Seat warmers blamed for skin rash

Bottom warmers in cars may ease frigid winter commutes, but dermatologists have warned that extended exposure to seat heaters can lead to a skin condition called “toasted skin syndrome”.

Two reports in the journal Archives of Dermatology describe rashes on legs that erupt by pressing against warmed-up seats for prolonged periods of time.

“Turn down the setting,” said Brian Adams, a dermatologist at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.

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“Avoid prolonged, tight juxtapositioning of the lower legs on the hottest setting of the heated seats.”

Toasted skin syndrome, known as erythema ab igne or EAI, is caused by exposure to heat, although it is not a burn.

There have been few cases of people being scorched by car seats that malfunctioned, but that was not the situation with the patients in these reports.

In one case seen by Dr Adams, a 67-year-old woman developed a web of red lines across the back of her legs.

The pattern of markings, he determined, matched parts of her legs that touched her car seat.

During the winter, the woman had her car seat heater turned on during 130 trips lasting 45 minutes each and another ten trips lasting two hours each.