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With temperatures creeping closer to zero, it’s extremely tempting to dust off the old water bottle or a heating pad and cosy up on the sofa.
Worryingly, prolonged exposure to a heat source could leave you with toasted skin syndrome this winter.
Characterised by discolouration, itching and burning sensations, toasted skin syndrome occurs after prolonged exposure to heat without direct contact with a hot object.
The condition typically strikes when your skin is exposed to heat that isn’t burning hot and can be with you for hours, such as hot water bottles, heating pads, laptops, or other electronic devices.
What’s worse, the skin condition has been previously linked to a higher risk of skin cancer.
READ MORE Doctor warns of common health problem caused by hot water bottles
A reddish-brown discolouration of your skin, which may have a mottled pattern, may be the first warning sign to ring alarm bells.
In some cases, the affected area might also feel itchy or develop mild burning sensations.
Dermatologist Lavanya Krishnan told Byrdie: “The heat is usually not enough to cause a burn to the skin, but can cause changes in the superficial blood vessels and perhaps even the collagen and elastin components of the skin.”
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The good news is that you can avoid this uncomfortable problem if you know how.
To prevent toasted skin syndrome, avoid prolonged skin contact with heat sources and use barriers like clothing or heat shields when using devices that generate heat.
While prevention is always preferable to treatment, if you develop signs of toasted skin syndrome, you should reduce or eliminate the heat exposure.
In most cases, the skin discolouration is harmless and will fade over time, but continual exposure to heat can sometimes cause serious health problems.
Worryingly, repeated ‘toasting’ has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Depending on the location of the rash, areas with thinner skin may respond well to over-the-counter Hydrocortisone 1 percent cream. Furthermore, retinol products may also be useful as they stimulate collagen production.
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