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What Burning Hot Laptops Can Do to Your Legs

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 43 comments

Hot laptops can lead to permanent skin discoloration from 'Toasted Skin Syndrome.'

Most laptop owners are familiar with what happens when they use their computers on their laps. Things can get pretty warm and it doesn't take long for it to get uncomfortable. While most of us would move to the coffee table or stick a cushion under the laptop when things start to get sweaty, it seems not everyone takes the same measures and it's resulting in laptop-induced injuries.

The journal Pediatrics this week warned of the dangers of resting a hot laptop on your legs for extended periods of time and highlighted a couple of cases where it had resulted in erythema abigne, a skin condition the journal describes as "a reticular, pigmented, sometimes telangiectatic dermatosisthat is caused by prolonged exposure to a heat or infrared source." Laptop-induced rythema abigne is now being referred to as "Toasted Skin Syndrome."

The journal discussed one case in particular, which involved a 12-year-old boy who presented with the condition on his left thigh. He is said to be the youngest of the 10 reported patients diagnosed with the laptop-induced dermatosis since it was first noticed in 2004. CBC reports that the boy was using his computer for a few hours a day for several months. The condition is said to be harmless but the discoloration can be permanent and in some cases, the skin damage could lead to cancers.

Computer users can prevent Toasted Skin Syndrome by placing a laptop-cooling mat under the device when it's resting on their legs, or by using a laptop case or something similar to act as a barrier for the heat. Alternatively, you could move to a desk to coffee table before the bottom of the laptop approaches 52 degrees Celsius (just over 125 degrees Fahrenheit) as the laptop of one Toasted Skin Syndrome suffer regularly did.

Source: Journal of Pediatrics, CBC

*Image credit: The Associated Press

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    socrates047 , October 6, 2010 4:19 AM
    ouch... my laptop is toasting my skin...
    oh well...

    common sense? nerve cell latency?
  • 24 Hide
    tayb , October 6, 2010 4:54 AM
    A lot of you calling this 12 year old child an idiot are vastly overestimating how hot 125 degrees feels. That really isn't very hot. Not nearly hot enough for me to worry about being burned. This was the point of the article. It's not hot enough to cause physical pain or burn your skin but if you are in constant contact with it for several hours a day over the course of several months it CAN damage your skin, slowly.
  • 24 Hide
    Supertrek32 , October 6, 2010 4:31 AM
    If you put a frog in boiling water, it'll jump right out.

    If you put a frog in water and slowly turn up the heat, it'll boil to death.
Other Comments
    Display all 43 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    Albyint , October 6, 2010 4:16 AM
    .......i think i would have noticed something a wee bit sooner..
  • 26 Hide
    socrates047 , October 6, 2010 4:19 AM
    ouch... my laptop is toasting my skin...
    oh well...

    common sense? nerve cell latency?
  • 0 Hide
    Kaiser_25 , October 6, 2010 4:19 AM
    what a jackass for letting it get so bad..
  • 6 Hide
    nebun , October 6, 2010 4:25 AM
    stupidity...if it's hot remove it
  • 24 Hide
    zachary k , October 6, 2010 4:30 AM
    BREAKING NEWS: hot is bad, more at 11.
  • 24 Hide
    Supertrek32 , October 6, 2010 4:31 AM
    If you put a frog in boiling water, it'll jump right out.

    If you put a frog in water and slowly turn up the heat, it'll boil to death.
  • 3 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 6, 2010 4:44 AM
    looks as if the connection between brain and common sense was burnt out....
  • 20 Hide
    wasabiman123 , October 6, 2010 4:51 AM
    desktops are wayyyyy cooler (haha)
  • 24 Hide
    tayb , October 6, 2010 4:54 AM
    A lot of you calling this 12 year old child an idiot are vastly overestimating how hot 125 degrees feels. That really isn't very hot. Not nearly hot enough for me to worry about being burned. This was the point of the article. It's not hot enough to cause physical pain or burn your skin but if you are in constant contact with it for several hours a day over the course of several months it CAN damage your skin, slowly.
  • 2 Hide
    saturnus , October 6, 2010 4:56 AM
    That's just one example though. Several cases has been seen, and one for example this danish case (link in Danish, sorry) where an unfortunate person fell asleep with his MacBook Pro in his lap. A later investigation of laptop showed that the internal temperature sensor need exceeded 69 degrees (156 F).
  • -6 Hide
    crazybaldhead , October 6, 2010 4:56 AM
    Fermi laptops... sigh.
  • 1 Hide
    saturnus , October 6, 2010 4:57 AM
    Hmmm ... link didn't show ... Ill try again

