Have Sleep Apnea But Want To Keep Your Beard?

Around 1 in every 3 American men has facial hair, which means a fair proportion of those who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are told they'll likely need to shave their beards or goatees. Hair can interfere with the way a constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask fits, which can reduce the effectiveness of one of the most common sleep apnea treatments. However, it's possible to treat your sleep apnea without having to shave your hard-earned beard. Read on to learn more about your CPAP beard sealant options.

What is CPAP Beard Sealant?

CPAP beard sealant is a type of water-soluble glue that can be applied to facial hair at night, then easily removed in the morning with soap and water. This sealant helps create an airtight seal between the beard and the mask, ensuring that the air being pumped through the mask makes it to its intended destination (the lungs), not out the sides of the mask. CPAP beard sealant comes in a variety of scents and consistencies, and those who wish to try it should carefully review the ingredients list to ensure they're not allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.

In some rare situations, CPAP beard sealant can cause skin irritation or flaking; however, when it's used as directed (and in conjunction with a high-quality beard shampoo), it can be a seamless addition to one's hygiene routine.

Is CPAP Beard Sealant Right for You?

Beard sealant is one good option for those with sleep apnea who don't want to shave their facial hair. But while it's very effective, it doesn't always need to be the first option you try, particularly if you're sensitive to one or more of its ingredients. It's usually a good idea to try on several masks if the first one or two you try don't seem to seal correctly, as the issue may be as easy to solve as selecting a mask that seals under your chin.

Other types of masks that can be helpful for those with facial hair include nasal masks and "nasal pillow" masks that don't rest above the lip. There also are cloth liners and other types of mask liners that can form a physical barrier that flattens the facial hair and keeps leaks out.

With all these options out there, shaving one's facial hair is no longer required when it comes to successfully treating your obstructive sleep apnea.