BOSTON — Tiana Adams said she felt something on her arm one day under her Apple Watch band.
“My skin was so irritated. It was red. It looked like it was blistered,” she said. “As it started healing, it started chafing and burning and itching.”
Adams said she paid $300 for her watch.
“I paid too much money for it to be irritating my skin,” she said.
Adams says she called Apple and requested a refund, but that the company said no. Now, she wants Apple to investigate its watches for skin reactions.
“It was a shock when it was me,” she said.
Apple did not respond to repeated requests for comments on those claims.
Ann Bracey claims she had burns on her wrist, caused by her Apple Watch.
“I need to know that the watch is safe or they need to make it safe,” Bracey said. “Lots of people wear these watches and they need to know that this can happen.”
A search of Consumer Product Safety Commission records uncovered 18 complaints like Bracey’s. People claimed their Apple Watch caused “burns and parts of skin to peel away,” a “circular red patch,” “severe skin redness,” an “itchy, dry rash,” “skin irritation,” “burning” and “blisters.”
Apple’s company website lists the materials in its watches and bands. It doesn’t mention anything about burns, but it does mention “potential skin sensitivities” and that a “small number” of people may “experience reactions to certain materials,” which the company says could be due to allergies, environmental factors, or extended exposure to irritants like soap or sweat.
Apple states on its website to:
- Keep your skin clean and dry.
- Be careful switching to bands not made by Apple.
- Make sure the band isn’t too tight or too loose.
Dr. Steven Feldman is a dermatologist with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem. He said one of his patients had a “skin rash following use of an Apple Watch.”
He and a medical student wrote a paper about it. They pointed out that:
- Many watches, including Apple, contain nickel, which “is associated with allergic” reactions.
- Customers “may wear smartwatches tighter due to the presence of heart rate sensors.”
- The watch bands are “more likely to be made of synthetic polymers” with more “friction.”
Feldman thinks reactions are very rare and downplayed concerns.
“I wouldn’t even worry about this. I think it’s such an uncommon phenomenon, I wouldn’t pay it any mind when I was deciding what kind of watch to buy,” he said.
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