The benefits of being of sleep apnea therapy are countless, but it can sometimes cause skin irritation, mask discomfort and red marks. Although most CPAP-related skin issues are minor and cosmetic, they can become a problem if left unaddressed.
In this blog, we take a closer look at the common causes of mask skin irritation and offer advice on the things you can do to manage any discomfort.
One of the most common causes of CPAP mask irritation is poor hygiene. Because your CPAP mask is something you wear often, you should wash it regularly. If left uncleaned, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms can accumulate on it, leading to skin reactions.
When cleaning your CPAP mask, you should only use mild soap or special CPAP mask cleaning wipes. Other detergents and cleaners can leave irritating residues or even damage your mask.
If you experience red marks on your face, it’s likely that your mask does not fit well. A mask that’s on too tight can cause parts of the mask to dig into your face as you sleep. You should only tighten your CPAP mask with just enough tension to create a seal. Conversely, if your mask is too loose, it can rub against the skin, causing chafing and irritation.
If you’re new to CPAP therapy, it’s essential to spend some time learning how to correctly fit and adjust your mask. Some people find practising in front of a mirror can really help!
If you have sensitive skin and a CPAP mask makes it worse, you could have an allergy due to the materials used in the mask. Most mask cushions are made of silicon, which is well-tolerated by most, but it is possible that you have an allergy.
To rule this out, you should try masks made from different materials, such as ResMed AirTouch masks. Available in both full face and nasal mask models, these are not only made of memory foam but they’re also designed to offer a softer and more breathable fit.
Did you know there are now newer model masks out there with minimalist designs and reduced contact points? If, for example, you require a full face mask but get red marks on the nasal bridge, you will love a compact full face masks like ResMed AirFit F30. This mask fits entirely under the nose, making red marks on the nasal bridge a thing of the past.
Some masks are now also designed with the air tubing connected to the top of your head and not to the front of your face. If you suspect your sleeping position is affecting how your mask fits, you may also want to experiment with these mask models, such as the ResMed AirFit F30i.
Not everyone starting CPAP will have a perfect experience from night one. Chances are, when you first start to wear a CPAP mask, your skin will need time to adapt to it, and any issues you experience will likely settle down. If they do persist or worsen, visit us in-store or book an online appointment, and our team will help you find a solution.
The important thing is to stay positive and stick with CPAP therapy, especially during the early stages. It can take a while to get used to wearing a mask. Time and patience are often the keys to success.
Sleep isn’t one-size-fits-all, neither is the way you improve it. We provide you the very best tools to help you get there.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Stay up to date with the latest products, news, offers and tips for Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Insomnia and overall good Sleep Health.