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Redness and skin discomfort

What could be causing redness and/or skin discomfort, and how do I fix it?

When you first start treatment it's not uncommon to get some skin discomfort and redness from your mask. Here are the most common causes, and their possible solutions:


Your mask may be too tight

  • Try to adjust your mask with the least amount of headgear tension (this may be challenging at first).
  • Try to adjust your headgear straps evenly. If the headgear is tightened a lot more on one side than the other, the cushion could twist and crease, causing leak. It's common for people to make the mistake of keeping on tightening the mask to solve this problem.
  • Learn the correct fitting procedure outlined in your user guide. This gives you the best chance of a good fit with the least amount of force.
  • Practicing really does help because it can take some time to learn the fitting technique. Some people find practicing in front of a mirror helpful. You will learn where the adjustment points on the mask are and how they feel, so when you need to make adjustments in the dark you will know what to feel for.

Your skin might be feeling sensitive

  • If your skin is feeling sensitive and your face is getting sore, you may find it helps to alternate between two different types of masks. Choose a mask that seals in a slightly different way on your face or on different parts of your face. For example, some masks seal lower on the bridge of the nose.
  • Cleaning and maintaining your mask is important. Rinse your mask well after you clean the cushion, so that no irritating residue is left on it.
  • When you are new to treatment and your skin is new to wearing a mask, it can take some time to adapt to the physical sensation of the mask.

General Tips

  • A Gecko nasal pad, worn under your mask, can help to protect the bridge of your nose. There are other similar products on the market too. Your clinician will be able to guide you.
  • Many masks have comfort sleeves that wrap around the headgear straps and can reduce facial marking.
  • ResMed has special CPAP mask wipes for cleaning facial oils from the mask cushion.
  • If you wear face cream at night, apply it early so it's absorbed into your skin before you put your mask on. Creams can cause the mask to slip around your face if the creams are not absorbed properly.
  • Your mask could be pushing into your face because of your sleeping position or bed pillow. Try to experiment, and find a sleeping position that is comfortable.
  • It may be worthwhile to check your mask size and type with your clinician.

These symptoms will settle down in time. If they persist or get worse, seek advice from your clinician.


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