How To Prevent Nose Sores From CPAP Mask

Have you suffered from soreness inside or around your nose? It is a common side effect of CPAP therapy. In this article, we will explore what the causes are of this type of pain and look at how to prevent nose sores from CPAP mask use.

Two Types of Nasal Sores

Before we dig into what may be the cause of your nose sores, we have to understand what they are. As it turns out, there are two different types of nose sores that can result from CPAP therapy.

They are nasal passage dryness and exterior sores and red marks that appear on the bridge of the nose or around the face. Typically, nasal masks are the main culprit, which makes sense when you look at their design and function. However, some CPAP users can develop nose sores from using full face masks as well.

Can CPAP Cause Sores In Nose?

Can CPAP Cause Sores In Nose

Yes, CPAP therapy can cause nose sores, but in addition to that, the mask can create a burning sensation within the nasal passage. Here is how that happens:

If you are a nasal mask or nasal pillow user, you will be familiar with the way the pressurized air flows into your nose. This pressurized air can cause your nasal passage to dry out. with this dryness remaining for some time, the pressurized air flowing over it will start to irritate the surface of the dry skin. This irritation results in an uncomfortable burning sensation in the nostrils.

Some Causes of Nose Sores From CPAP Mask Use

Here is a list of several possible reasons why your CPAP mask is causing nose sores.

Some Causes of Nose Sores From CPAP Mask Use

Rough Cushion

If you have sensitive skin, and are prone to bruising, wearing a CPAP mask may result in red marks on your nose and face. You may also experience the CPAP mask causing sores on nose and inside your nose. This is why you should always purchase your CPAP therapy equipment and accessories from a reputable supplier.


CPAP masks are typically made from gel or silicone material. Although it is rare, some people have allergic reactions to silicone. Depending on the age of your apparatus, this may be causing the problem as older machines have masks that are made of latex. Latex allergies are quite common.

Mask Too Tight

As important as it is to have a proper fit, sometimes it is easy to tighten the CPAP mask a little too much. A tight mask can result in sores such as blisters and pressure ulcers. Bruising is also common. If you find that you have to tighten your mask more than usual, it may be a sign that your mask or the straps that hold it in place need replacement.

Mask Too Big

Wearing a mask that is too big may rub against the skin on your nose which can result in a bruise that could develop into a blister. This will be painful and cause you to find wearing the mask uncomfortable for a while until the sores heal properly.

Mask Is Dirty

How often do you clean your CPAP mask? The majority of users do not clean their masks at all. This can lead to an infection or one of many other problems resulting from the bacteria growth on the mask. Wearing a dirty mask is unhealthy for many different reasons.

Face Not Washed

Oils on your skin and dirt can build up and create many issues with a CPAP mask. The most common being air leaks that can happen as the face mask slides down your face. The rubbing can form a variety of sores on your face and in your nose.

Small Headgear

Even if you are using the correct size mask, the headgear could be too small. This may result in the mask pushing into your nose and rubbing the sensitive skin inside your nostrils. This rubbing can develop into sores.

Wrong Type of Mask

If you find that using either a nasal pillow or nose mask is causing you to develop nose sores, maybe switching to a full face mask will solve the problem. There are also nose masks and nasal pillows that have different designs. Changing the type of mask you use could be the solution to your problem.

Here’s How To Prevent Nose Sores From CPAP Mask Use

There are several ways to reduce the development of nose sores during CPAP therapy. Here is a list of the most common tricks employed by CPAP users.

heated tubing

nose lubricant

Heated Humidifier

A heated humidifier will provide warm, moist air from your CPAP machine. If drying of nasal passages is a problem you suffer from, breathing in the moist air will prevent dryness. Your CPAP machine should have a setting for humidified air and this will also help you with a dry mouth or sore throat symptoms.

Nose Lubricant

Nasal lubricants are effective in that they can soothe the nasal passages and help them to stay moist during CPAP therapy. If you choose to go this route, be sure to use a lubricant that is hypoallergenic as that will permit you to insert the gel directly into your nose.

Heated Tubing

Heated tubing works with CPAP humidifiers. You will have to work at determining the correct humidity level to use as high humidity can cause the tubes to form condensation and low humidity will leave you with a dry nose or mouth. Heated tubing will create a consistent temperature that will be comfortable in the long run.

More Tips On How To Prevent Nose Sores From CPAP Mask Use

There are a few more things you can do to prevent nose sores from developing from CPAP therapy. They include:

More Tips On How To Prevent Nose Sores From CPAP Mask Use

Maintain The Mask Cushions

You may or may not have seen it in your owner’s manual, but wiping or washing the mask cushions after each use is recommended. This is because dirty cushions tend to slide out of position and when they do, they cause air leaks. It also makes many users tighten the headgear which can lead to various problems - including the development of sores and bruises. It is also wise to replace mask cushions every three months. Some may require replacement sooner.

Try Using A Mask Liner

There are mask liners available for purchase. These are used to create a comfy contact point between the mask cushion and your face. The liners will not only help prevent nose sores and red marks on your face, but they can also assist in filling air leaks.

Switch Mask Type

Another answer on how to prevent nose sores from CPAP mask use is to change masks. Maybe the one you have been using just doesn’t fit right or has a design feature to it that results in rubbing or irritation of some kind. There are many different styles to choose from and maybe the one you have now isn’t the perfect choice for you.

Final Thoughts

When you need to know how to prevent nose sores from CPAP mask use, you have to first determine what may be causing the issue. Once you can determine without a doubt what is creating the conditions where your nose and face are developing sores, you can then explore some of the potential solutions. The idea here is that you should not expect CPAP therapy to be an exercise that is uncomfortable to do. This is especially true if the nose and face sores make it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. It should be a comfort to know that solutions are available to remedy the situation so that you can rest easy.