With temperatures slowly dropping and heating bills going up, you might reach for a hot water bottle to keep you warm this winter. 

However, a doctor has warned that the warming appliance could leave you with an uncomfortable health problem.

The warming rubber can keep you toasty and comfortable, but you should avoid pressing it against your skin for too long.

Dr Aleksandar Godic, Consultant Dermatologist at Stratum Clinics, explained that prolonged and repetitive exposure of heat to your skin can lead to brown-red rash.

Known as erythema ab igne, the rash has a lace-like appearance and may also cause itching and burning.

The doctor explained that hot water bottles can thin your skin and deposit pigment cells in the surrounding tissue called melanocytes, leading to the rash.

Erythema ab igne usually appears in the area where the heat source was applied. 

Dr Godic said: “The rash is usually self-limiting and patients only rarely require treatment with low-potency topical steroids for a short period of time. 

“Common complication is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is more disturbing, because it takes months to fade on its own, even longer if the person has dark skin or is exposed to sun afterwards.”

This is a common problem with hot water bottle users, according to Dr Amir Khan.

The doctor previously shared he sees this “quite a lot” with his patients when speaking on ITV’s show Lorraine.

According to Kathy Taghipour, director of Derm Consult, this isn’t the only problem that can occur with hot water bottles.

Taghipour said: “Hot water bottles are not inherently dangerous, but can cause burns if they do burst. 

“Reports have suggested that you can acquire second- and third-degree burns, so mindful usage is incredibly important as they can cause lasting damage.”

Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk

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