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Fitbit's newest fitness trackers are still causing skin irritation

Fitbit's newest fitness trackers are still causing skin irritation


Company says 'very limited percentage of users' developing rashes

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Fitbit is still irritating some of its customers. A year after the company had to pull its Fitbit Force from the market over complaints it was causing skin conditions, a number of users of the Fitbit Surge health tracker have taken to Twitter to document rashes and signs of skin irritation reportedly caused by wearing the device. Fitbit has responded the complaints — which show red blotches and broken skin on wearers' wrists — by suggesting customers keep their $250 Surges dry, clean, and that they "give [their] wrists a rest."

In a statement, the company said it was aware of of reports of skin irritation from "a very limited percentage of users." According to dermatologists, the reactions are caused by a number of factors, including wearing the band too tight or from water being trapped against the skin. Fitbit says such reactions are "not uncommon with jewelry or wearable devices that stay in contact with the skin for extended periods," and should disappear within hours or days when users take the device off.

This is the second time the company has had to deal with this problem. Last year, Fitbit CEO James Park issued an apology to customers affected by skin irritation caused by the Fitbit Force health tracker. A week later, the device was taken off the market entirely while the issue was investigated. At the time, Park said only 1.7 percent of customers reported that their Force tracker caused irritation, but the issue apparently remains with the Surge.

Fitbit's fitness trackers are designed to monitor your activity at all hours of the day: the top-of-the-range Surge has eight sensors and GPS to monitor your activity and position during workouts, and can even track your sleeping habits. Removing the tracker might clear the problems up, but wearables need to be worn to be functional — forcing users to take the device off for days at a time to avoid developing nasty skin conditions makes the $250 Surge a less enticing prospect.