How to Prevent Nose Sores from CPAP Mask Use

Nose sores from CPAP therapy can be prevented.

A common complaint from many CPAP users is nasal soreness, both inside and around the nose. While nose sores are a common side effect of CPAP therapy, they do not need to define your experience. Understanding why these nose sores occur is the first step to preventing them.

Can CPAP Cause Sores in the Nose? 

CPAP therapy can cause two types of nose sores: nasal passage dryness and exterior sores and red marks on the nose bridge or around the face. While these sores are most commonly caused by nasal masks, traditional full-face masks can also cause nose bridge irritation. 

Why Does My CPAP Burn My Nose?

Some nasal mask and nasal pillow users describe a burning sensation during therapy. The pressurized air from the CPAP machine plays a large role in nasal passage dryness. As this dryness continues over time, a burning sensation in the nostrils may occur.

How Do I Prevent Nose Sores from a CPAP Mask?

There are a number of ways to help prevent nose sores. Here are a few:

Use a Heated Humidifier

Heated humidifiers provide warm, moist air from your CPAP machine. Users experiencing dryness of the nostrils will most likely benefit from humidified CPAP therapy. Settings can be adjusted from your machine’s menu. Humidifiers may also help users with dry mouths or sore throats.

Use Nose Lubricant

Nasal lubricants can soothe nasal passages and keep them moist while using your CPAP equipment. Products like the Cann-Ease Nasal Moisturizer are hypoallergenic, allowing patients to insert the gel into their nose, providing moisture and preventing dryness.

Use Heating Tubing

Heated tubing work in concert with CPAP humidifiers. If the humidifier levels are too high, condensation forms in the tube. However, if lowering the humidifier level creates dry nose or mouth, then heated tubing may be needed. This provides a consistent temperature for the humidified air to travel through, providing users with the most comfort.

How Do I Prevent Nose Sores on the Bridge of my Nose?

In addition to nasal passage dryness, users may also experience red marks and skin irritation on the bridge of their nose. Here are some solutions.

Regularly Maintain Your Mask Cushions

Mask cushions should be wiped down or washed after every use. Dirty cushions frequently slide, causing leaks and making users tighten their headgear. Masks that are too tight will press into your face and cause irritations.

It is also a good habit to regularly replace mask cushions. Most cushions should be replaced every 90 days. Some, however, may require replacement sooner if damaged.

Use a Mask Liner

Mask liners, such as Snugz or Silent Nights, can help minimize nose sores and red marks by creating a comfortable contact point between the cushion and your skin. These liners are also useful if you experience frequent air leaks.  

Try Different CPAP Mask Types

Sometimes the fit of the mask is not for you. Try a different type of CPAP masks such as a nasal pillow mask or hybrid mask for a more comfortable fit.

Although nose irritation is a common occurrence with CPAP therapy, it can be avoided. Using a humidifier, nasal lubricant, or simply adhering to a regular cleaning schedule are only a few remedies that are available. For additional help or questions, contact our knowledgeable customer care team at 866-414-9700, or email them at

Chris Vasta


Chris Vasta

Over a 10+ year career at PHH Mortgage managing a $100 million portfolio, Chris Vasta learned the ins and outs of the business world. He learned how to establish business relationships, lead a multi-prong team, and implement strategies for long-term growth. In 2007, Vasta used that experience to transition his role into president of The CPAP Shop. Over his tenure, Vasta has been involved in everything from website design to warehouse layout. His hands-on approach with customers has evolved into an in-depth understanding of the challenges of beginning and adhering to sleep therapy. He often provides his insights on product…

15 Comments Leave new

  • Amanda Allen

    I have had my CPAP machine and my N30 mask for just over a year now since August 6th 2021 and just now have developed sores around the outside of my new ose where the mask lies..I don’t know of any cushion barriers that I can!!!

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Amanda, if you have had your mask for a year and haven’t replaced any of its parts, it is definitely recommended to do that as the parts are worn down now, and causing sores on your face. It is recommended to replace headgear every 6 months, and cushions every 3 months to ensure optimal performance. If you need assistance ordering, please call us at 866-414-9700. Thanks!

  • Denise Kersky

    I have the nasal pillows and have had my machine for years, never any problem with my nostrils over the years. Until recently. I’ve developed what looks like peeling in the nostrils. Dried up nostrils, looks like boogers but when I try to remove, its like peeling skin. I’ve tried Cann-Ease, it doesn’t help at all. I have to put EmuAid in my nostrils during the day because the peeling continues. I’ve changed my nasal pillows thinking that was the issue, but the peeling continues. I have heated humidifier so thats not the problem. What is causing this to suddenly happen after all these years? Thanks for your help!

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi Denise, have you tried using heating tubing along with your heated humidifier? This may help combat the dryness you are experiencing. You can find our inventory of tubing here. We do also recommend seeking advice from your doctor if the problem persists.

  • Lind

    The inner edge of my nose is sore. From the pillows on my cpac. What can i do to heal them and eliminate this problem

    • Chris Vasta

      Hi there, you may want to try a mask liner or nasal moisturizer to help prevent nose sores and irritations. We definitely recommend seeking advice from your doctor about medicine and a proper course of treatment. However, these options may help reduce skin irritation.

  • Debbie

    Why does my CPAP mask pinch my nose so that it is hard to breathe. What can I do to fix that? I have already changed to a larger mask and to a memory foam mask.

  • Stephen Arthy

    My nose, outside, keeps getting infected. I clean my mask every morning. I am now taking a second course of antibiotics. I have Type 2 diabetes. Can you suggest anything to stop these infections. Many thanks.

    • Andrew Rivenbark

      Hi Stephen, you may want to try a mask liner or nasal moisturizer to help prevent nose sores and irritations. We definitely recommend seeking advice from your doctor about medicine and a proper course of treatment. However, these options may help reduce skin irritation.

  • Kim Susan Hecker

    How do I reset my machine after I change/replace the filter kit? The machine still states I need to replace the filter kit system.

  • Spence

    Why does my sleep8 turn the small tube yellow?

    • Chris Vasta

      According to “To avoid any discoloration of your mask, it is important you wipe your mask with a clean cloth or CPAP wipe, prior to placing it in the Sleep8 Filter Bag. Certain oils from skin or cosmetics can discolor when making contact with ozone”. This discoloration is unsightly but it is not harmful.

  • Janis

    I need to run oxygen thru my CPAP, my concentrator has a humidifier bottle. My ResMed 10 has its own heated humidifier. Do I need to disconnect the humidifier bottle from my oxygen concentrator when attaching to the CPAP machine? Thank you.

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