man sore from cpap equipment

Tips for Sore Spots and Skin Irritations - CPAP Mask Tactics

For a lot of new CPAP users, and even long-time users, it can be common to experience things like sore spots, irritation, and even facial rash when using CPAP equipment. Luckily, there are ways to prevent these inconveniences to ensure that you get the sleep you need. Follow these tips to get the most out of your CPAP therapy and avoid red marks and irritation.

How to Treat Sore Spots and Skin Irritations from CPAP

  1. Slight irritation can be treated with ointment and the daily cleaning of the CPAP mask and cushion. Make a habit of cleaning your mask and cushions every single day. Mask wipes can make short work of this daily task.
  2. Sometimes products such as cushion liners – as an example RemZzz’s – will help alleviate any irritation. There are two kinds of mask liners; nasal liner and full-face liners, and your selection will depend on the type of mask you use. Mask liners create a barrier between the mask and your skin. They also grip the mask so that it seals and fits better.
  3. If the irritation is on the bridge of your nose, try a nasal gel pad on the nose bridge before putting on the mask to avoid direct contact.
  4. If it seems that the issue is with the mask fit, you could buy a new mask with a different fit. There are many styles of masks that are minimal in design and have few touch points with your skin. Examples include the WispAirFit P10SwiftFXDreamWearBrevida and Amara View are a few of the best-selling masks with a minimal profile.
  5. Having a clean face will ensure that the fit of the mask is at its most optimal. Be sure you cleanse your face of oil and dirt before putting on your mask. Do not use any lotion or cream on your face before you put on the mask, because it can cause your mask to slide while you sleep. Even a small amount of friction or dirt containing bacteria, sliding on the skin of your face can cause sores or irritation.

Why CPAP Causes Sore Spots and Skin Irritations?

Major CPAP mask manufacturers like ResMed, Respironics and Fisher & Paykel attempt to design every mask they produce to be comfortable. Unfortunately, because everybody’s face is different, experts at The CPAP Shop know that some people can experience skin irritation and even blisters caused by the fit their masks. A CPAP mask can cause a rash. Other conditions like CPAP acne and CPAP dermatitis are not uncommon. To complicate the mask comfort problem, even well-fitting masks can cause sore spots and skin irritation.

The cushion, which is typically made of silicon and helps seal the mask can be problematic for some people, particularly for those whose skin is more sensitive than normal.

How to Overcome Skin Irritations & Sore Spots from CPAP?

It’s important to note that if you are experiencing moderate to severe facial rash from your CPAP mask, speak to your doctor or your CPAP equipment supplier.

CPAP full face masks are often attributed to causing sores on the nose ridge of CPAP patients.  Full Face mask nose sores can be from many things.

  • Improperly Positioned Mask — re-position the mask and properly tighten the CPAP headgear
  • Too Tight — loosen the CPAP headgear so the mask fits snuggly, but not too tight
  • Wrong Mask Size — order the next size up or down and try the new mask

The goal of CPAP therapy is a good night’s sleep. If a mask is causing irritation or soreness, achieving a good night’s sleep will be difficult. Do not be afraid to ask questions or switch masks if you have sores or irritated skin. Information is key and the more informed you are about your therapy, the better off you will be.

At the end of the day, if you have a CPAP mask that’s irritating your skin or causing soreness, replacing it is now easier than ever. With so many new masks and styles available, nobody should have with a mask that is not meeting your needs.

The CPAP Shop has a full line of masks and other sleep apnea equipment from all of the most trusted manufacturers. If you have any questions about any of this equipment, don’t hesitate to call us at 866-414-9700, or you can email us at

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes.