Is Your FitBit Messing with Your Skin?

by Ramona Emerson

Getty ImagesGetty Images While wearable exercise trackers have finally gotten chic enough that you might actually want to wear them in public, rashes are just never going to be on-trend, as some FitBit Force users have recently discovered. Some users have reportedly come down with nasty cases of contact dermatitis under their exercise trackers.

The itchy, red skin reaction, which is a form of eczema, can be caused by either irritation or allergic reaction, according to dermatologist Doris Day. "The band isn't very breathable, and anytime you have moisture and friction you can get a rash," says Day. "I see the same thing under wedding rings." To soothe this kind of irritation, Day suggests alternating the bracelet from wrist to wrist.

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The other possible culprit? A nickel allergy. "Contact dermatitis can be a result of an allergy to one of hundreds of things, but nickel, which could be present in a metal clasp such as this, is a common allergy," says dermatologist Francesa Fusco. Parts of the FitBit are made with stainless steel, which contains traces of nickel. "If this is the problem, you can't wear it," says Day. "It just won't work for you."

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Another good way to avoid rashes? Common sense. "A reaction like that doesn't happen in five seconds. It happens when you persist in wearing the device that you're reacting to," says Day. "There's common sense involved in life."

But FitBit isn't splitting hairs about who bears the rash responsibility. The company is offering full refunds to anyone who has experienced skin irritation caused by the device.

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