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[Equipment] Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
#1
Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Hey All - I've had central sleep apnea for 15 years and often see pressures in the high 20s many times each night when my machine is practically breathing for me. Because of the high pressures I need a really tight seal. Make sense? I have to alternate between several masks because after wearing any one of them for more than a few days I start to break out with little whiteheads where the mask touches nostrils (in the case of one of my nasal masks) or on the bridge of my nose (in the case of my full face mask) and it's getting worse the older I get. I'm 59. In fact, for the first 10 years I never had this problem and used the same nasal mask without issue. Anyway, when I fit the masks before sleep they don't hurt and I adjust them as lightly as possible so I still get a good seal. By no means are they cutting in to my face or unusually uncomfortable or I would not be able to sleep. I often sleep 10 hours and get my best sleep in the last few hours. 

I'm wondering if "pressure breakouts" or "minor facial damage" are common with other people who wear CPAP masks. I probably have tried 15 masks and returned half of them so the ones I have are the good ones! I have a short beard so that probably doesn't help but it's always my nose or forehead that are breaking out or get the rashes that get worse unless I change masks so that area is allowed to heal. 

Any thoughts or similar problems or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have heart failure and it's horrible if I don't get a great seal with my CPAP. It probably saved my life!

Thank you all and be safe!

Rick
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#2
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
I experience this with some masks. But I have very sensitive skin, and some allergies.

I do rotate masks. When I just can't stand the mask anymore, I switch to a different one that pushes on different places. It's been good, because it allows the skin to heal (on a rotational basis).

Sometimes I can only cope with a mask for a few days... those masks I don't put into the rotation. But every now and then I revisit them.

Brevida was a mask that I couldn't even last one night in, because it made my skin sting so badly. I don't know what changed, but my skin tolerates it well now. The tip of my nose remains sensitive/sore, but at least my skin doesn't sting like it used to.

P10 makes the skin just inside my nostrils peel. The dead skin ends up looking like a bugger, so when I go out I make sure to check and remove the dead skin.

Wisp irritates the top of my nose. I can't handle that for more than a week.

Some have recommended using a cloth (or even disposable) liner, to be between your skin and whichever parts of the masks that touch your skin. I think that would help. But the couple times I've tried it, I haven't felt it gives a good seal, and also I've felt claustrophobic (which doesn't make sense, but I didn't bother to work through that).
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#3
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Rick, it might be contact dermatitis or an allergic response to something in the mask/cushion materials.  You might need to consult a dermatologist, or at least a competent family physician.  It might be all too much, but have you thought of strips of terrycloth between your mask and your skin?

I am extremely fortunate to have had nothing similar happen, but I did have a sore initially.  My therapist suggested Barriere Cream, or something like it that your pharmacist would have handy once she understands the nature of your problem.
Serial Tapist
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#4
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Is it possible Remzzzs or Pad A Cheek Supplier #31 mask liners may be of help?
Dave

OSCAR
Standard OSCAR Chart Order
Mask Primer
Dealing With A DME
Soft Cervical Collar Wiki
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#5
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Are you reacting to the mask or cleaning residue? You need to clean your mask, but it must be with a skin safe product.

I'm not saying that's the problem, but it might be.
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#6
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Thanks All for your suggestions. I've been working with one of the larger online suppliers and they never run out of things for me to buy LOL! They've credited me when things haven't worked out. I've never had particularly sensitive skin. The "breakouts" are in high pressure areas. I used to wake up because the area between my nostrils was hurting and then I started using 5% lidocane lotion on it before bed. Now the pain is gone and the blistering is the next challenge!

I'm half tempted to heat the plastic frame with a heat shrink gun (like a very hot hair dryer) and see if I can adjust the plastic frame to fit me better. I am a medium sized man with a wider than average nose bridge. I'll just keep trying different masks and getting refunds on the ones that don't fit. There are some other threads that might have related info.

One thing for sure - I feel a heck of a lot better when I can sleep through the night and not be awakened by some issue related to a CPAP mask.

Best to all of you in health and life!

Rick
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#7
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
Just to be contrary, I'll mention my therapy pressures. I know my pressures are no longer listed, as the ResMed AirCurve 10 ASV I was using is effectively retired. Too long a story and off-topic so enough said there. I was running 8-13 EPAP and 3-15 PS. My pressures were a bit higher than what is showing on your left panel of info. I didn't have to tighten my F20 to the very - extreme tight range. I would call my tightness snug but no more. Initially I did go too tight and I decided it was better to focus on moderately tight and better comfort. Even so, my leaks were minimal after some adjusting here and there.

Do keep trying masks to get your best overall fit. Good luck to ya.

Nothing beats a sarcastic dog talking apnea. Coffee
Dave

OSCAR
Standard OSCAR Chart Order
Mask Primer
Dealing With A DME
Soft Cervical Collar Wiki
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#8
RE: Facial breakouts and blisters from masks
I had a couple of face mask contact issues when I first started CPAP Therapy. It's not normal to have a mask on when you sleep, and my face was telling me so. 

After a couple of weeks, my face adapted. No more red and/or pressure marks.  Cool
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