day, but not hours at a time.
This can be a permanent skin discoloration! There is a concern among doctors that people with toasted skin syndrome may be at risk of developing skin cancers although at this time no cases have been reported. Although it seems to me that chronic and prolonged inflammation of the skin can increase the risk for squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Thus, squamous cell carcinomas can actually arise in any of these tissues).
So this is what the back of my thigh looks like and I write this article to share with you the dangers of prolonged and repeated use of a laptop on your lap without a cooling pad or some protection to your lap, or standing to close to your wood stove or any heat source for that matter. Additionally clothing does not provide enough protection to your legs from your laptop.
So on mine own accord I decided that I will exfoliate it away, lol. I don't know if it will help but I bought a microdermabrasion cloth hoping to slough off those few top layers. Additionally, I have told all my friends to be wary of standing in front of their wood stoves and to purchase a laptop pad for protection.
Here are some some lap protectors for your laptop. They come in all shape, sizes and design. Read the reviews and decide which type you would like. I strongly advise that you purchase one for you and especially for your children if they are using laptops on their laps!
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Carolb, author of 300+ Skin Care Recipes