How do I stop CPAP red marks on my face?

Red marks from CPAP mask blog

Last updated on January 30th, 2023 at 05:03 pm

How to treat CPAP dermatitis

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP therapy) is life-changing for people with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). 

One of the most common discomforts from CPAP is skin irritation and red marks, which can look like a rash from your CPAP mask. This is also known as CPAP dermatitis; here’s how you can solve it.

How do I stop CPAP marks on my face?

Remove bacteria

A common cause of skin irritation is bacteria buildup. 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 it from irritating your skin, causing 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 remain 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 of even the most thorough cleaning.

If bacteria is causing red marks from your CPAP mask, SoClean should immediately 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 theirs, 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. 

Related page: What is the best way to clean my CPAP machine?

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 is more likely to be the problem. Many masks use silicone. However, we offer a range that does not.

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

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 clever liners protect against red marks and silicone allergies, but they also: 

  • Prevent mask air leaks and air leak noise.
  • Allow you to use nighttime 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 £7.49, so you can quickly decide if the liners work for you – find yours here

Wear the correct CPAP mask

An ill-fitting CPAP mask can cause red marks. If you are someone who experiences CPAP mask leaks, you might pull too tightly on your mask straps to prevent the leaks.

If your mask is not fitting correctly and tightly adjusted, it could cause redness and irritation.

One option is to loosen the mask, as it can sometimes allow the mask space to adjust to suit. 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.

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

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

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 masks with a FitPack; these come with all the different cushion sizes – guaranteeing you a comfortable fit!

You could also try a completely different mask material. 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 rather than concentrate in one or two spots, reducing redness and irritation.

Their newest mask is the Ascend Full Face. It has a “Guaranteed Fit“, meaning you can return it for a refund if it is not suitable within 28 days. 

If your current mask isn’t fitting well, the Ascend Full Face or Ascend Nasal Mask are risk-free options. 

Intus Healthcare Mask-Fit Insurance

We offer Mask-Fit Insurance on most of our CPAP masks at a small 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.

Helpful articles:

How to choose a CPAP mask

CPAP masks for side sleepers

9 Common CPAP Machine Side Effects & How To Fix Them

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

Waking up with red marks and discomfort from your CPAP mask can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Getting rid of these marks will help to improve your CPAP therapy comfort and effectiveness.

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

Author Danielle Myatt