Sores in nasal passage ways with CPAP mask

by Kimberly

I have the RESPIRONICS REMstarPlus M series CPAP machine and wear the full face mask by ResMed. I do not have a humidifier. I develop painful sores within my nostrils after 2 nights of using the CPAP. Any ideas as to why this happens even if I use a moisturizing agent (like vasaline) in my nostrils prior to sleep?

My nasal passages are not stuffed up either. When I wake up the sores are quite painful and will even bleed when I use kleenex. It will hurt so much that I can only use the CPAP machine 3-4 nights in a row. Then I have to wait for them to heal. Have you heard of this before? Anything I might be able to do for this?



Dear Kimberly,

Painful sores within the nostrils is a common side effect in CPAP therapy.

Personally, I never heard about sores in the nasal passage ways in patients with full face masks and using a moisturizing agent, but I'm sure that other experienced visitors might know something and probably they will comment.

Causes of sore in nasal passage ways

Kimberley, I will explain the general causes, and not the cause for your case, because I don't have many information about you. So, I would presume you've got one of the following:

  • a contact allergy with your full face mask material

  • your mask may be wrong for your face structure

  • you may develop a rubbing related sore due to a wrong adjustment of the mask

  • no humidity - and you acknowledged that you don't have a humidifier.

Treatments of sore in nasal passage ways

Before going to the more serious treatments (which means changes), try to use something simple first:

  • try Neosporin during the day while the skin of your nostrils is sore, and Ayr Nasal Gel every night whether inflamed or not.

  • an other healing ointment for the sore nose is Aquaphor.

  • the KY Jelly is famous in treating the sore nose, as I read in many forums for sleep apnea.

  • some patients have success with vaseline, but I wouldn't go with this product, because is a petroleum base and not compatible with the plastics used in the mask.

Let's get more serious now:

  • If the developed sore is due to the mask material allergy, the solution is to try the nasal pillows. The new models are much better, very comfortable, and eliminate almost all claustrophobia problems.

  • In the case of a wrong adjustment of the mask, you have to try a readjustment, and you can ask your DME for an evaluation if you can't do it properly. Maybe the mask is too tight, or too loose.

  • In some cases the dryness will cause irritation, burning and sneezing. These symptoms can be alleviated by the use of a humidifier.

    Some sleep specialists order a passover (cold water) humidifier with the initial CPAP order. If you do not have one of these speak with your sleep specialist.

    If you already have a humidifier and still experience these symptoms you may need a heated humidifier. This is a water pan that sits on a heating unit and is attached to CPAP just like the passover humidifier. Heating the air and the water will allow the air to carry more moisture as it travels to your nose (just like the summer air is more humid than winter air).

    Now, you told me that you don't use a humidifier. You should know that nose bleeds are usually helped by increasing the humidification...but you don't have any. A humidifier is definitely better than a moisturizer when the dry air is passing through your nasal passages all night.

  • If the other methods doesn't help, you probably need a new mask that fits you better.

Kimberley, I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Problems with CPAP.

Latest Updates

  1. The CPAP Machine Guide for Newbies

    Everything You Need to Know About CPAP Machine. Learn about CPAP using a detailed Guide that will educate you to choose the best CPAP and help you to avoid the most common side effects.

    Read More

  2. CPAP Benefits | Sleep Apnea Guide

    Can CPAP benefits boost your health if you have sleep apnea or snoring? And is it worth it to sleep with a mask on your face every night?

    Read More

  3. CPAP Claustrophobia | How to Eliminate it?

    How to prevent and eliminate CPAP claustrophobia? Learn how to sleep with your CPAP mask on even if you have CPAP anxiety.

    Read More

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Sleep Apnea Info.
Share This Site

Email; Contact UsContact Us