CPAP Masks and Skin Irritation

Man cleaning skin irritation.

One of the most pesky and frequently overlooked issues that continuous CPAP use may present is the problem of irritated skin. Even if you have been sleeping like a baby through the night and waking up refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the day, if your CPAP machine is causing you to break out in an ugly rash you may be tempted to forgo therapy altogether – putting yourself at risk of serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke, and increased blood pressure. Rather than throw aside your mask as soon as a red mark appears, continue reading to discover what steps you can take in order to reduce irritation and guarantee that every aspect of your CPAP treatment is effective and worry-free.

Avoiding Red Marks

You may wake in the morning to find red marks around your nose and mouth. Most red marks are simply caused by an over-tightening of the CPAP mask straps. When you are tightening your mask straps, make sure that you are only tightening them enough to create a solid seal around your nose and mouth – your skin should not be indented by the rim of the mask. Try adjusting the mask in a clockwise fashion until the seal is planted firmly around your face. Cleaning your mask on a regular basis will also help to reduce the appearance of red marks on the face, seeing as cleaning the mask daily will help it to continue fitting as well as it did initially. Clean your mask pillow, nasal prongs, and nasal pillows with warm water and mild detergent on a daily basis to maintain a solid seal. If you clean your mask daily and it fits properly but you are still experiencing red marks upon waking, you may want to look into getting cushioned mask strap pads to cover the mask straps.

Avoiding Breakouts

There are three main reasons as to why you may be experiencing bumps, sores, or redness around your nose and mouth. Firstly, facial oils building up underneath the mask material could cause breakouts. If this is the case, you will want to make sue you are cleaning your face thoroughly before bedtime, and washing all of the facial oils off of your mask in the morning. If you continuously break out no matter how much washing you do, you may want to look into a nasal pillow mask. If you have been getting sores around your nose, chances are your mask straps are simply too tight. The pressure will first cause some soreness, which will eventually develop into a bruise. If left untreated, this bruise may develop into a sore. Make sure your straps are loose enough to prevent this from happening, while tight enough to maintain a solid seal around the edge of the mask. Finally, most mask linings are made of silicone – a material that is manufactured using many chemicals that men and women tend to be allergic to. These surface chemicals can be removed, however, and long soaks in warm, soapy water made seed up the removal process. For more information on CPAP masks and skin irritation, contact one of our trained representatives today.

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