Sometimes your skin will react badly to certain materials that come in contact with your skin. This skin irritation might be due to allergies, chafing or rubbing, or dirt and sweat that was built up in certain places.
The Fitbit rash started gaining the public's attention in 2014. During that period, there was a recall of the Force wearable fitness tracker after wearers of the fitness tracker developed rashes on their wrists. Even today, there are still users of the Fitbit line of fitness trackers and wearables who reportedly have experienced rashes.
What Causes Fitbit Rash/Skin Irritation?
Some people are allergic to materials such as metals like nickel. These materials may be found in Fitbit. This rash is likely a form of eczema, also known as contact dermatitis. It is one of the common skin conditions that develop when your skin is in contact with an allergen or irritant.
So, what are these allergen and irritant contact dermatitis?
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis. This is the most common form of dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is the result of your skin being injured by chemicals, friction, or environmental factors.
You'll experience irritant contact dermatitis when an irritant damages the surface of your skin quicker than the skin can repair itself. This allows the irritants to go deeper into your skin and cause inflammation.
The following are the irritants that are most likely to cause a reaction:
- Rubbing alcohol
If there's soap trapped between the wrist and your Fitbit watch strap, this will cause rashes to appear. You will experience skin irritation if this happens frequently. You should take note that the area where the watch is worn is usually the place where perfume is sprayed or lotion is put on. If there is constant friction, contact dermatitis will happen. Other factors that may cause contact dermatitis are pressure and sweat between the skin and the Fitbit band.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis. It is when your skin is in contact with a substance and has an immune reaction, such as a rash. There are people who are hypersensitive to certain materials. There are others who could be in contact with the same materials but there will be no skin reactions.
If you are one of the people who have an allergy, your body recognizes the substance as foreign material. Thus, your body will release cytokines. The cytokines will make your immune system activate. After being exposed to the allergen, you will experience dermatitis for 48 to 72 hours.
What are the common allergens? These are:
- Plants such as poison ivy
- Antibiotic creams
- Personal care products
- Ragweed pollen
If you're experiencing a Fitbit rash, it might be because of an allergic response to allergens. These allergens might be present in the materials used in your Fitbit watch band. These materials include metals, leather dyes, and rubber accelerators. If you're exposed to any of the aforementioned materials, a rash will appear on your wrist. That is if you have sensitive skin.
The most likely culprit for your rash is the presence of nickel.
- Nickel Allergy. The rashes you've been having might be due to nickel. Nickel is a material found in several fitness trackers. It's no wonder that some flare-ups happen. Especially if you and other wearers of the Fitbit are not aware that you have a nickel allergy.
If you want to determine if nickel is the cause of the rashes, you should undergo a dimethylglyoxime test. Nickel is present in your skin if the dye turns pink. You will also need to undergo a patch test to prove that you're allergic to nickel.
Signs and Symptoms of a Fitbit Rash
You will notice the following signs and symptoms on the skin where you wear your Fitbit:
- Red rash
- Scaly skin
What to do if You Get Fitbit Rash?
Fitbit's advice if you develop a rash is to take it off for a few days. According to a Fitbit spokesperson, the rashes you have are likely from wearing the band too tight. It might also be due to sweat, water, or soap being held against the skin under the device. Another reason is because of pressure or friction against the skin.
The Fitbit spokesperson further said that the rash will resolve quickly when users take a break from the device. You can try wearing your Fitbit again after your skin clears up. However, if you still got rashes, the following can help you prevent or treat the Fitbit rash.
- Clean your Fitbit watch and band. It is essential to clean your Fitbit, especially after a sweaty workout. Clean your fitness tracker regularly, particularly the band. Most Fitbit bands can be cleaned easily with soap and water. Don't forget to make sure that the band is completely dry before using it.
- Loosen your Fitbit. You should wear your fitness tracker as loosely as possible. You should be able to move it back and forth comfortably on your wrist. Also, remove your Fitbit watch every 20 minutes each day. This will help prevent skin irritation. You can also switch your Fitbit from one wrist to another.
- Switching bands. The basic silicone band normally doesn't cause a reaction. However, it is possible that the brand of the band you're using with your Fitbit will cause skin irritation. Fortunately, there are lots of shops where you can shop for your Fitbit band.
- Boost your moisture barrier. To prevent and treat your Fitbit rash, you should protect your skin's moisture barrier. You should look for moisturizers that have glycerine, lipids, and ceramides. These are skin-replenishing ingredients that will help in maintaining your skin barrier integrity.
- Reduce itching and inflammation. Look for something that can help reduce itching and inflammation. Hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion can help relieve minor skin irritations.
If your rash does not go away within a few weeks, you should book an appointment with a dermatologist. If the rash suddenly appears and spreads to other areas, you should visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. If you notice oozing blisters and have a fever, this means it's infected. You will need to receive treatment right away.