Fitbits are still causing rashes. Some owners of the Surge are reporting that, like the Force and Charge before it, the new smartwatch activity tracker is causing a rash. Fitbit’s solution? Take the thing off occasionally.
Fitbit tells TechCrunch that a very limited percentage of users reported skin irritation, and the reactions are not uncommon with jewelry or wearable devices that stay in contact with the skin for extended periods. After consulting dermatologists, Fitbit’s advice is this: Keep it clean, keep it dry and give your wrist a rest.
This is hardly the first time a Fitbit device has caused a rash. The firm released the Fitbit Force, its first wrist-worn activity tracker with a screen, in late 2013 but had to recall the product in early 2014 after numerous reports of skin rashes. A class-action lawsuit followed weeks later.
At the time, Fitbit stated that the rashes were caused by nickel used in the device’s band.The redesigned Fitbit Charge was said to have less nickel. Yet users are reporting rashes with that tracker, as well.
The latest devices include a warning that states “Prolonged contact may contribute to skin irritation or allergies in some users. If you notice any signs of skin redness, swelling, itchiness, or other skin irritation, please discontinue use or wear the product clipped over a piece of clothing.”
By Fitbit’s logic, any activity tracker can cause a rash. And they do, yet there are a lot fewer reports of rashes caused by Jawbone, Nike, Garmin or other activity trackers. Even watches have been known to cause rashes.
At $250, the Surge is Fitbit’s most expensive product on the market and key to the company’s long-term growth. The Surge sits squarely between a full-blown smartwatch, like the upcoming Apple Watch, and a low-cost activity tracker that is quickly becoming a commodity. The company already suffered through one full recall caused by users reporting rashes. It likely cannot weather another.
Fitbit’s full statement:
Featured Image: @data_smith/Twitter
We continue to be aware of a very limited percentage of users reporting skin irritation among our users.
The reactions we are seeing with new products are not uncommon with jewelry or wearable devices that stay in contact with the skin for extended periods. According to our consulting dermatologists, they are likely from wearing the band too tight; sweat, water, or soap being held against the skin under the device; or from pressure or friction against the skin and should resolve quickly when users take a break from the device, usually within hours or days.
We encourage anyone wearing an activity-tracking wristband to follow the guidelines we’ve developed with our team of dermatologists, to educate the public on how to wear and care for devices and keep skin happy: Keep it clean, keep it dry and give your wrist a rest.
We continue to monitor this issue, as it impacts all companies that make products worn next to the skin, particularly the wearables industry as people tend to wear devices for long periods without giving their skin a break.