Users of the Fitbit Force, a digital fitness tracker worn like a wristwatch, are claiming that the device has given them a painful skin reaction. Fitbit customers say that the rash is contact dermatitis, a skin rash often caused by an allergic reaction. According to the National Institutes of Health, contract dermatitis usually takes two or three weeks to heal.
Symptoms for the rash ranged from red and itchy skin to painful blisters. Many owners have sought medical care and were prescribed prednisone and antibiotics. FitBit has come out and stated they are aware of the issue and are offering refunds or replacement devices to any customers affected. There are also covering shipping costs and providing a refund for any price differences.
Susan Pomeroy, a 63-year-old fitness instructor from Lawrence, Kan, said “It’s just not acceptable that you pay $129 for a product and then end up seeking professional medical help for a rash that develops from use of that product.”
In a statement, Fitbit stated that the rash may possible be due to users with allergies to nickel, an element of surgical-grade stainless steal that is found in the device.
“As with any jewelry or watch, numerous factors could cause a skin irritation, such as nick sensitivity (surgical stainless steal is an alloy containing traces of nickel),” said Fitbit in a statement to the Consumerist.
Wearable technology is one of the fastest growing areas of the consumer electronics market. Last week’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas featured many companies debuting new or upgraded wearable devices. Fitbit has been in competition with other digital fitness trackers such as the Nike+ Fuelband and the Jawbone Up.
Customers voicing their opinion in Fitbit’s user forum have stated that they had no issues with the Fitbit Force’s predecessor, the Fitbit Flex. The Flex also has a stainless steam clasp with traces of nickel.