Prolonged Laptop Use Can 'toast Skin'

BASEL, Switzerland, Oct. 4 (UPI) — Prolonged use of a laptop directly upon one’s lap may result in “toasted skin syndrome” — brownish discoloration of the skin — Swiss researchers say.

Researchers at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland say laptop-induced dermatosis — first described in 2004 — can lead to permanent darkening of the skin and, rarely, skin cancer, WebMD reports.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, says 10 patients had lesions on one or both of their upper legs after using a laptop computer for several weeks to months 6-8 hours per day.

The condition, technically called erythema ab igne, has also been observed before on the lower legs of people who work in front of open fires or coal stoves and in the elderly who use hot pads and blankets. The researchers say mild-to-moderate heat between 109.4 to116.6 degrees Fahrenheit is hot enough to cause burns.

“The popularity of laptop computers will likely increase this diagnosis in the future,” the study authors say in a statement. “Our patient has had only comparatively shortly used his laptop, which indicates that children’s skin is more sensitive to heat.”

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