Does CPAP Mask Cause Acne? Prevention and Remedies

Does CPAP Mask Cause Acne?

You may think that you would no longer bother about acne and that you have passed the age of having acne. And then after using your CPAP mask, you are left with the question, does CPAP mask cause acne? This is because since you started using CPAP to treat sleep apnea, you noticed that your skin acne is around again. Sometimes, you can notice sore spots, redness, and pimples on your skin. This usually happens for different reasons.

One of the reasons why you feel these sore in your skin can be because of the pressure the CPAP makes on your face. And the CPAP device will work perfectly when it touches your skin.

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woman on full face cpap mask

You should note that your CPAP mask is not made with natural products. So, this will explain to the reactions that your skin makes to its use. The CPAP is made with plastic so that it can last long. It is also made this way to ease cleaning and sanitizing. The material can make some people with sensitive skin to have broken out, especially in the parts where it touches the skin.

CPAP also comes with cleansers that help clean the accessories that come with CPAP; all these cleansers are very gentle. Remember that it is the right step to treat your sleep apnea, and the best you can do is to increase your comfort by addressing your skin acne.

What Causes CPAP Mask Skin Irritation?

Manufacturers of the CPAP mask do all within their means to make masks that are very convenient with the skin of a wide range of users. But the fact remains that everyone is different and can hardly find a fit for every skin out there.

  • The cushions for CPAP are made from silicone, and this is done for the comfort that it gives to the skin. But this can also lead to irritations for persons who have silicone allergy. When your CPAP mask is old, it begins to break down and become abrasive and not comfortable to use.
  • The CPAP mask can be dirty after use and then begin to collect dust, which can clog your skin pores in your face. This can also collect bacteria oil over time, and this leads to acne.
Woman with acne on the cheek.
Woman with Acne on the cheek.
  • You may be wearing your CPAP mask too tight on your face, and this can lead to bruises, which can affect your skin profile.
  • The size of your CPAP mask may be too small, and then you need to change sizes since the current one will give you some level of discomfort.
  • Also, your skin can become oily, and this can make your CPAP mask to be oily and slide during sleep.
  • Your CPAP nasal pillow could also be the wrong size. And the nasal pillow can be placed too far in your nose.
  • The air that passes through the CPAP can be too dry, and this can further lead to irritation.

Ways to prevent CPAP mask Skin Irritation

If you have experienced any irritation due to the use of CPAP masks, you can follow any of these methods to prevent it and stay acne-free; these methods are several things you can do from the comfort of your home to rid your face of acne.

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woman rubbing moisturizer on face
woman rubbing moisturizer on face
  1. Get a properly fitted CPAP mask. You can ensure you get a mask that fits your face directly by using sizing templates online for references. Using this template can also help you to have an alternate mask.
  2. Reduce the tightness of your CPAP headgear. The CPAP mask should sit on your face gently and not be tightened in any way.
  3. Please clean up your CPAP mask regularly; you can use wipes or soap and water to eliminate pathogens. You could also purchase the Lumin CPAP cleaner where you can conveniently clean your CPAP with it.
  4. Your nasal pillows should not be placed too far into your nose. Just sitting at the edge of the nose is okay.
  5. If you notice that while using the CPAP mask, your nose is always getting dry, you should consider using a humidifier to add moisture for the air that passes through the CPAP tube. You can prevent your CPAP from raining out on you by putting it lower than your head when you sleep. You may also want to adjust the room temperature to be much warmer, or you adjust the humidifier to be warm.

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woman sleeping with cpap mask

If you notice that you have done everything listed above and still notice irritations from using the CPAP, then it is likely that you are allergic to using CPAP; you should stop using the CPAP machine and look for the ones that use gel instead of silicone. You can also get any of the supplies listed below.

Best CPAP Supplies that can help reduce irritation

The ResMed Gecko Nasal Pad is a gel pad that is usually placed across the nasal bridge and is meant to reduce skin irritation associated with using the CPAP. This nasal pad will also help you to reduce the number of air leaks.

CPAPgel is made to form a thin seal around the CPAP mask; this will prevent air leakage. This gel will smoothen dry skin, which can reduce the skin irritation that you experience. This gel will also prevent the oil that comes from your skin from disrupting the cushion of your CPAP mask, and it will allow it to last longer. CPAPgel is made from aloe vera and is very much soothing to your skin.

Many CPAP mask liners will suit your full face masks and your nasal masks. The mask liners will create a comfortable barrier that will prevent air from leaking to reduce red marks. Some of these liners can be used again.

Is CPAP giving you acne?

woman thinking
woman sleeping with cpap mask

If you have experienced sleep apnea, then the chances are your doctors have recommended a CPAP mask to help you sleep. Although it can be quite effective, yet it has some disadvantages. But you can stop using the device altogether and get an oral device instead.

These oral appliances do not have masks that can cause skin irritation. Using these oral devices can eliminate the acne on your face and get it back to being smooth, after which you can begin your CPAP again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the bad side-effects of using the CPAP machine?

Using the CPAP machine can give you aerophagia, discomfort, and skin irritations. You can also have a dry nose or nose bleeds. Some persons complain of infections while using the CPAP mask.

How do I stop my CPAP mask from irritating?

To get the best out of your CPAP mask, ensure that your skin and the mask are clean. It would help if you washed your face with a gentle cleanser before you use the mask. You should also ensure that your skin does not have anything that will cause friction.

Can using the CPAP mask cause coughing?

There are reported cases of an improving inflammation due to CPAP use, and some other reports have it that using CPAP can lead to irritation of the lungs and the airways, which can lead to cough or an infection in the airways.

Can using CPAP weaken the lungs?

No. But what is certain is that a CPAP device that is not properly cleaned and maintained can cause a sinus infection, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

Can you be allergic to a CPAP mask?

Yes. Usually, an allergic reaction to a CPAP mask will most likely occur the same night it is used. And what is usually referred to as an allergic reaction is caused lack of proper cleaning and maintenance of the CPAP mask.

Mary is the Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Health Parrots. She brings her years of clinical and healthcare technology experience to help consistently create high quality, concise and engaging content and products that uphold the highest medical integrity. She is an M.D. recipient from Baylor College of Medicine and completed her residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, TX. After years of clinical practice, Dr. Le transitioned from clinical medicine to healthcare technology through her work at Epocrates, where she developed clinical news products and disease and drug content. With her wealth of experience, She has also helped create an EHR, secure messaging products, and clinical decision support tools for healthcare systems.


  1. Though you may be able to purchase some CPAP machines from a supplier or retailer at a cheaper price than buying directly from the manufacturer, keep in mind that you still need a prescription from your doctor.


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