When it comes to buying a new car having heated seats are on the top of the ‘must have’ perk list, especially during the winter months. But two new studies show that they could also pose a risk to your skin if you use them too much. The two studies, published in the journal Archives of Dermatology, found that a skin-discoloration condition called “erythema ab igne,” or “toasted skin syndrome,” is linked with skin exposure to the car seat warmers.
The study showed that being exposed to the heat, even if it’s not scalding hot, can lead to skin discoloration in the form of brown patches and red lines on the skin. According to Dr. Eliot Mostow, who wrote about one of the cases in the journal:
“It’s probably related to some blood vessel changes and changes in the pigment cells. You get more severe cases with longer exposure, But to be honest, everybody’s different. Some people will get it sooner with the exact same exposure. They’re more sensitive.”
But heated car seats aren’t the only way to get “toasted skin syndrome,” prolonged use of heating pads and hot water bottles and hot laptops, when you rest them on the skin, can also leave you with unsightly blemishes. Doctors are advising people to use caution when using heated seats or any other heated item. They suggest not placing items such as lap tops directly on the skin and say to turn off heated seats once they get warm to avoid burns.