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I have an allergy to the silicone in my CPAP mask liner. I seek an alternative "skin safe" material to mold a new liner? Answered

I am seeking a skin safe or hypoallergenic moldable & (pliable after molding) gel-like material (firmness medium) that I can use to mold a replacement for my silicone CPAP mask "liner." CPAP masks are worn nightly by people with the medical condition - Obstructive Sleep Apnea - the mask is connected by hose to a small medical machine that forces air down your throat to keep those with Sleep Apnea from ceasing to breath while sleeping.  The "liner" is the replaceable soft part of the CPAP mask that goes against your face (skin) to assure a good seal and no air leakage)

I personally have the capability of making a mold of my original silicone mask liner then reproducing it (for my personal, not commercial purposes) - I just need to identify a moldable material (with similar characteristics to silicone), but that does not cause rashes and skin outbreaks and the allergic reaction to silicone. Hundreds of people have an allergic reaction to silicone. Multiple dermatologists have been unable to provide a solution or effective treatment.

Any "skin safe" (might be hypoallergenic or not but probably would be?) moldable material that may be currently used in the production of various medical devices or medical devices that are inserted into the body (cosmetic surgery) or devices that are by necessity held against the skin would likely be a candidate for me to produce an alternative to a silicone mask liner. Or it might be a material with other uses or a totally new material on the market?

I note that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of CPAP mask users who suffer from this very same allergic reaction to silicone but unfortunately, to date, the CPAP manufacturing industry has chosen to continues to produce 100% of CPAP mask liners from silicone alone. There is no alternative on the market. One can easily find hundreds of posts on CPAP forums complaining of this same silicone allergy problem with no solution currently available or even on the horizon. For legal reasons, I unequivocally state that this post should not be construed in any way as a "negative critique" of the CPAP manufacturing industry or any of their products or the materials used in those products, but it is simply a genuine request by an individual in need, for help and assistance from a very highly knowledgable base of Instructable readers.

I further note that the various types of cloth covers that are sold by some small niche companies, to cover the silicone CPAP liners are (in my personal view) only partially effective for some, and fully ineffective for many (myself included) in addressing this silicone allergy problem. This (in my personal case) is NOT the needed solution It is a band-aid at best. The solution is a hypoallergenic moldable alternative to silicone that has the same pliable sealing properties as silicone but without the allergic skin reaction.

Additionally,  I have an allergic reaction to the "neoprene" material that is used in the production of virtually 100% of CPAP mask harnesses (the strap that goes around and behind your head to hold the CPAP mask in place). So I am also seeking an alternative material that I can use to construct a (non-neoprene) harness. A slightly stretchable hypoallergenic material would be ideal but frankly it could be made of any (skin safe) material even if non-stretchable. I am open to any suggestions.

If you wish to view an example (image) of a full CPAP mask you can see it here:

If you wish to view an example (image) of a CPAP mask silicone liner (replaceable) you can see it here: http://www.cpap.com/productpage/resmed-full-face-mask-cushion-mirage-Quattro-FX.html

If you wish to view an example (image) of a CPAP mask harness (made of neoprene) you can see it here: http://www.cpap.com/productpage/resmed-mirage-quattro-fx-full%20face-headgear.html?source=igodigital

I am very grateful for your kind assistance with this rather challenging problem...despite considerable ongoing research on my part I have been unable to identify an appropriate alternative (to silicone) material for my CPAP mask liner nor have multiple individuals suffering with the same silicone allergy been able to identify an alternative. I have frequently trolled all of the major CPAP forums and there simply has been no effective solution identified to properly address this silicone allergy problem. 



1 year ago

Would latex be an option?

I have the exact same problem as "kick991" - and I none of the answers folks have suggested have worked for me (I have tried them before - and thanks for submitting them ... I did find them interesting and good to know). I can't use nasal canulas (I have to use full-face masks or I get such severe nosebleeds the next day - ALL day - that I can't do much of anything else), and I hesitate to use the DreamWeaver because, according to its online reviews, side-sleepers like me return it for leaking issues. This is another reason (beside the silicon allergies) I, personally, have had to return 99% of all the commercial masks I have tried over the many years I've used my CPAP and/or the BiPAP I'm now on. I will say that one thing that has, temporarily, helped me is putting moleskin on the cushions, but unfortunately the moleskin won't STICK well enough to be a permanent solution. The 'waxy' makeup of the silicon makes it nigh impossible for the adhesive to stay in place and it ends up on the cotton hat I have to wear to avoid the terrible rash from the neoprene/elastic straps (mine is more an allergy to elastic rather than the neoprene). BTW, the cotton hat is like a ski mask with the fact cut out and it does help the rash for the headgear straps, except it makes the whole mask slide up my face by the end of the night so that it is practically on top of my eyes when I awaken in the morning. But it is the best temporary solution I've found so far. [I think I need to get someone to help me sew on a 'chin strap' for the hat...]

