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[Treatment] Scared 25y/o Newbie With needs Advice finding New Mask
tldr: help me find a mask that fits criteria A and B below because my insurance won't help!


I have been using my ResMed S8 AutoPap for about a month and it is going... poorly. I'm 25 and in graduate school and have a multitude of health issues, mostly stemming from a Lyme's disease infection that lead to long term reactive arthritis. I have a lot of chronic pain. Sleep and I are not friends. My rheumatologist sent me for a sleep study and the first one showed hypoapnea (not enough for a machine) but no REM, no delta sleep, and I was waking up an average of every 8 minutes. No wonder I'm so tired. The second study they wanted to do and MSLT for narcolepsy but found apnea, but I woke up so often (every 6 minutes) that I was unable to qualify under the medicare rules. Thus, no CPAP is covered with my very very bad student insurance.

My doctor helped me get a ResMed S8 AutoPap from the SleepApnea foundation with a Philips GoLife for Her Nasal Pillow mask. Unfortunately, it did not include a humidifier. I just found one online and it's on its way. I know this will help, but here are my issues:

1. I get painful acne breakouts under the straps across my cheeks. Any advice?
2. I rip the damn thing off at night because it hurts and freaks me out. I've posted a picture of the two places that it bothers me. I'm a broke grad student. I'm in deep deep medical debt. I CANNOT screw around with different masks. I need a new mask that:
A- the straps across the face don't come so close to my eye skin. I don't have super prominent cheek bones and these (the part I circled) feel like they are attacking that soft skin under my eyes no matter how I adjust.
B- The area under the nasal pillows comes down WAY in front of my lips and it makes me very claustrophobic. I have some PTSD issues from a very bad tumor surgery and anything on my face is already being problematic. Are there any masks that are less close to the lips?

I know this is helping, I can feel it. I want to find a mask that will let me get through the night! Help!
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I recently switched from the Philips Nuance to the Philips DreamWear, and I feel that it definitely relieves some of that claustrophobia from having my mouth covered by the hose & such. It's also quite hard to rip off, though I don't really have much experience with that particular issue. It comes with soft fabric pads that you may choose to apply to the soft tubing that runs down your temples and along your cheeks. Since the tubing runs that way, it doesn't really come near your eyes at all.

The only downside I've experienced is the loudness of the airflow compared to my old mask. I dealt with it for a week-- then I got some earplugs. No complaints anymore!

If you look around, you should be able to find places to order masks that have easy return policies within a week or so of trying.
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I think the P10s have the potential to solve your two problems. There are also cheek pads that you can get for P10 straps to further soften contact with face if need be.

Happy Pappin'
Never Give In, Never Give Up

Using Attachments to Post Images on Apnea Board 
Robysue's Beginner's Guide to Sleepyhead

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Welcome ebcaraway! I understand your financial problem because my son is also a "professional student ". He's off to grad school this fall and we are lucky enough (lol) to share his vast debt due to university(s).

Anyway, the P10's as stated above may work better. And you can wash the cloth part that covers the straps over the cheeks. Also the straps I believe are definitely smaller than the ones you posted the pic of.

Good luck and keep us posted!
APNEABOARD - A great place to be if you're a hosehead!! Rolleyes

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Hello, ebcaraway. Welcome to the Apnea Board forum.

If you try using a hose hanger, or even a homemade gadget that performs the same function, that should keep the hose on your current mask from touching your mouth. If you do a web search for CPAP hose hanger, you can see the kind of set-up I'm talking about.

As far as the acne goes, I probably would recommend putting some some kind of disposable/washable cloth liner between the mask straps and your face. Some people cut liners out of old t-shirts. If a person's skin is acne-prone, it's just a problem having the CPAP mask and headgear touching your skin for several hours each night.

I am in my mid-50s and hadn't had any problems with acne for over 20 years, but since I started using CPAP last winter, I have had to start using acne-control skincare products again. I started off just using regular products and cleansing very well, but I still developed acne.

I use a facial wash called Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Foam Wash now, as well as a gel that promotes exfoliation. Ones that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid are good. If it's a product that contains any petroleum derivatives, try to keep it away from the plastic parts of your mask.

It's good to use a moisturizer suitable for your skin type, too. Or you can use pure oils like avocado oil or grapeseed oil. If you get those from the cooking oil section of a grocery store, they usually cost lots less.

This extra skin care stuff is hard for me to fit into my budget, but acne from CPAP can become a real problem because you keep wearing the mask that touches your face in the same place every night, so it can be hard to get it to clear up.

Masks - if you are wanting to get a different one, I recently switched to the AirFit P10 For Her nasal pillows and really like them. The headgear feels very minimal to me, but it does touch the same part of your face where you're having the acne problem now.

The hose on the P10s is super light, and I can adjust it so that it doesn't touch my mouth. I was worried that I would get tangled in the hose, but so far I haven't. I am still looking into some way to hang the hose overhead, though, because there is drag on the nasal pillows when I move around in my sleep and it's beginning to cause a tender spot on the entrance to one nostril.

The AirFit P10s come in a regular and "For Her" version. The "For Her" version's headgear is smaller and it comes with nasal pillows sizes XS, S, & M.

It's great that your doctor helped you to get a CPAP machine. The therapy is very beneficial for people with sleep-disordered breathing.

I'm glad you found this forum. This group is very supportive and helpful.
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Hi ebcaraway,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for more responses to your post and I wish you good luck with your CPAP therapy and finding a mask.
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My vote goes to the Dreamwear mask. I have tried about every mask out there. I liked this one the best. I bought 3 of them from Amazon. The cushions are almost half the mask price, so I figured I would buy spare masks instead of new cushions and headgear separate. They come with 4 different size cushions. THey cost about $75. The hose comes out the top, which I like better. I never have any leak problems anymore.
Finding the right mask is the hardest and most personal thing about adjusting to Cpap. I just did like everyone on this forum said and kept trying a different one.
I have probably spent $900 or more on masks in my first 6 months.
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