Contact Pressure Sores: 3 Reasons Why You Get Them and What You Can Do

Contact pressure sores are usually associated with those who are bed-ridden, but this painful condition can also happen after using a CPAP mask. Not only is it highly uncomfortable, it can also interfere with your sleep apnea treatment. Today, Advanced Sleep Medicine Services is going to offer three common reasons why contact pressure sores happen—and what you can do to address them:

  • Wrong CPAP Headgear Tension.

More often than not, a tight CPAP mask is the cause of pressure sores. When the straps are pulled too taught, it causes your CPAP mask to dig into your skin for seven to eight hours a night. The opposite can also be true, however—straps that aren’t tight enough will cause the CPAP mask to shift throughout the night. It then causes irritation as it rubs against your skin. If you’re having trouble finding the right tension, ask the experts at Advanced Sleep Medicine to help you out.

  • The CPAP Mask is Dirty

As you sleep, dirt and oils from your skin build up on the surface of your CPAP mask. If it isn’t washed away, it can eventually cause the skin to become irritated and break down. To remedy this, get into the habit of wiping down the surface of the mask once a day using a damp towel and mild dish detergent, or by using CPAP mask wipes. You should also give the mask a full bath once a week, submerging it soapy water and giving it a good scrub. If all this is too time-consuming, ask us about the SoClean Sanitizing Unit!

  • The CPAP Mask is Old

Over time, the cushions on your CPAP mask break down, causing contact between your skin and the edges of the mask. Some models allow you to swap out the old cushions, letting you get more mileage out of your CPAP mask. If it’s time for you to update your CPAP mask, check out the large selection available at Advanced Sleep Medicine.

If you’re still having issues after making these adjustments, reach out to the experts at Advanced Sleep Medicine. We can help you find the best solution to ensure that you get the good night’s sleep you deserve.


  1. Priscilla Reply

    My husband is using the Airfit F20 because the memory foam liner adjust to his better face since he’s lost so much weight. He’s getting pressure sores on the bridge of his nose. I’ve tried almost everything to eliminate but no success. Could he have developed an allergy to the mask liner material? Would alginate dressings help the sore heal?

    • Dan Hess Reply

      I posted below. Nothing worked for me until I found 100% Aloe Vera gel. My sores were horrible and now I have no problems at all.

      • Debra Reply

        My doc advised using Cortisone 10….. 3 or 4 times a day to eliminate the sores. Have not tried it yet though.

    • John Lewis Reply

      Have you had any luck resolving the pressure sores on your husbands nose from the memory foam mask? My wife has the same problem and could certainly use some advice. Thank you.

    • TerrI Reply

      I use a hose that just goes into the nostrils and not a whole face mask. I got these red painful sores where the skin started to peel. I rub some Vaseline petroleum jelly in my nostrils when I go to bed. In the morning I use Palmers Coco Butter with Vitamin E – Heals and Softens skin lotion and it worked miracles. It is still slightly red but no soreness or peeling.

  2. Dan olznoi Reply

    I’m 44 with oil skin breaking out really bad from any CPAP I we’re any help! Please around people all day with job

  3. Merv Drewe Reply

    Break out with pimply blister soars on nose which is not under silicon mask .
    How do I treat blisters and is there any tape or article that break bond of silicon to skin

    • Dan Hess Reply

      When I initially used my CPAP, I developed horrible sores and blisters under my nose and basically wherever the mask touched. I tried several things, but the solution for me was acquiring 100% Aloe Vera and simply spreading a dot of it on the affected areas every night before use. This COMPLETELY solved my problem. Must be 100% Aloe, though.

  4. Dan Hess Reply

    When I initially used my CPAP, I developed horrible sores and blisters under my nose and basically wherever the mask touched. I tried several things, but the solution for me was acquiring 100% Aloe Vera and simply spreading a dot of it on the affected areas every night before use. This COMPLETELY solved my problem. Must be 100% Aloe, though.

  5. Dave Reply

    My gums are sore from my mask and I have chronic dry mouth. I use Biotene toothpaste and spray with my humidity all the way up.

  6. Barbara Kamper Reply

    I have developed a small lump inside my nose which I thought was caused by small prongs at nose entrance. I changed to a pillows mask without prongs. I still have the lump after using this new mask for several weeks. I am worried that I might have to give up using a CPAP mask. Do others commonly have these lumps inside their nose? What can be done for it?

    • Joe Roberts Reply

      Me too. Did you figure out what to do about it?

    • heide Reply

      Hi I just started using mine and the inside of my nose has a sore, it is very painful. I see a lot of Aloe Vera therapies here and nothing else. I will try that.

  7. Claudette Gooden Reply

    I have dry cracking lips turning to sores from my cpap run by resmed airsence 10. How can I treat and avoid this. Desperate fort help. Struggling for a long time

    • Jaqi Vickers Reply

      Talk to your Dr. You may need some Nystatin ointment or something similar to put in the corners of your mouth to prevent yeast from growing, if that’s the problem you have.

  8. Linda Andrews Reply

    Do NOT use a SoClean sanitizer or any other CPAP sanitizer! It’s expensive, unnecessary, and can damage your machine, mask, and tubing. If you have a ResMed unit, using a SoClean can void your unit’s warranty.

