Placing laptop directly on your legs for a longer time can provide harm to your skin. This device was designed for our comfort, so that we do not remain chained to our desk tops. But working with a lappy on your lap for hours is not a good idea as it can result in discolored patchy skin.
This condition is called Toasted Skin Syndrome, also known as Erythema Ab Igne. Here are a few details regarding this syndrome,
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,” warn the experts. This skin condition is common among people often exposed to heat while working (blacksmiths, silversmiths, cooks, etc). Now, people using laptops for long hours 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.
The skin develops a patch which is blotchy (caused by local hemostasis, stagnation of blood) and later becomes reticulated erythema (patchy striped erythema) leaving behind pigmentation.
Repeated skin exposure can waste tissues, typically due to the degeneration of cells. If there is a persistent soreness that does not heal, a skin biopsy should be performed to rule out the possibility of skin cancer.
First of all, identification of the root cause, i.e., the source of the heat, needs to be identified. If it is excess duration of laptop usage, it should be cut down. The skin change, if detected early and is mild in nature, can settle on its own without treatment. For persistent redness, anti-inflammatory creams can be used. For pigmentary changes, addition of topical tretinoin (a drug related to retinol or vitamin A) cream may be mandatory. In some cases, one may require laser therapy. There are also laptop coolers available now.