How to Stop Your Watch Strap Irritating Your Skin
I’ve tested a plethora of different methods of stopping watch strap irritation, and there are five methods which proved most effective at keeping my skin watch-happy.
You can stop watch strap skin irritation by:
- Cleaning your watch
- Adjusting strap tension
- Swapping wrists
- Avoiding nickel straps
- Using Aloe Vera lotion
Not only have I found these five methods incredibly reliable, they are also easy to integrate into your daily routine - let me provide you with some context on each method.
What is Watch Rash?
Before we talk about solutions, let's get to the cause. Watch irritation is often known as ‘watch rash’ which is a form of what dermatologists would refer to as ‘contact dermatitis’ which is a form of Eczema.
Contact dermatitis is usually caused by three different stimuli: allergens, irritants or friction. It's the latter that most commonly causes watch rash, however allergens from certain materials can also be a likely cause. In these five methods, we’ll be offering solutions for all three.
1. Cleaning your watch
Easier said than done. How often do you actually clean your accessories? If you’re anything like me, then not enough. It's all about making it easy and accessible during your busy daily routine.
Perspiration occurs all day whether you like it or not, even more so if you exercise or work-out regularly. This can cause salt deposits to form and cause a rash over time, similarly a build up of bacteria can do exactly
Simply leaving some specialised watch cleaner next to your bedside table or wherever you store your watch at night will do the trick.
2. Adjusting strap tension
It’s all about finding the perfect balance between tight and loose. Too tight is simply uncomfortable and too loose can cause too much movement leading to skin chafe.
You should be aiming for your strap to be firm against your wrist with enough slack for the strap to rotate around your wrist with some light encouragement. This way it will be tight enough to avoid chafe but loose enough to avoid discomfort.
3. Swap Wrists
If you’re like most people, you were taught to wear your watch on your non-dominant wrist. It’s time to break the rule you’ve known since you were seven years old.
Swapping wrists can avoid bacteria build-ups and any long-term rubbing throughout the day. What's more, it can easily become habitual. Simply set a reminder on your phone or smart watch for the middle of the day - after about 2 weeks, swapping your watch wrist will become habitual. You won’t even notice you’re doing it.
Integrating the cleaning of your strap during the switch is a sure way to avoid any kind of irritation from your watch strap.
4. Avoiding nickel straps
Nickel is one of the most common allergens and my skin detests it, and yet most metal watch straps contain it. Avoiding metal straps all together is the safest best, and will save the hassle of hunting down nickel-free straps.
Initially I was stubborn to drop metal straps with the assumption that nothing else could achieve the same sense of style and class. However, leather and rubber straps can offer the same level of style with double the comfort.
My recommendation would be to use a rubber performance strap like the Hirsch Extreme during the day and during exercise, and the leather water-resistant strap like the Hirsch Heavy Calf in the evening.
5. Using Aloe Vera Lotion
Aloe vera is a natural skin moisturizer which can offer both irritation relief and moisturisation. Applying lotion just as your strap begins to cause irritation is the best time, keeping a travel size lotion in your bag is the best way to achieve this on-the-go.
Aloe vera will not only moisturise but alleviate any pain caused by irritation, as well as doubling up as an effective after-sun lotion in the summer months.
If even after these five steps you’re still experiencing irritation from your watch strap please feel free to get in contact with us.
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Written by Aled Nelmes for Watch Obsession.