Reducing CPAP Mask Leaks with Lansinoh (Lanolin)

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In my efforts to improve the effectiveness of my CPAP treatment I started searching the cpaptalk.com forums for new tips. I came across one that seemed a bit odd, but does seem to be effective. In one post, and also in several others, many individuals recommended using Lansinoh Lanolin to create a more effective seal between one’s face and the silicone mask seal.

If you know how this product is intended to be used then you may find this suggestion somewhat amusing. Specifically, it’s for applying on nipples to heal or prevent sores and cracks caused by breastfeeding. This may seem strange, but it does seem to work. Over the past several days since I started using it I’ve seen low leak rates on a consistent basis. Some nights had low leaks rates I’ve already been able to attain, but others had the lowest stats I’ve seen so far and more importantly all of the leak rates for those nights were consistently low.

Because it’s a tacky product it seems effective in preventing mask leaks by basically gluing the mask seal to one’s face and also sealing small leaks that might be overlooked (though it’s not uncomfortable at all). The oil is relatively easy to remove from one’s face and from the seal (hot water helps). So far I’ve only seen it sold in 2 oz tubes with an average price of $10-$12. I’m not sure how long one tube will last, but I suspect it will go a long way. Each night uses up only about a half-inch of oil squeezed from the tube.

It can typically be found in the baby care areas of pharmacies and other stores. I do recommend cleaning the mask seal each morning. I doubt it would “go bad” quickly but because it’s somewhat sticky it could accumulate dirt, dust, and hair very quickly.

Updated 11/08/2011: Mask leak rates have remained consistently lower. I typically squeeze out about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of the oil and apply most of it to areas of the seal that will come in contact with my beard.

I learned that it’s easy to apply too much, which can cause some minor annoyances and won’t improve the seal any more. Body heat and ambient temperature can make the oil become more fluid. Adding too much oil may cause the mask to slip out of place slightly but more importantly the excess oil tends to migrate into areas behind the mask. This can be annoying the next morning, especially if it gets near one’s eyes.

I now clean the mask and silicone seal almost every morning. I start by wiping down the mask and silicone with wipes and then remove the silicone seal and plastic clip and run warm or hot water over them.

This is one tip that has lead to a noticeable improvement.

Updated 06/09/2012: I’m still using this method and it still seems to help. It doesn’t completely prevent leaks but it reduces the frequency of leaks, especially bad leaks.

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