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Apple Watch skin irritation issues: here comes “rashgate”?

It seems that following “tattoogate” for the Apple Watch, we may now have “rashgate” on our hands – or should that be on our wrists?

Yes, if you missed the fracas over tattoos, basically Apple’s smartwatch has trouble with dark ink tattoos on the wrist that can interfere with the heart rate sensor, leading to all sorts of flaky performance issues (like the workout app constantly pausing itself).

Cupertino officially admitted the problem at the end of last week, but the company’s suggestion that affected owners use a Bluetooth chest strap (or other external sensor) for heart rate readings didn’t go down too well…

And now we have claims from some users that the Apple Watch strap gives them a rash after wearing the device.

Tech2 spotted the rash pics that appeared on Ispazio, an Italian website, and a Reddit user has fired up a thread concerning “skin irritation”, an “allergic reaction of some kind” with his Apple Watch Sport that has a white coloured band.

The user, Maserrano, wrote: “I'm waiting to hear back from their engineering team as to what the next step would be … I'll take whatever I can get. A non-synthetic band would be nice, but pretty much all of the other options do not match the Sport (most have stainless steel ends that slide into the band channel, whereas the Sport is aluminium body).”

There are no other users chiming in that they have suffered the same condition, though, so it seems as if this could be a rare issue, and certainly nothing like on the scale of tattoogate. One reply said: “This is not Apple's fault, it's just that you are prone to contact dermatitis. Not that that matters, so get ready for ‘wristgate’.”

It’s rashgate, surely! Complete with jokes about rash purchases…

Apple does have a section of its support site dedicated to potential sensitivities and allergies and the smartwatch, with the company noting that not only do “all materials adhere to existing regulations, we developed our own specification for Apple Watch that goes beyond those requirements”. That includes thousands of material composition tests, hundreds of toxicological assessments, and consultations with dermatologists, Apple states.

If you are experiencing any kind of a wrist rash or irritation, one simple thing you can try, Cupertino advises, is ensuring you are not wearing the watch strap too tightly or too loosely.

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Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.