A Toast to Healthy Skin: Demystifying Toasted Skin Syndrome and Keeping Your Skin Safe
One of my favorite things about winter is spending time next to a warm and cozy fireplace fire. For me, nothing is more relaxing during cold nights than a warm, crackling fire and a steaming cup of tea in my hands. Who knew that this is one of the surefire ways to join the Toasted Skin Syndrome Club? Luckily, I don’t stay in front of my fireplace too long. That or my sunscreen is just a miracle worker.
For those who are curious, this condition is a skin problem that causes a net-like, discolored, and sometimes itchy rash. The culprit? Prolonged exposure to heat sources, like hot water bottles, heating pads, and, in some cases, cozying up to a fireplace for too long.
When the syndrome was first discovered, wood-burning stoves, working with hot coals or simply sitting way too close to a fire were the culprits. Glass blowers and chefs who have prolonged exposure to heat sources can also develop this syndrome on their faces. But Toasted Skin Syndrome and its association with laptops gained significant attention around 2010 when case reports and news articles highlighted the risks of using laptops directly on the skin for extended periods.
Nowadays, the common culprits may include:
- Use of a laptop on the thighs.
- Seat heaters in cars.
- Heating pads, blankets, or hot water bottles.
- Space heaters.
According to Dr. Daniel Grove, pediatric dermatologist, toasted skin syndrome or scientifically known as Erythema Ab Igne (EAI) can lead to skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation, itching, and burning. Extended exposure can even cause degeneration of elastic fibers and basal cells stimulating the release of melanin.
To keep skin safe when using personal heating devices, here are some tips:
- Use the lowest heat setting.
- Avoid prolonged exposure by setting timers on space heaters and heating pads so they automatically shut off, after a certain period of time.
- Keep space heaters at least 2 feet or more away from your skin and rotate where the heat hits your body.
- When using heating pads and…