    http://politiken.dk/tjek/sundhedogmotion/born/ECE1075496/faldt-i-soevn-med-pcen-i-skoedet-fik-2-gradsforbraendinger/
  • 11 Hide
    spectrewind , October 6, 2010 5:01 AM
    mayankleoboy1looks as if the connection between brain and common sense was burnt out....



    with most people, and long ago...
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , October 6, 2010 5:35 AM
    No surprise as most are very very cheaply built, cooling alone with comfort and quality are long gone. I remember those ancient bulky Dos era laptops that wouldn't get even after many hours of use. Now they are just to thin and have very little cooling so this is no surprise to see this happen to people.
  • 2 Hide
    scrumworks , October 6, 2010 5:42 AM
    I'm sure his laptop had mobile Fermi.
  • 11 Hide
    Horhe , October 6, 2010 5:44 AM
    LAP-TOP... see the irony?
  • -4 Hide
    benzjie , October 6, 2010 6:00 AM
    darwin award material
  • -4 Hide
    digitalrazoe , October 6, 2010 6:09 AM
    Laptops today is not the same laptop his or her grandpa or grandma used.. ( yes I said it. There is a generation of adults that know what a laptop is. ) Back in the day you could hardly get a laptop with a pentium chip in it.. to slow roast an egg. ( remember the 233mghz pentiums I am sure you don't ask GrandPa.) now, in the days of multi core multigigahertz superthin laptops, components are much closer, heat-sinks closer to the surface of the outer shell of the laptop in fact one can argue that the design of the case is to conduct heat away from the CPU and the GPU. Most desktop technology ( CPU/GPU ) trickles down to the Laptop industry. NOW - If one is an avid reader of ANY computer rag they would know that that technology gets rather warm - lets see .. liquid cooled, air cooled heat-sinks that way a "ton" and half the size of the mother board itself... yeah. brains would say that gets rather warm. would you go tell your child to place their bare skin on a burning hot CPU ? didn't think so. NOW let us shrink the chip create a heat-sink and a way to channel the heat. You cannot tell me that you cant feel that hot air coming out what ever orifice they have it coming out of!!! Question... have you ever played with a G4 macbook ? That damned thing gets warm ! Now lets look at all the iCores out there the i3s, i5s and i7s the AMDs and such single and duo cores alike... Tell me as a parent you are not going to be concerned .. remember when Mom yelled at you for sitting to close to the television ? Well maybe its time that you listen to your computer building spouse when they tell you and the little one to take that laptop off your lap. Oh and I won't get into the conspiracy theory of microwave radiation -- remember Microwaves starts at the 2.4ghz range...~Im just sayin' ...
  • 6 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , October 6, 2010 6:31 AM
    spectrewindwith most people, and long ago...

    And it all started with McDonald's coffee...I think.
  • 2 Hide
    fkr , October 6, 2010 6:38 AM
    i understand how stupid this seems but i live in phoenix and a 116 degree weather is not that uncommon. hell we reached that temperature last week. And when i lived in ny i used to use the heat output from my laptop to keep my legs warm. sometimes it would burn some but when you keep your house at 65 degrees it feels good. when i think about how long i would let my body cook in front of the wood stove to keep warm growing up i am surprised this did not happen to me. I used to sleep on top of the heater vents and i know they must be at least that hot. it all seems kinda weird to me
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