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SanibelSandy
@sanibelsandy

Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 07, 2011

cPAP silicone allergy

Posted by @sanibelsandy, May 6, 2017

I apparently have developed an allergy to silicone, which creates problems with my cPAP mask since they all seem to be made of silicone. Anyone know of other options? Solutions? I do use a barrier (Silent Night, RemZZs) but at times they slip and I end up with skin break-down.

REPLY

Hello @sanibelsandy, and welcome to Connect. Thank you for starting a conversation about silicone allergy and a cPAP mask. I did some research of my own and it does appear there are some masks that are made from a different type of gel, but it would be best to consult with your physician about the alternative mask types in case that you have an allergy to the other mask types as well.

While I search for some other members who also have a silicone allergy, would you mind sharing a bit more about your situation? How long have you been using a cPAP before you developed your allergy? Has your physician diagnosed your allergy and talked about any other alternatives?

@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @sanibelsandy, and welcome to Connect. Thank you for starting a conversation about silicone allergy and a cPAP mask. I did some research of my own and it does appear there are some masks that are made from a different type of gel, but it would be best to consult with your physician about the alternative mask types in case that you have an allergy to the other mask types as well.

While I search for some other members who also have a silicone allergy, would you mind sharing a bit more about your situation? How long have you been using a cPAP before you developed your allergy? Has your physician diagnosed your allergy and talked about any other alternatives?

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Justin, I have had my cPAP since October 2012. I developed skin breakdown (bridge of my nose) within a few weeks of using the machine. I tried various solutions, thinking it was probably a pressure from the mask issue. I tried the gel pads, adjusting the mask straps, etc. but nothing seemed to help. I finally came across an ad for RemZZs several years later and in desperation ordered some. I was surprised when the skin sores healed, thinking it was still a pressure issue; I couldn’t figure out how such a thin material could provide enough cushioning to relieve the pressure and allow healing. Then it finally clicked that the nose pads on my eyeglasses were also causing skin irritation/breakdown where they came in contact with the skin. Yep, they were made of silicone. Question answered, but no really satisfactory solution. I used the RemZZs until a year or two ago, but they sometimes slipped and were a nuisance because they had to be repositioned every time I removed and replace my mask. I searched cPAP.com for other alternatives and noticed the Silentnight cushions and ordered some. They do have an advantage in that they are adhered to the mask and don’t have to be removed/repositioned every time I remove and replace my mask. The problem is the size options are limited (one size fits most–ha!). They do help the skin breakdown on the bridge of the nose, but the opening is too large for my mask (Lady ZestQ) so I still get some skin irritation below my nose since the cushion opening is too large and doesn’t cover the lower part of my mask opening.( Note: I also have latex allergy.) I see an allergist regularly and do have a pulmonologist that I see for my sleep apnea, but neither of them has had any suggestions to help resolve the issue. I am managing with the Silentnight nasal cushions, but again they aren’t the complete solution. I was just wondering if anyone else is dealing with this issue and how they handled it. Thank you for your help.

I know there are some cloth masks available, which I have considered. But I don’t know if they have some type of coating that may be irritating also. My daughter has tried the cloth masks but said they are difficult to position and she went back to her (silicone) mask. I suppose they may be at least worth a try, but the reviews I have read on them aren’t really encouraging.

HI, @sanibelsandy. Just wanted to check back with you and see how things are going with your cPAP silicone allergy.

I also thought that @sandytoes14, @maureercria, dawn_giacabazi, @bubbles8, @upnorthnancy and @jimhd might have some input for you.

How are things going these days with your sleep quality overall?

Lisa, my sleep quality is fine. I have no trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. It’s just the skin breakdown from the mask that is the problem. The mask doesn’t feel uncomfortable, but if it comes in contact with my skin for a period of time I develop open sores. As long as I maintain a barrier between the mask and my skin, I do fine. I found a cloth barrier (can’t think of the name right now) that fits over the mask and has an elastic rim holding it in place. The problem is it comes without a breathing hole; you have to cut the material to the size that best fits you and your mask. That is a real challenge, and the first one I cut I cut too large and it didn’t cover the mask totally once the elastic slid into place. That may not make sense, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I am hoping I will be able to do a better fit the next time. The covers are rather pricey but can be used for an extended period of time so they may be worth the cost if I can just figure out the size/shape of the hole to cut. It’s been a frustrating problem, but I will continue to look for possible solutions. (In reference to the eyeglasses nose pad issue, the last pair of glasses I went with the plastic frames and have had no skin breakdown from them. I much prefer the metal frames with the extended nose pads, but it looks like that is no longer an option for me 🙁 )

