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Toasted skin syndrome

It’s getting cold out there and this morning I was glad that my Volkswagon has heated seats.  So I turned it to the highest setting, which was nice.  As soon as it started to feel good and warm the next thought I had was about Erythema ab igne, which was not so nice.

Erythema ab igne is (apparently) Latin and means “redness from fire”.  It’s a benign condition of the skin that comes from chronic, very long term exposure to heat. It’s most often described as a rash on the back from heating pads, but with new technology its now being seen on other parts of the body from other causes.

Car Seat Heaters

The photo above shows a very severe example of erythema ab igne from a car seat heater.  The serpiginous brown pattern is classic.  These changes are pretty much irreversible.  This also doesn’t happen overnight-its the result of very long term application of heat.  For it to be this bad, it would need to be pretty high heat as well.

Laptop thigh

Notably, the same type of rash has also appeared on the thighs from laptops.  This too requires time to develop.  Its really not that common, and I’ve never personally seen it occur (yet).

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