A common question we receive is, “Can I keep my beard while doing CPAP therapy?” After all, your beard is a big part of your life and one you would rather not live without. But many people worry that they’ll have to choose between their beard and getting a good night’s sleep.
The number one complaint about CPAP therapy from men with beards is air leakage as some masks are unable to conform to their faces. This happens when air that should be passing through your respiratory pathways at night leaks out the side of your mask. Not only is this loud and annoying, but it also compromises your treatment.
The Best Masks for Men With Facial Hair
Fortunately, there are many mask options available to men with beards. Let’s look at some of the best mask options available:
A nasal pillow mask
Nasal pillows are the best option for people with facial hair since they don’t rest on the upper lip or the chin. The air flows directly through the nasal cushions into your nostrils so it doesn’t come into contact with your facial hair. This gives you the option to grow the bushiest beard possible and a nice mustache to match!
A popular model you might consider trying is ResMed’s Swift FX.
A nasal mask
Not everyone likes the feeling of nasal pillow masks. If this sounds like you, you might try going with a nasal mask instead. Look for one that doesn’t rest as heavily on your upper lip, like the Mirage Activa LT.
But keep in mind that both nasal pillows and nasal masks work best for nose breathers. If you are a mouth breather, you’ll want to consider the next option.
A full face mask
If you are a mouth breather, you may be wondering what options are available to you. A full face mask is an option, you’ll just want to look for one that reaches under the chin so that your facial hair stays clear of the seal. Gel masks like the ComfortGel Blue Full Mask and memory foam masks like the AirTouch F20 also tend to work well with facial hair.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
Besides mask style, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Once you find a mask you like, it may be tempting to go for a looser fit. Logically, this makes sense because the mask will fit around your beard more comfortably. However, this will create a weaker seal and can actually lead to more leakage!
In fact, most experts recommend starting with a smaller size and gradually moving your way up until you find a mask that fits snugly and is still comfortable.
And if you’re having trouble, there are products out there that can help you get a better seal. Mask liners, CPAP moisturizers, or even gelling your beard at night are all options that can help prevent leakage and ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.