@sanibelsandy

Lisa, my sleep quality is fine. I have no trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. It’s just the skin breakdown from the mask that is the problem. The mask doesn’t feel uncomfortable, but if it comes in contact with my skin for a period of time I develop open sores. As long as I maintain a barrier between the mask and my skin, I do fine. I found a cloth barrier (can’t think of the name right now) that fits over the mask and has an elastic rim holding it in place. The problem is it comes without a breathing hole; you have to cut the material to the size that best fits you and your mask. That is a real challenge, and the first one I cut I cut too large and it didn’t cover the mask totally once the elastic slid into place. That may not make sense, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I am hoping I will be able to do a better fit the next time. The covers are rather pricey but can be used for an extended period of time so they may be worth the cost if I can just figure out the size/shape of the hole to cut. It’s been a frustrating problem, but I will continue to look for possible solutions. (In reference to the eyeglasses nose pad issue, the last pair of glasses I went with the plastic frames and have had no skin breakdown from them. I much prefer the metal frames with the extended nose pads, but it looks like that is no longer an option for me 🙁 )

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@sanibelsandy

I recently changed from a CPAP to a BIPAP, and at the same time switched from the full face mask that I’d used for 15+ years to nasal pillows. I’ve been having some trouble with my nose since the change, and I’m experimenting with creams applied to the inside of my nose. So far, an aloe cream has helped the most. I wonder if you’ve tried a salve or cream barrier. Medicare allows two pillows each month, so I’m not as worried about the cushion deteriorating. The sleep doctor told me, when I was still using the face mask, that I should wash my face every night because the skin oils deteriorate the cushion.

I have several different creams to try, and I’ll keep you posted as to what effect each one has, if any.

I’d never heard of the cloth barrier. Do you get it from the CPAP supply store?

Jim

@sanibelsandy

Lisa, my sleep quality is fine. I have no trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. It’s just the skin breakdown from the mask that is the problem. The mask doesn’t feel uncomfortable, but if it comes in contact with my skin for a period of time I develop open sores. As long as I maintain a barrier between the mask and my skin, I do fine. I found a cloth barrier (can’t think of the name right now) that fits over the mask and has an elastic rim holding it in place. The problem is it comes without a breathing hole; you have to cut the material to the size that best fits you and your mask. That is a real challenge, and the first one I cut I cut too large and it didn’t cover the mask totally once the elastic slid into place. That may not make sense, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I am hoping I will be able to do a better fit the next time. The covers are rather pricey but can be used for an extended period of time so they may be worth the cost if I can just figure out the size/shape of the hole to cut. It’s been a frustrating problem, but I will continue to look for possible solutions. (In reference to the eyeglasses nose pad issue, the last pair of glasses I went with the plastic frames and have had no skin breakdown from them. I much prefer the metal frames with the extended nose pads, but it looks like that is no longer an option for me 🙁 )

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Jim, the cloth cover is called Comfort Cover http://cpapcomfortcover.com/ I think if I can figure out the correct size opening to cut it will work very well, but that’s a challenge as the fabric stretches once the cover is placed on the mask. I think it’s a matter or cut and try until you get the correct cut, but it could be a pricey process since the covers cost about $35 for a pack of two. I’ve postponed cutting the second one (procrastinated is probably more accurate) because I don’t want to mess up a second one. The web site does have some video instructions. I figure I will take a little time to watch and really study the videos before cutting the second one. I have considered using a salve or cream barrier, but I have atopic dermatitis and react to so many topical substances I am hesitant to try something along those lines. I would appreciate your input on the creams you try; maybe it will be worthwhile taking a chance on one of them working and not causing any irritation. I just saw today that ResMed has come out with a mask that has a memory foam cushion rather than the silicone, so maybe that may be the answer to my problem. Hoping…

I just was fitted with the ResMed Airtouch mask yesterday. It has a memory foam cushion layered on the silicone mask, so what actually comes in contact with the skin is the memory foam rather than the silicone. I had to switch to a full-face mask from the nasal as the Airtouch is not available in the nasal. Used the mask for the first time last night–no skin irritation or pressure marks at all! I am encouraged and hope this will be my answer. Couple of caveats: the foam cushion cannot be washed with soap and water so cleaning the mask requires using cleaning wipes rather than washing with soap and water. The tech who did the fitting stated that fragrance-free baby wipes can be substituted since the cPAP cleaning wipes are a little pricey. My pulmonologist indicated that over time the memory foam can become brittle and pieces can break off; that remains to be evaluated since I just got the mask. I am hoping this will be a long-term solution. We’ll see…

