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Unsightly rash? Stop wearing your Fitbit, the company says

FitBit Charge angle 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Fitbit is in hot water yet again, as several new owners of the Charge and Surge fitness bands are reporting unsightly rashes. This isn’t the first time Fitbit’s been in trouble for its wearables causing skin irritation. The company even faced a full recall and class-action lawsuit over the last outbreak of rashes.

Fitbit later discovered that the rashes were caused by irritation from the nickel used in the bands, and it pledged to lessen the amount of nickel in its next fitness bands. To avoid yet another lawsuit, Fitbit issued a warning with every Charge and Surge band that shipped this time around.

“Prolonged contact may contribute to skin irritation or allergies in some users,” the disclaimer reads. “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.”

Sure enough, some early reviewers and recent buyers of the Charge and Surge bands reported severe skin reactions after wearing the devices for a few days or weeks. Twitter is littered with photos of unsightly rashes, some more horrible than others, though Fitbit claims only a small number of users have been affected.

The company also offered advice to those with skin irritation, which amounted to, if it bothers you, take it off. Of course, removing the fitness band is the logical answer, but that also means that you can no longer track your activity, sleep, or heart rate, which is why you bought the device in the first place.

Fitbit also said that users should change the way they wear and clean the device, so as to prevent rashes.

“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.” the post, spotted by TechCrunch, states. “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.”

Fitbit promises that it’s monitoring the situation, will keep users up to date on new developments, and will work to prevent such outbreaks in the future.

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Malarie Gokey
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As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
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