How do I stop CPAP red marks on my face?

CPAP mask red marks | Intus Healthcare

Fact Checked

Intus Healthcare’s writers, customer service team, and sleep experts review and ensure this information is accurate.

Last updated on December 21st, 2023 at 02:48 pm

How to treat CPAP dermatitis

CPAP therapy can be life-changing for people with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. However, one of the most common discomforts of wearing a CPAP mask is skin irritation, red marks and lines, which can look like a rash. This is also known as CPAP dermatitis, and here’s how you can solve it.

How do I stop CPAP marks on my face?

Stopping CPAP red marks | Intus Healthcare

Remove bacteria

A common cause of skin irritation is bacteria build-up. The silicone in your CPAP mask cushion gradually gets worn away by skin oils, creating microscopic pockets on the cushion surface where bacteria can develop.

If you find that the red marks start occurring after a few weeks of using your mask, bacteria is a likely cause. Cleaning your mask daily is essential to help to remove the bacteria and prevent skin irritation which can result in a skin rash.

However, while this will remove the majority of dirt and bacteria, some will remain in the pockets, particularly as the mask gets older and the pockets increase. Even a visibly clean mask can be home to thousands of bacteria, and the red marks can still appear despite routine cleaning.

The SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitiser

The only way to kill bacteria entirely is to sanitise the equipment using a device such as the SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitiser. The device kills 99% of bacteria, even those tucked away out of reach, after even the most thorough cleaning.

If the build-up of bacteria is the cause of red marks from your CPAP mask, it is advised to use SoClean to reduce the rash.

The SoClean is not a cheap fix. However, we offer the UK’s lowest price and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can see if it solves your problem.

Less than 1% of customers have returned their SoClean devices, so the chances of finding it beneficial are very high. 

Regularly sanitising your CPAP mask can prevent wear and tear, so you don’t have to replace your CPAP mask parts so often. Another option to keep your mask clean is using CPAP mask wipes; we offer these in citrus and unscented, which are suitable for sensitive skin.

CPAP Mask Wipes | Intus Healthcare

RemZzzs CPAP Mask Liners

RemZzzs mask liners are soft cotton liners that sit between your mask and face, creating a barrier that prevents direct contact with the silicone. These are one of our most popular CPAP accessories

Not only do these liners protect against red marks and silicone allergies, but they also: 

  • Prevent mask air leaks and air leak noise.
  • Allow you to use night-time skin care products.
  • Prevent CPAP acne and CPAP dermatitis.
  • Assist in holding your mask in the correct position throughout the night.

 A sample pack costs just £8.99, so you can quickly decide if the liners work for you.

How to use RemZzzs CPAP Mask Liners | Intus Healthcare

Choose the correct mask type and size

If you cannot get a good fit, you can try a different style of mask that avoids the area where you are experiencing fitting problems. 

For example, certain full-face masks often leak and cause skin damage around the nasal bridge. An under-nose mask, such as the ResMed AirFit F30 full-face mask, can avoid this problem area entirely.

To find the best mask size, scroll down the product page to the downloads tab and download the sizing guide

Alternatively, choose one of our CPAP mask FitPacks; these come with all the different cushion sizes – guaranteeing you a comfortable fit!

Try a new mask material

You could also try a completely different mask material to prevent red marks. Sleepnet AirGel masks use an incredibly pliable and comfortable gel in the cushion. These masks are designed to let the mask spread the pressure more evenly across your face, reducing redness and irritation.

Their newest mask is the Ascend full face and Ascend nasal mask. It has a “Guaranteed Fit“, meaning you can return it for a refund within 28 days if it is unsuitable.

If your current mask isn’t fitting well, the Ascend range is a risk-free option. 

Intus Healthcare Mask-Fit Insurance

We offer Mask-Fit Insurance on most of our CPAP masks at an additional cost, giving you 28 days to get used to it or your money back. This is unique to Intus Healthcare and can make finding the best CPAP supplies easier.

Try a CPAP pillow

Adding a pillow designed for your therapy can help prevent the risk of your mask digging into your face as you sleep.

The pillow features unique cut-outs on the sides, which reduce the risk of the mask being moved while you are sleeping. Your mask can comfortably sit in the cut-outs, eliminating facial pressure and sores where the mask seal comes into contact with the skin.

Try our contour CPAP pillow with your therapy.

Comfort accessories to solve CPAP red marks

Why does my CPAP mask give me a rash?

Do you have a Silicone allergy? 

CPAP dermatitis caused by bacteria in your mask tends to develop over time. If your red marks appeared within the first one or two uses of a new mask, a silicone allergy might likely be the problem. Many masks use silicone; however, we also offer a range of masks that do not.

The SleepWeaver range of masks are made from soft cloth fabric, making them the most skin-friendly masks on the market.

Pulling too tightly on your mask

A poor-fitting CPAP mask can cause red marks. If you experience CPAP mask leaks, you might pull too tightly on your mask straps to prevent the leaks.

If you wake up with red lines on your ears, nose, cheeks, or the sides of your face, you may need to adjust the fit of your mask. If your mask is not fitting correctly and is too tight, it could dig into your skin, causing redness. One option is to loosen the mask slightly, as this can sometimes allow the mask to fit more securely against the face. We recommend all of our customers adjust their masks while lying down, as gravity changes the shape of your face. A good fit upright does not always mean a good fit lying down.

We’re here to help make your CPAP Therapy more comfortable 

Waking up with red marks and discomfort from your mask can be embarrassing and make continuing with therapy difficult. Getting rid of these marks and lines will help to improve the comfort and effectiveness of your therapy.

If none of the above solves the problem for you, please contact us with more information; we are happy to help.

Helpful articles:

How to choose a CPAP mask

CPAP masks for side sleepers

9 Common CPAP Machine Side Effects & How To Fix Them