Fitbit Surge confirmed as cause of rashes

If you rushed out to purchase a Fitbit Surge, the latest fitness tracker from one of the most well known wearable makers in the world, then you might want to limit the amount of time you spend with it on your wrist, as the manufacturer has now come out and admitted that some users are experiencing rashes caused by the device.

The problem could be similar to that of affected owners of previous Fitbit devices: nickel. In older Fitbit wearables, the nickel content of the device caused some people to have a minor allergic reaction, so Fitbit went the extra mile to remove much of the nickel used in the new Surge’s design, but some people with particularly sensitive skin are still breaking out in rashes. The only advice Fitbit has given to those affected, is to keep it clean and dry, and try not to wear it all the time – somewhat defeating the point of a wearable fitness tracker.

“We continue to be aware of a very limited percentage of users reporting skin irritation among our users,” a Fitbit statement reads.

“The reactions we are seeing with new products are not uncommon with jewellery 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.”

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Fitbit has said however that it will investigate further and perform more tests at its end to see if it can discover just what aspect of the device is causing the rashes, or whether it’s just from people wearing something close to their skin for extended periods of time. Fitbit has certainly been keen to paint it as if it’s just wearing any sort of wearable that can cause these types of rashes, though it is far less common with wearables from other manufacturers.

It will be interesting to see if this sort of news has much of an effect on Fitbit’s sales, or whether it will cause the company to fundamentally redesign its devices in the future. Part of the problem presumably resides with the fact that as a fitness tracker it needs direct contact with skin in order to determine some of the metrics about the user – it’s not as simple as putting it in a little silicon case.

Image source: Shaun Ewing

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