If you have sleep apnea, the odds are good that your doctor prescribed you with CPAP (after all, we know they’re not good at offering alternatives). But while the CPAP can be very effective, it has a number of drawbacks, which can make people opt not to use the sleep apnea treatment.
Acne and other skin problems are common among people using CPAP. But they’re not inevitable. Here are some tips to help you try to avoid CPAP-related acne.
Optimal Skin Care
The truth is that not all of us practice good skin care habits. While it might not matter most of the time, when you add CPAP to the equation, it might make the difference. So the first thing you should do is talk to an aesthetician or dermatologist about what’s best for your skin. They can probably recommend some changes to your current routine that could reduce or eliminate your breakouts related to CPAP.
Ensure Optimal Mask Fit
At the same time you go to the dermatologist, make sure your mask is fitted properly. You don’t want it to be too tight (tight masks put pressure on your skin, causing irritation) or too loose (loose masks move around and cause irritation by rubbing the skin). The good news is that this will also help your CPAP to be more comfortable and more effective.
Try a Different Mask
If adjusting your mask and changing your skincare routine don’t fix your acne, then maybe it’s time to try a different mask. Some masks touch your face a lot, but others don’t touch much at all. A smaller mask can immediately reduce your breakouts.
Your face is also made up of different regions, some of which are more prone to breakouts than others. If you get a mask that doesn’t touch your breakout zones, you might see your acne go away completely.
But with CPAP, you’re not free to choose whichever mask you want. Your choice may be restricted by your anatomy and the severity of your sleep apnea. Still, explore your options and see if you can get one that’s better for you.
Soft Cloth for Less Irritation
Sometimes, it’s a specific material that is causing you to break out. If you notice that you’re only breaking out where one type of material touches your face (e.g. the silicone seal of the mask or the straps), you might be able to avoid acne by putting cloth between your skin and the material.
Some people sell these, but you can make your own by cutting up an old t-shirt.
Don’t forget to clean the cloth regularly, or the cloth could also contribute to acne.
Try an Oral Appliance
And there’s another option besides CPAP for treating your sleep apnea. Oral appliances can be used to treat sleep apnea, and they have no mask or straps that can irritate your skin. Switching to an oral appliance from CPAP can eliminate your acne, or, at least, put it back to where it was before you started CPAP.