  9. Donald Foster Reply

    For those of you having the bridge nose problems associated with the F20 ResMed AirFit mask. I can only offer what worked for me. I simply wanted the F20 mask to work because it “felt” the most comfortable and it is super quiet. However in the end I had to change masks. The F10 worked just as well, a little more noisy, but NO SORES on my nose. It took a few days for the previous sores to subside but now I don’t get them. I even tried to go back later and give the F20 another try…. nope minor redness on the first night and same original sores the second night. So maybe y’all will be lucky and have a similar face to mine and the F10 will be a winner, if not, keep trying different masks. You’ll eventually find one that works. And ignore all the comments about gel pads, or ointment, etc…. none of that works (been there, done that, didn’t work, got the T-shirt). Just find the right mask.

  10. John Scherer Reply

    I get sores inside my moth and on my tongue, and sometimes my mouth is very there a way to prevent this and how do I treat the sores?

    • D Weathersby Reply

      Me too. I’ve been looking at blogs & comments to see if others have the same problem. I thought maybe there was something else causing these very raw patches inside my cheeks. I suspect it’s an allergy to silicone that I have never been aware of. I will be trying a different mask without silicone. Have you discovered anything that might be helpful?

  11. Selene Reply

    My husband starting getting a non-itchy red rash from his Cpap and well as in areas not touched by his cpap mask. Has anyone else experienced this and can provide any help?

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  13. Richard Mathey Reply

    The straps that hold the mask cause itching on the head where contact is made. What to do!

    • Lou Morrison Reply

      I have the same issue. Have you resolved it?

      • Lynn Reply

        I actually developed an intensely itchy spot on top of my head from the headgear, to the point that a cyst developed from the chronic irritation. My hair stylist said i had little red bump in a line that match where the headgear contacts my head. I wrapped the entire thing in gauze cling wrap and the itching stopped. I had the cyst removed. Apparently people often developed silicone allergies from the headgear.

  14. Elbrain Macasiljig Reply

    I’ve been using my cpap for exactly one week now but I’ve noticed that left side of my mouth is swelling and its getting bigger. It felt painful so much. I’m not sure if this is normal but I hate the feeling of it and it bothers me a lot. How do I cure this? I need help asap

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  17. Deidre Reply

    I am a new user wearing p10 nasal pillows. My nose/nostrils feel sore and have burning sensation in the morning. I’ve switched to da pillows. Better, but still sore! Will aloe Vera help? Any other thoughts? TIA

    • Wendy McCartney Reply

      Get off the nasal pillows and just do a res med nasal mask. It disburses the air with vent holes so it’s being forced directly into your nasal passages.

  18. David royston Reply

    Kia ora!, I am a CPAP usrt at pressure of 10.5, 8 hours plus daily. Lately I have noticed a lump on left side of forehead that is concerning me currently. My preferred side for sleep is left side and I am aware of extra mask pressure in this inflamed (slight tender to touch) area just lately!. Any suggestions for me to talk to apnoea tech people/ specialists on my visit today? . Thanking you in anticipation, Dave.

  19. Sam Reply

    I keep getting sores on the back of my head and is there a way of checking which piece is leaking I’m not sure if it’s the frame or elbow part

  20. John Muirhead Reply

    I am getting sores above my ears from the straps of my resmed. It’s where the straps are joined. The joint is a weird angle and although a lump of cotton wool beneath it helps a little does anyone have a permanent solution!

  21. Brenda Cole Reply

    I’ve got sores on the left side of my head that are so sore. I’ve tried I e it’s where my straps are I have not worn my mask or used my machine because of the sores and bumps. What ca. I do so uncomfortable…..

  22. Carol M Fancher Reply

    I’ve been getting a bump on the right side of my head where, I believe, the straps are. I also use a chin strap to keep my mouth closed. Too much pressure? It’s a concern

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  27. Jerry Gibson Reply

    I too had a nose sore (lump) from the silicone nose pillow. I have some Lilly of the desert 99% aloe Vera gelly and used a little bit in each nostril within a few days the sore was gone (has not returned) I do this every night, and have discovered no more sores, and the pillow fits more comfortably in the nose,and makes a more secure fit without pulling up the nose. The greater percentage of aloe Vera the better (read the ingredients and make sure there is NO alcohol in it). Aloe Vera is a natural healer, and less expensive than other things sold to aid in getting nose sores.

  28. Crisi Reply

    I’ve been wearing my bipap for 3 months now and at first I was waking up with red lines and painful ears now my ears are red hot itchy ( behind my ears not inside.) I have a few sores that developed. I clean my mask ,my face. I have tried everything. I set another doctor’s appointment. Not sure how much longer I can bare this.

  29. Kate Reply

    I put a thin piece of cotton wool pad over my nose under the part of the mask was digging in it really helps no marks on the bridge of my nose anymore.

  30. Gary Reply

    I have used my CPAP for a couple years now but last week I sweated so bad I feel like I get a cold sore on my cheek where the mask lays. Anyone else have this happen?

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