What Burning Hot Laptops Can Do to Your Legs

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

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.

  • Albyint
    .......i think i would have noticed something a wee bit sooner..
  • socrates047
    ouch... my laptop is toasting my skin...
    oh well...

    common sense? nerve cell latency?
  • Kaiser_25
    what a jackass for letting it get so bad..
  • nebun
    stupidity...if it's hot remove it
  • zachary k
    BREAKING NEWS: hot is bad, more at 11.
  • Supertrek32
    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.
  • mayankleoboy1
    looks as if the connection between brain and common sense was burnt out....
  • wasabiman123
    desktops are wayyyyy cooler (haha)
  • tayb
    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.
  • saturnus
    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).