CPAP: Skin Irritation

FAQ Skin Irritation Advice
CPAP mask cushions are made from silicone which is a hypoallergenic material used in medical appliances and devices. True allergic reactions to silicone are extremely rare. In fact, skin irritation, sores (pressure sores) and blisters are more commonly caused by other associated factors rather than the silicone material itself.

Possible causes of skin irritation

  • Headgear strap adjustment too loose or too tight
  • A poorly fitting mask (either unsuited style or incorrect mask size)
  • Worn out mask
  • Dirty mask - Silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from your skin. Extended contact with these contaminants during the night may irritate the skin.

If you are experiencing skin irritation, try one of the following suggested solutions

  • Readjust your headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal
  • Consult your mask user guide or quick-fitting guide, alternatively consult your CPAP therapist for a mask fitting. A different style of mask may provide a better fit
  • Inspect mask cushion and frame for wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks. Replace either the mask or parts that are worn out
  • Wash mask daily according to user guide instructions, with a product that you would use to wash your face. Use mild soap and warm water (30°C/86°F)
  • Wash face before bed (suggested - pH neutral) to remove excess facial oils
  • Avoid using facial lotions and creams where your mask comes into contact with your face, as these products may interfere with mask seal and potentially degrade the quality of the cushion over time.

Nasal irritation
Constant air flow, especially at high treatment pressures, can lead to dryness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds.

Humidifiers provide relief from nasal irritation and dryness by adding warmth and moisture to the air delivered by the CPAP or bilevel system.

Note: If skin irritation problems worsen or persist then consult with your physician.