If your CPAP keeps leaving marks on your face and is preventing you from wanting to use it then there are a handful of things you can do to prevent these marks.
One frequent mistake that wearers of CPAP make is tightening their mask too much which results in the straps digging into the skin and leaving marks.
You should tighten your mask a little bit at a time until it feels snug but not too tight on the skin.
If you can’t get a tight seal then you may need to replace the cushioning and the nasal pillows on the mask to make sure it fits your face properly and it doesn’t leak.
If your mask isn’t too tight on your face but is still leaving marks or redness, then it could be down to irritation from the chaffing of the silicone.
Try using specialized CPAP mask lines to reduce this irritation.
Another way of preventing marks will be using a soft wrap of some sort to create a softer barrier between the straps and your skin, but making sure the seal doesn’t get removed from your skin otherwise, it will leak.
You can buy fleece or material wraps online, or you could always make your own out of spare materials and then add on some velcro so you can attach it to your mask.
Invest in some gel nasal pads to protect your nose from developing redness and soreness from the solid plastic on the mask.
These gel pads stick to the bridge of your nose and will create a barrier. You can find these in medical supply stores and they normally come in a pack.
You could always try using a specialized CPAP mask gel that’ll create a seal between your skin and the mask without it being too tight on your face. This will allow you to wear it a bit looser without the risk of the mask leaking.
There are actually cloth material CPAP masks out there if you want to try them out instead, they’re a bit more difficult to come across but they may just solve your problem completely without having to invest in additional facial accessories.
There are upgraded versions of the traditional CPAP masks which have reduced facial covering to prevent markings from being formed on your skin.
This is especially good for people who move around in their sleep a lot or who may sleep on their side which causes increased pressure of the material of the mask on your skin.
Do CPAP masks cause wrinkles?
Yes, unfortunately, there has been some research done that confirms that frequent wearing of CPAP masks can cause a decrease in the quality of facial skin.
This is due to your skin being tugged and pulled by the CPAP mask when you’re wearing it and when you’re putting it on and taking it off. When increased stress is put on the skin time and time again, it begins to wrinkle or cause fine lines.
Whilst the state of your health is more important than your appearance, we can sympathize with the fact that this mask can cause you to slightly wrinkle prematurely.
One way to decrease the risk of wrinkles when wearing a CPAP mask is by sleeping on your mask to prevent extra pulling on your skin from the mask and also finding a CPAP mask that doesn’t come into contact with much of your face to reduce the tugging action.
Make sure to apply CPAP gel every time you go to sleep and start creating an anti-wrinkle skincare regime that you can follow to help prevent extra fine lines and wrinkles from emerging.
Does CPAP change your face?
Yes, research studies have found that people who wear a sleep apnea mask or commonly known as a CPAP mask can experience subtle structural facial changes from their time of wearing one.
X-rays were conducted as part of the studies and confirmed that the facial structures of the participants of the study had changed.
There was a reduction in the distinction of their upper and lower jaws, which also affected some teeth positioning.
The people who conducted this research did confirm that these changes in facial structuring should not put people off from using a CPAP mask as they are not noticeably different from looking at someone but only confirmed when X-rays were performed.
However, people who are told to wear sleep apnea masks should be told about these possible side effects.
People who already struggle with jaw or dental problems should be made aware of these facial structural changes as they could negatively impact their health and wellbeing more so.
Damon Wiseley is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist.