Fitbit wristbands are causing skin rashes – again

WATCH ABOVE: Fitbit’s activity trackers are causing skin rashes again. Many users have taken to social media claiming their Fitbit Surge wristbands are causing painful reactions. Nicole Bogart reports.

TORONTO – Just one year after Fitbit issued a voluntary recall of its Force wristbands due to reports of painful skin irritations, a growing number of users have taken to social media to report the company’s latest device is causing similar reactions.

According to multiple reports on Twitter, the recently released Fitbit Surge is causing some users to break out in an itchy, sometimes bumpy rash. Twitter user Shaun Ewing developed a rash after wearing the device for just over five days, according to his tweets.

Fitbit recalled its Force model in February 2014 after many users began developing similar irritations, diagnosed as contact dermatitis by many doctors.

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Many users said they developed the rash after wearing the fitness tracker for a prolonged period of time. Some users were left with painful burn-like rashes, which doctors warned could leave scarring.

READ MORE: Fitbit offers apology, refund to users experiencing skin irritation from Fitbit Force

The company said the rashes could possibly be the result of an allergy to nickel, an element of surgical-grade stainless steel used in the device.

At the time, Fitbit said only 1.7 per cent of Force users had reported irritations. A customer support page on Fitbit’s website has garnered over 5,500 posts to date.

Global News contacted Fitbit for a request for comment regarding the reports of rashes from the Fitbit Surge. A spokesperson directed us to the company’s website for information regarding product care and changes to its design.

According to its website, Fitbit has “significantly reduced the amount of surgical-grade stainless steel” used in the Surge model. It also notes that the Surge has a stainless steel buckle.

“The materials we chose are a result of our new testing protocol and advanced research-and-development process,” reads the site. “As with any product made of stainless steel, a limited number of users with nickel sensitivity may still experience an allergic reaction.”

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In an email to Global News, a spokesperson added the Fitbit Force’s housing and band were held together with adhesives, which was determined to be the cause of “nearly all allergic reactions.” New Fitbit devices are held together with screws.

Fitbit’s website also warns users to not wear the device too tightly and keep it clean and dry.

“If you start to experience skin irritation on your wrist, we suggest you remove the device. Contact your physician if symptoms persist longer than 2-3 days after removing the device,” the site continues.

While the spokesperson did not directly comment on the new reports of skin irritations, she said the company continues to monitor the issue.

“We continue to monitor this issue, as it impacts all companies that make products worn next to the skin, particularly the wearables industry as people tend to wear devices for long periods without giving their skin a break. We hope in the coming months to work with our competitors to develop an industry standard for wear and care designed to limit reactions to activity trackers in the future,” said the spokesperson via email.

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