Breakouts under the fitness tracker: it helps

Fitness trackers are useful but often cause skin irritation.

Pexel / Ketut Subyanto

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In fact, they should support your health – but the skin often suffers from bracelets. We have tips.

Fitness trackers typically measure more than workout results. Heart rate, sleep pattern or menstrual cycle are also often monitored. Gadgets are often worn for 24 hours. This precise monitoring comes at a price: sweat, which usually simply evaporates from the skin, becomes trapped between the band and the skin due to constant wear. In this environment, the skin is easily irritated – pimples and redness result.

Dermatologists call this reaction irritant contact dermatitis, a painful rash that occurs in response to an irritant.

Instead of throwing away your smartwatch now, you can keep tracking your health with a few simple tips without stressing your skin.

1. Change band

It is best to consider which materials are well tolerated before purchasing. Too late? Then try changing bands: silicone tends to retain more moisture, while cotton and silk bands naturally wick sweat away from the skin. Cloth straps with holes generally offer good breathability, and straps without fasteners help avoid contact with metals. Have you fallen in love with a model only available in silicone and without holes? For trackers that are only available with permanently integrated silicone bands, you should consider the following points twice.

While some tolerate silicone well, others experience irritation.

While some tolerate silicone well, others experience irritation.

Pexels / Polina Pankilevitch

2. Look for the perfect fit

Do not wear the band too tight, otherwise the sweat cannot evaporate. However, the strap should also not be too loose: every time the watch moves on the skin, it can rub and this can irritate the skin.

Neither too tight nor too loose: check the manufacturer's website for the best fit for the strap.

Neither too tight nor too loose: check the manufacturer’s website for the best fit for the strap.

Pexels/Ketut Subyanto

3. Clean, clean, clean

The sooner you shower after exercise, the less sweat there is on your skin, which helps prevent chafing. Depending on the material, you can also clean your activity tracker (it’s best to check the manufacturer’s website for how to do this). It’s usually helpful to wipe down the device with a damp cotton cloth, then dry it thoroughly before putting it on to prevent any liquid from getting stuck.

The longer the sweat remains on the surface of the skin, the greater the risk of irritation.

The longer the sweat remains on the surface of the skin, the greater the risk of irritation.

Pexels / Sachith Hettigodage

4. Hydrate your skin

After the shower, you can apply a moisturizer on your skin. This creates a natural barrier between your skin and the tracker. If you already have a rash, there are suitable products in pharmacies that will help you quickly.

You can find moisturizing creams in pharmacies that strengthen the skin barrier and help fight against itchy sensations.

You can find moisturizing creams in pharmacies that strengthen the skin barrier and help fight against itchy sensations.

Linda Prepreza / Pexels

5. Rule out an allergic reaction

An allergy can also cause the rash (allergic contact dermatitis). An allergic reaction can occur within minutes, hours, or days of exposure, while irritant contact dermatitis is more likely to occur after repeated wear. The rashes look similar, but the allergic version tends to be redder and harder to treat. If you have a history of allergic reactions to certain materials (for example, metals in earrings or belt buckles), there is a greater chance that the irritation from the tracker is also due to an allergy. In this case, only the replacement of the tape can help, if possible. Not sure if it’s an allergy? If in doubt, specialist dermatologists can advise you.

Is your skin already red? If severe irritation occurs, wear the tracker completely for two to three days.

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