Toasted Skin Syndrome from laptop....what do I do?
July 9, 2013 5:38 PM   Subscribe

About a month ago, I spent the day playing games on my laptop and it got really heated. I felt it get super hot on my left thigh, more so than usual, but it was still tolerable so I left it there. Now I have a huge spider-like red mark on my left thigh. I've had red marks before from my laptop, but none this "spider-vein like" and none that persisted this long. It also seems to fade and darken depending on my body temperature. If I take a warm shower, it will get SUPER dark and fade to its usual redness after a few hours. It doesn't hurt. It's not irritated. It doesn't itch. It doesn't peel. It's just odd and ugly. Can I expect it to fade over time? Is it permanent? What should I do? Is there a treatment for this? The only thing I've done is alter how I sit with my laptop. (no more lap)
posted by Telomeracer to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Were you wearing pants?
Could it be, like, ink?
posted by TravellingDen at 5:46 PM on July 9, 2013

Erythema ab igne

Get yourself a laptop cooling pad pronto.
posted by srboisvert at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

Yeah, a cooling pad, and I would also use compressed air to clean any air intake/outlet locations, and defrag the hard drive if it's a physical drive. Maybe get more RAM if possible as well.

As to the skin you should probably moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, preferably with something aloe-y. I might hesitantly suggest a silicone pad treatment, but that's for surface scars and I'm not sure this is really on the surface (and it takes a long, long time anyway).
posted by dhartung at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2013

If it was just this once, I would expect it to fade, though how long is anyone's guess. There are any number of different treatment/beauty regimens you could attempt, but it's unlikely anyone could tell you how effective they would be with any certainty. The best you could do is go to several dermatologists, get their opinions on treatment, and try the most common suggestion among them - though I'm not saying that's practical.

Among my guesses for treatment: moisturizer with Vitamin E, getting plenty of internal antioxidants, hydrocortisone cream, Mederma scar gel, silicone scar pads, and just plain ice. (IANAD, TINMA)

As for laptop cooling pads, I highly recommend the RoadTools Podium CoolPad. I had an original black one for over 10 years until the rubber feet finally came off. Now I have the current white model I linked. It stays with my laptop - first a Titanium Powerbook, now a first-model black MacBook - at all times and I've never had a problem with laptop heat (except for that time they screwed the CPU fan in too tightly...).
posted by WasabiFlux at 6:54 PM on July 9, 2013

Pretty much every manufacturer calls them "Notebook Computers" for this very reason.

Notebooks produce a ton of heat and most of them have air intake / exhaust on the bottom so they need to be used on a hard, flat surface, never on your lap!
posted by jjb at 7:43 PM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Try some aloe gel on your leg.
posted by theora55 at 7:55 PM on July 9, 2013

I'd actually recommend one more meant for use on laps with active cooling - a usb fan and some sort of padding cushion bottom rather than just a structural one for simple airflow like the Coolpad. Something like this that has a usb powered fan (and has nice speakers as well!)
posted by srboisvert at 8:04 PM on July 9, 2013

I've had this happen! It's definitely weird, like the damage is underneath the skin rather than on top of it.

I did nothing and the marks faded over time, though I don't think they lasted as long as a month. But I'm guessing yours will probably fade, too.
posted by Georgina at 1:34 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

that logitech lapdesk is pretty overpriced, something like this is much more reasonable and accomplishes the same task.(i'm aware there's no photos, but it has a nice padded bottom)

But yes, you want something that both creates separation between your legs and the machine, and blows some air over it. And the ones without padding are seriously uncomfortable.
posted by emptythought at 3:24 AM on July 10, 2013

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