Home Health And Wellbeing ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’ From Laptop Warning

‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’ From Laptop Warning

by Brett M. Christensen


Health warning circulating in the form of a graphic claims that using a laptop computer across your legs can cause a heat-related condition known as ‘toasted skin syndrome’ that may lead to skin cancer.

Brief Analysis

Toasted skin syndrome is a real condition and medical reports indicate that using a laptop across your legs can indeed cause it. The condition can also be caused by exposure to heat from other sources such as heat packs and hot water bottles. And, in very rare cases, the condition can cause damage leading to skin cancer. The image used in the graphic is taken from a medical article on the condition and the case depicted was due to the prolonged use of a heating pad applied for joint pain rather than a laptop.


Toasted Skin Laptop

Do you have a laptop? Beware!!!
Extreme heat from laptop can cause TOASTED SKIN SYNDROME
May finally lead to SKIN CANCER


Detailed Analysis

According to this warning, which travels the highways and byways of cyberspace in the form of a graphic, using a laptop across your legs can cause a heat-related condition known as ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’.

The message includes an image depicting a case of the condition described and warns that the condition may finally lead to skin cancer. The message advises people to stop using laptops across their legs and asks that recipients share the information so that other laptop users will also be warned.
In fact, Toasted Skin Syndrome is a real condition and it can indeed be caused by heat from laptop computers. An October 2010 Sydney Morning Herald article on the issue explains:

In one recent case, a 12-year-old boy developed a sponge-patterned skin discolouration on his left thigh after playing computer games a few hours every day for several months.

“He recognised that the laptop got hot on the left side; however, regardless of that, he did not change its position,” Swiss researchers reported in an article published today in the journal Pediatrics.

Another case involved a Virginia law student who sought treatment for the mottled discolouration on her leg.

Dr Kimberley Salkey, who treated the young woman, was stumped until she learnt the student spent about six hours a day working with her computer propped on her lap. The temperature underneath registered 51 degrees.
That case, from 2007, is one of 10 laptop-related cases reported in medical journals in the past six years.

Erythema ab igne, also known as hot water bottle rash, fire stains, laptop thigh, and toasted skin syndrome, is caused by long-term exposure to low-level heat. And, in very rare cases, it can cause skin damage that could result in skin cancer.

The image used in the graphic is featured in a Doctorshangout.com article about Erythema ab igne.  The case depicted, which appears to be a quite severe example, was reportedly caused by a heating pad applied for joint pain rather than a laptop.

I could find no information documenting skin cancer cases specifically related to laptop use. And, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Anthony Mancini, dermatology chief at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago notes “it was unlikely that computer use would lead to cancer since it was so easy to avoid prolonged close skin contact with laptops”.

Nevertheless, laptop use can indeed cause toasted skin syndrome as claimed and if you habitually use a laptop across your legs for prolonged periods, it might be wise to take heed of this warning.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,