CPAP Discomfort & Irritation: Causes & Solutions
Whether you’re a new or long-time CPAP user, it’s not uncommon to experience CPAP mask irritation under the nose or even inside of it. Luckily, there are simple solutions to prevent this type of CPAP discomfort and ensure you’re getting the good night’s sleep you need (and deserve!).
CPAP Nose Sore Causes
CPAP therapy can typically cause two types of irritation: nasal passage dryness and exterior sores on the nose bridge or around the face. While some of these are nasal mask or CPAP nasal pillow problems, they are also commonly reported with traditional full-face masks. This is usually due to the placement of the masks and the way they rest on the face. However, several other factors can play a role in CPAP discomfort and irritation, including:
- Pressurized Air - Some users describe a burning sensation during therapy. This is due to the pressurized air and its unfamiliarity to the nasal passages. As dryness continues over time, the burning sensation in the nostrils may appear. Read up on our desensitization tips to learn how to eliminate any CPAP discomfort you may be experiencing.
- Wrong Headgear Tension - If your mask is too tight, it may cause pressure sores. When the straps are pulled too tight, it can cause the mask to dig into your skin all night. However, if the mask is not tight enough, it will shift throughout the night, resulting in irritation as it rubs against the skin. If this occurs, have your sleep specialist help you find the right tension and fit the mask appropriately to your face. Learn more about choosing the right CPAP mask for your needs in one of our recent blogs.
Dirty Accessories - During sleep, skin oils and dirt tend to build up on the CPAP mask’s surface. If not washed away regularly, it can cause the skin to become irritated or even break out.
- Old Mask - Over time, the cushions of your CPAP mask will break down and cause contact between your skin and the harsh edges of the device. Read up on how often you should replace your CPAP parts.
CPAP Nose Sore Solutions
Slight irritation is easily treated with nose lubricants and the daily cleansing of your mask and cushion. Listed below are some excellent ways to prevent CPAP discomfort and irritation from occurring.
- Purchase a properly fitting mask by using available sizing templates online to reference which size you need. It is also helpful to keep an alternate mask handy that you can switch to if need be.
- Loosen your headgear. Your mask should just gently sit on your face; it shouldn’t be tightened down to the point of leaving heavy imprints.
- Regularly clean your mask with soap and water or CPAP wipes to get rid of any infectious pathogens. Read up on our recommended cleaning method for your CPAP machine and accessories.
- Avoid placing your nasal pillows too far inside your nostrils. Instead, they should sit just at the edge of your nose.
- If your mouth and nostrils are constantly drying out, try switching to a CPAP with a humidifier. This will add moisture to the air as it’s passing through the CPAP tubing.
- Prevent CPAP rainout by placing your machine lower than your head when you sleep. Also, try adjusting your bedroom temperature to be warmer or adjust the humidifier settings to be warmer. You can also cover the tube with your blanket to keep the air warm.
- Replace supplies regularly according to their replacement schedule.
- If your mask is causing an allergic reaction, stop using it immediately and look into alternative options that use gel instead of silicone or vice versa.
Finally, there are also various covers/liners available for both full face masks and nasal masks. The soft cloth material helps create a comfortable barrier to prevent any air leaks, red marks, soreness and reduce chafing & overall CPAP discomfort.
If you’re experiencing severe CPAP nose sores or CPAP discomfort, reach out to us immediately! We can help you find the best solution according to your specific needs. After all, your health, happiness, and sleep are our number one priority!