I am currently working on designing my own mask - but I am not very far in this 'experiment' as yet. Should I arrive at any reasonable success I will surely submit my findings here to all of you - as I find this unreal that NONE of the manufacturers seem to have an answer for a hypoallergenic mask and headgear. I have called at least two of the "Big" ones and were told they didn't have any plans in the works ''at this time" but that I was free to submit a form for their R&D Teams for the 'first ever' product like that.... as if no one ever told them this before. Wow..... Since the DreamWeaver product IS 'out there' this is obviously untrue.... Hmmmmm.....

Wish me luck! SideSleeper68

If you truly breath all night through your mouth. Place the nasal cannula in your mouth to get oxygen at night....as for silicon. Everything in the world is made of silicon. For perspective: odds of allergic to silicon would be almost as rare as allergy to water. If allergic to silicon you are in for a tough time. More likely there is something in the silicon product that is not silicon and that is what you are allergic to. Products are seldom 100%. They involve contaminants in manufacturing process. EX: every man made product in the world has some mercury in it. More than in the general environment or naturally occurring and is due to human pollution. All you can do is try different manufacturers of mask. Even that would be a crap shoot as ea lot could be different and manufacturers out source to several countries and change factories often. I wish you well. Google Cloth masks by Circadiance called Sleepweaver. They are worth a look. Good luck.

Circadiance makes a CPAP mask out of fabric, which my wife uses - she's allergic to silicone. She uses the Sleepweaver Anew.


Good URL.

BTW does your browser let you make your pointer into a click-n-go if you press return after pasting it in your text ?


5 years ago

I do not think a nasal cannula is silicone based,
more like a replaceable rubbery nostril engage device.



This is what touches the nostrils.

nasal pillow.JPG

I get constant sores when I use that nasal mask.

While never damaging the epidermis there was a soreness afterwards
until I discovered the actual use of the double wall did not need forcing pressure.

Simply wait for the air to start then momentarily pull it away and replace into position
which lets the nostril cones inflate and seal without any heavy pressing force to
irritate the nearby delicate tissue.


Good advice iceng and one I did practice.

In my case it was not a force issue.

Sounds like you have a good deal of experience.
I hope you find a solution.

I have the exact same issue, I was googling it for the hundredth time trying to find a solution. I have severe allergies & asthma. Almost all my allergies trigger a severe asthmatic response. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but the obstructive apnea is mild, the underlying issue is my asthma causes severe oxygen deficiency at night because I am constantly having anaphalaysis type issues. The doctor found this out because I was so tired all the time, I couldn't think straight anymore, and I was falling asleep driving. When I started on the full face mask cpap I noticed an improvement almost immediately, I had so much more energy, I felt like living. However, I started waking up with allergic response to the headgear & the mask shortly thereafter. The headgear made me itch like crazy and then the mask made my lips swell up and eventually i woke up one night choking to death. I had tried to ignore it because i didn't want to be allergic to one more thing, especially one that had been helping me. So I called and told them my issue, and they recommended a cloth mask. I tried it and it leaks alot, and I can only lay on the side facing the machine or the mask deflates. Also, it is hard to get back on when i get up in the night, i have to wake totally up to put it back on. They also recommended oxygen since i tested so low on my oxygen levels at night, so i agreed and they sent the machine. However, it doesn't work for me either because it doesn't open my airways up, it makes my nose bleed & burn, and i am a mouth breather (allergies to everything make you constantly congested). So i have been going back and forth between the two nonfunctioning alternatives. Now I am tired all the time again. I would love it if i could have a nonsilicone full face mask & headgear I am not allergic to. Please let me know if you were able to find anything out.. I would really like to feel bettter and not be worried about dying in my sleep or falling asleep while driving.

Can you line it with some fabric so you can still breath through the cloth but are separated from contact with the mask.

You may not be allergic to latex, rubber gloves could be cut down and glues over the silicone material.

OK off the top of my head. How about using a natural wax like bee's wax to form the seal for the mask. You could make the form and pour the wax into it until it hardens, then mold it to your face using your hands.

As for the straps to secure it, have you thought about using leather. Get a old belt or two from Goodwill or other thrift store and cut to fit. You may want or need to experiment how and where to place the buckles or other attachment pieces (I'd look into using snap closers or Velcro myself). But I would think this would be a simple, cheap, natural, and effective way.

Just some random thoughts that you could look into or try. Good luck with it and make sure you make a instructable to help others.