Users say Fitbit Force tracker causes severe skin rashes

Many owners of the popular Fitbit Force wrist-worn activity tracker have reported severe skin irritations after wearing the device.

Those who purchased the $130 motion-tracking device took to social media with their complaints , saying they were seeking medical care for the rashes.

Users said they experienced similar problems: burns on the top of their wrists, redness and several rashes.

One user said, "Wore it for a month with no issue and then all of a sudden a terrible rash and blisters on my wrist right where the battery department sits on my wrist. Switched wrist and within 12 hours same rash and blisters in the exact same spot on my wrist."

 Doug MacLeod was burned by his Fitbit. On his Twitter account, he posted "The newest fitbit force burned my arm!! They need to fix this..."

After contacting the company, MacLeod was refunded. He said Fitbit's customer service was great, but that the company held no responsibility for what happened to his wrist.

Kevin Sanders, another Fitbit owner, said he enjoyed the gadget until he had the same skin irritation on his wrist. After seeking medical help, he said the doctor told him he had "contact dermatitis."


After complaining to the company, Sanders says the company has done nothing to show they care for customer loyalty.

Katy Crossen, of Cincinnati, told ABC News that she wore her Fitbit 24/7 before blisters appeared on her wrist. She then went to the doctor and was told she also had contact dermatisis. 

Owners of the gadget commented say that they had no known allergies to the materials on the tracker, and that they tried to wash it in fear of bacteria and that they didn't wear it too tightly. All issues that Fitbit claims could be the cause of the rashes.

On Engadget online forum, a user posted the Fitbit company response to her complaint:

"We are sorry that you are experiencing skin irritation and for our delayed response. We want to follow up with some comments about Fitbit devices and provide some options to assist you, such as replacement of your device or refund of your purchase.

Our Force and Flex wristbands are made of a flexible, durable elastomer material similar to that used in many sports watches. They do not contain latex. The clasps and casing are made of surgical-grade stainless steel and contain traces of nickel. As with any type of jewelry, some people may experience allergies. Numerous factors can cause an allergy, such as a nickel sensitivity, reactions to bacteria that can accumulate in watch wristbands or other wearable devices, a reaction between the wristband and your soap or perspiration, or an allergy to the material of the wristband.

While we cannot diagnose whether you are experiencing an allergic reaction, allergies may be unpredictable and cause intense responses. Allergies may result from any combination of things, including irritation over time, a reaction between a watchband and your soap or perspiration, or an allergy to the material of the watchband. Certain people may have allergies to the nickel in stainless steel or from certain type of bacteria that can accumulate in watch wristbands or other wearable devices.

In our ongoing interest in learning more about our customer experience, if you would like to help us better understand and assess your issue, you can help us by responding to following questions/items.

1. How tightly do you wear your band?
• We've found that tight wristbands can cause irritation.
2. Is your wristband frequently exposed to moisture?
• If so how frequently and in what conditions? (For example, I shower daily with my tracker.)
3. Have you had similar skin allergies or sensitivities from other bands?
• Previous reaction to wearing a sport watch, or to stainless steel jewelry?
4. Have you tried cleaning your Fitbit device with warm soapy water, if you think you may be subject to microbial allergies?
5. Please describe the weather conditions when the irritation occurred, including the approximate temperature and humidity.

All this stated, it looks like you purchased your Force on the store. If you are interested in a full refund or a partial refund for the cost difference for a One, please let us know and we arrange this for you.

At the bottom of the post, the user commented saying that she had never had any type of sensitivity rash from any other product she's used in the past.

However, Fitbit says that the band's steel is made with some nickel. About 9 percent of the population is allergic to nickel, commonly found in belts and zippers, but aren't in constant skin-to-skin contact with the metal. With Fitbit, the metal sits on the skin causing this irritation, said Dr. Ingelton, a cosmetic dermatologist.

Fitbit released an official statement stating they will offer a refund or choice of replacement. They will also cover shipping costs and provide a refund for any difference in price.


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