Avoid Toasted Skin Syndrome

By Ralfston Meek

A large number of Mercy College students either own or use a laptop, which they use constantly throughout the day. Students use their laptops for many different reasons: typing research papers, taking online courses, and checking Facebook and twitter accounts.

The problem is they are using these laptops on their lap.

Though many desktop computers are usually available in the Mercy Dobbs Ferry Campus library, students still use their laptops. Students are so focused on web browsing they don’t realize the burning effect it has on the skin. Until the aftermath.

Toasted skin syndrome.

According to medical reports, toasted skin syndrome, medically known as Erythema ab igne, is an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure. Toasted skin syndrome can also be caused by an overdose of heating pads or overuse of a baking oven- hot enough to cause burns- such as laptops.

Before laptop sales escalated, desktops were the central medium of the earth. Today, due to the increase in education and technology, laptops are more widely available and used by college students. They have become smaller mediums that are easier to carry around in a backpack. Students are so attracted to the convenience of the laptops they do not pay attention to the overheating.

“I stay on my computer for three to six hours a day. I actually use it until it burns my legs,” says Florence Cosby, junior. “I do have a slight discoloration on my thighs but I didn’t treat it or anything.”

Toasted skin syndrome is generally harmless if the heart source is removed quickly, but it can cause permanent skin darkening in extreme cases. According to reports in medical journals, including Pediatrics, toasted skin syndrome resembles skin damaged by long- term sun exposure when viewed under the microscope. It has affected users as young as 10 years-old. The New England Journal of Medicine has stated that exposure over a long period of time should cause the patient to seek a biopsy, for skin cancer can develop.

Studies also found that men who used laptops on their laps had elevated scrotum temperatures. It is hypothesized that, if prolonged, heat could decrease sperm production and potentially lead to infertility. Whether laptop usage can cause this kind of harm has not been confirmed.

“Honestly, I use my laptop on my desk but other times it’s resting in my lap, “said David Robinson, a senior. ” I heard something about heat causing infertility, but I don’t think about it when I am doing my research paper on my laptop.”

Doctors are encouraging students to take the laptops off of their laps, and throw them back on a desk or a pad. Students who have discoloration in their legs from a laptop should cease using it directly on their lap and seek an appointment with a skin doctor.