“These materials are more occlusive to the skin,” confirms Dr. Sadeghpour, which means they cause the skin to be covered with an impermeable film or substance. But since most major fitness tracker makers use similar materials, don’t expect a big change by switching brands. “Some people will say, ‘Maybe I’ll try a different brand,'” Dr. Masik said. “But it’s going to be pretty consistent, depending on what you’re sensitive to.”

Give the tracker a break

Fitbit and Garmin recommend turning off the device for at least an hour after prolonged wear. Samsung recommends stopping use for two to three days for wearers who experience “extreme” irritation. “If you start noticing redness, that’s a sign that you’re giving up on your watch,” agrees Dr. Masik, suggesting shifting the deception to another wrist or finger.

Wear the smart device again only after the redness is completely gone. “People will say, ‘It looks better, there’s less redness.’ They’ll put it on again, and it’ll come back,” Dr. Masik said. “Each subsequent exposure ended up eliciting a larger response, but also a faster onset.”

A post-workout shower can be a good time to rest and prevent exposure to additional irritants. “I tell patients to take their watch off in the shower so soap doesn’t get trapped under the watch or in the strap. Prolonged contact can irritate the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Jared Jagdeo, MD, MS, in New York. York City’s SUNY Downstate said.

Properly clean affected skin and equipment

In the shower, wash with a mild, non-abrasive cleanser to avoid skin irritation. “Sometimes people over exfoliate,” says Dr. Lamb. “You want something as gentle as possible.”

Dr. Sadeghpour also notes that “how often you shower after a workout is important because the longer your skin interacts with sweat, the more likely it is to start getting irritated.”

Your dermatologist will follow the manufacturer’s protocol when cleaning your device. But in general, “wiping with water and a soft cotton cloth at least once a week will do the trick,” says Dr. Sadeghpour. Before putting the device back on, make sure it and the skin it touches are dry.

keep the area moist

After cleansing, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to create a barrier between your skin and the tracker. Dr. Lamb prefers Vaseline or Vanicream: “The key to hydration is [to apply] Moisturizer, within three minutes of showering,” she says, which helps lock in moisture. If irritation persists, she says try topical cortisone cream, which can reduce inflammation within one to two weeks.

Consider external factors

Pay attention to what the tracker touches every day. “Different particles can get trapped under the watch — detergent, soap — which can irritate the skin,” Dr. Jagdeo said. Extreme weather can also affect the skin. “If it’s really cold, the skin’s barrier is broken and it’s more prone to irritation, so keeping a moisturizer on is crucial,” explains Dr. Lamb. “And when it’s hotter outside, it’s more humid underneath. You’re sweating more, it’s more irritating.”

TL;DR: A little extra care can go a long way.

Usually, these stimuli are rarely dangerous, except for rare flukes. Earlier this month, Fitbit recalled about 1 million Ionic smartwatches (less than 0.01% of sales) because of a burn hazard with its lithium-ion battery. Dr Sadeghpour clarified that this is a “model-specific recall” and may be due to a “faulty mechanism in the lithium battery” – not the watch interacting with sweat or other possible irritants. “These products are usually extensively tested to ensure their safety before they are put on the market,” she assures.