If you have a beard and have started using a CPAP machine to treat your apnea, you’re probably aware that facial hair can make fitting the right type of CPAP mask a bit of a nightmare. But don’t break out the beard trimmers just yet, because it is still possible to find a CPAP mask fit for beards!
Nasal Pillow Masks for Facial Hair
You have two options when it comes to finding a CPAP mask for beards. The first type of mask is called a Nasal Pillow Mask and it is perfect for accommodating facial hair because it doesn't lay on top of the lip. Since the mask isn’t covering your mouth, you can grow the bushiest beard possible and it won’t interfere with your CPAP treatment.
If you’re interested in a nasal mask, consider the Respironics DreamWear Mask, which features a minimal contact design so you can sleep comfortably with more freedom of movement. Alternatively, the ResMed AirFit N30 is perfect for bearded sleep apnea sufferers by implementing a small and discreet design.
Full Face Masks for Full-Bearded Gentlemen
Maybe you’ve tried using a nasal pillow mask before and found you disliked the sensation of air being pushed up your nostrils. If that is the case then consider trying a full face mask, which is another great option when looking for CPAP masks for beards.
Full-face masks cover the entire face by going under the chin, thereby completely bypassing your beard. The benefit of the mask’s seal not rubbing against your facial hair is that you will experience a better seal (meaning more effective treatment), and the mask won’t slip on your beard or mustache.
The ResMed AirFit F30 will completely cover your beard no matter how long and unruly. So even if you’re being mistaken for Kris Kringle on the street, rest-assured that you’ll be able to enjoy a restful sleep using CPAP therapy.
Fitting CPAP Masks for Beards
In addition to picking the right mask, you also need to be aware of how to correctly fit your mask. For example, you may be tempted to buy a looser mask to accommodate your beard, but choosing a mask that is too loose will result in leaks. If you want to reap the most benefits from your CPAP therapy, then you want a good seal between your mask and your skin. So although it may seem counterintuitive, start with a smaller size mask and then try the next size up until you’ve found a perfect seal.
Improve the Seal
If you have coarse facial hair, you may still experience a leak. Fortunately, you can condition your beard to help improve the seal. Lanolin softens your beard and some matte their beard and mustache down with wax. Because you might need to tighten your mask, a CPAP mask liner can maintain the seal. One of the biggest benefits of a mask liner is the prevention of mask lines and sores from a tight-fitting mask.
You don’t have to shave off your beard if you want to benefit from CPAP therapy. There are a number of great CPAP masks for beards that do a great job at accommodating your facial hair while delivering the sleep therapy you need.