When I saw the name of this article on MSNBC, I immediately envisioned Homer Simpson saying “Mmm, toasted skin.” Far from a campfire delicacy, however, Toasted Skin Syndrome is a rare disorder that causes discoloration of the skin and is even associated with skin cancer.
As the name implies, the problem is caused by exposure to heat. More specifically it is long-term exposure to heat that is not sufficiently hot to cause burns. For example, hot water bottles or electric heating pads can cause it. More to the point of office ergonomics, so can prolonged use of a hot laptop on a user’s lap.
The hallmark of the disease is darkening of the skin in the exposed area in a “sponge” pattern. Often this discoloration can be long-term or permanent. It also increases susceptibility to squamous cell skin cancer.
One obvious fix to the cause is to get your laptop off your lap as you work. We discuss several of our excellent products for laptop ergonomics and laptop ergonomic accessories in other blog entries. These products, in particular the stands, mice and portable keyboards, help users keep their laptop in a comfortable position while leaving their lap nice and cool.