@sanibelsandy

I just was fitted with the ResMed Airtouch mask yesterday. It has a memory foam cushion layered on the silicone mask, so what actually comes in contact with the skin is the memory foam rather than the silicone. I had to switch to a full-face mask from the nasal as the Airtouch is not available in the nasal. Used the mask for the first time last night–no skin irritation or pressure marks at all! I am encouraged and hope this will be my answer. Couple of caveats: the foam cushion cannot be washed with soap and water so cleaning the mask requires using cleaning wipes rather than washing with soap and water. The tech who did the fitting stated that fragrance-free baby wipes can be substituted since the cPAP cleaning wipes are a little pricey. My pulmonologist indicated that over time the memory foam can become brittle and pieces can break off; that remains to be evaluated since I just got the mask. I am hoping this will be a long-term solution. We’ll see…

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Thank you so much for posting. I have just started to get irritation around my mouth under my nose….I use the Phillips Amara full face mask. I really do not want to start using a mask liner….getting ready for bed is complicated enough!

One clarification: The part of the Airtouch mask that the foam is molded to detaches from the base of the mask, so the rest of the mask can be cleaned with soap and water. And yes, Bernese, getting read for bed is complicated enough! I will update in a few weeks after I see how this mask works out.

So, coming up on a month with the Airtouch mask and things are going well. No skin irritation or breakdown. So far this mask is a win! Not showing any wear on the mask/cushion as yet. Bottom line: I am loving this mask! My husband has even expressed interest in trying the mask himself, which is saying a lot.

@sanibelsandy

So, coming up on a month with the Airtouch mask and things are going well. No skin irritation or breakdown. So far this mask is a win! Not showing any wear on the mask/cushion as yet. Bottom line: I am loving this mask! My husband has even expressed interest in trying the mask himself, which is saying a lot.

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@sanibelsandy

Does the Airtouch make a better seal than the traditional one? I switched to the nasal from the full face, and from CPAP to BIPAP. My sleep study indicated that the nasal mask performed better than the full face, so the doctor had me change. Maybe you didn’t have trouble with leaking.

Jim

@sanibelsandy

So, coming up on a month with the Airtouch mask and things are going well. No skin irritation or breakdown. So far this mask is a win! Not showing any wear on the mask/cushion as yet. Bottom line: I am loving this mask! My husband has even expressed interest in trying the mask himself, which is saying a lot.

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Jim, I can’t personally compare the Airtouch to the standard full face mask as prior to starting with the Airtouch I was using a nasal mask (Lady ZestQ). I switched to the full face because the Airtouch is not available in a nasal mask. However, my daughter and son-in-law were recently here for a visit. I was telling my daughter about my new mask and when I pulled it out to show her, she started laughing and said, “That’s (my husband’s) mask!” My son-in-law has severe apnea and his cPAP is set at a high pressure. He has had many problems with air leaks and has tried a number of different masks. My daughter said he loves the Airtouch and has had no problem with leaks since he switched to it. (Personally I feel I have fewer problems with air leaks with the Airtouch and I feel that I am sleeping better since I switched. That is subjective; I haven’t had my stats reviewed so don’t have any quantitative/qualitative data on that.) I hope this helps. So far, I’m sold on the Airtouch. 🙂

After two months with the AirTouch I am absolutely satisfied with this mask. No irritation, no pressure sores, decreased leaks, better sleep–what more can I say. Oh, yeah, my husband now has an AirTouch and is very happy with it. He has scars on the bridge of his nose from sores from previous masks. He has for years put a piece of tape across the bridge to prevent the sores. He has a “crease” at the corner of his mouth as a result of an automobile accident when he was young. He was putting a pad in that area with his old mask because the mask did not conform to that crease and it leaked. With the AirTouch, he has discontinued the tape strip and the pad for that crease. No leaking and no irritation. He said he feels he is sleeping better. So in this house you have two definite fans of the AirTouch!

I agree with your review of the mask. It did not solve my problem of swallowing air, but it was the only full face mask that I have ever found comfortable.

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