If you're a Fitbit Force user and notice that the device is causing you skin irritation, you're not alone. Complaints of rashes caused by the Force fitness tracker has surfaced since last year with users reporting about rashes, blisters and peeling skin.
Fitness instructor Susan Pomeroy from Kansas owns a Fitbit Force and is one of the affected customers. She consulted a doctor who diagnosed the condition as contact dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin resulting to uncomfortable and itchy rash. Contact dermatitis may be due to an allergic reaction or an irritation caused by objects such as clothes or jewelry rubbing on one's skin.
"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," Pomeroy said. Although she knows that wrist rashes could be caused by frequently-worn objects, she said she wants to get the word out and warn people on what might happen if they frequently wear the Force.
The Force was released in October at $129.95 and became a popular gift last Christmas season. Users wear it on their wrist to track their daily activities. The gadget measures steps, stair climbed, calories burned and sleep, and relay the statistics to the user via an app installed on the smartphone. Within weeks after its launch though, users started to complain of rashes appearing on their skin underneath the device's charging port.
It isn't clear though what causes the reaction. Some users who developed the rashes said they did not have issues with the Force's older sibling, the Fitbit Flex, that also has a clasp made of stainless steel and traces of other materials such as nickel.
Meawhile, Fitbit has acknowledged the problem and decided to do something about the situation this week. "We are aware that some of our customers have reported a skin irritation from wearing their Force device," it said in a statement.
The company said it is offering refunds to customers. "Our customers are our top priority, so we already have been taking steps to make this right with any customers who feel that they have an allergy related to their Fitbit device including offering a refund or a choice of a replacement tracker. Fitbit will handle all shipping costs and will provide a refund in any difference in price," it said.