a shield in front of hair

Protecting Your Hair With a CPAP

Have you ever woken up with your hair plastered to your head after sleeping with your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine? Or have you experienced thinning or breaking in 1 spot while using your CPAP? I discovered a helpful tip for how to protect hair while wearing CPAP for treating my sleep apnea.

When I noticed that I needed CPAP hair protection

I started to notice some breakage in the front of my hair, and it wasn’t from tension because I rarely put my hair in a ponytail. I noticed that the breakage was right around where my headgear sits, about 2 to 3 inches from the front of my hairline.

Tossing and turning all night with the straps running on your hair can cause friction. I have restless leg syndrome (RLS) also, so I toss and turn a lot. I was devastated because I had a huge patch of hair that was thinning. You could literally see where a patch of hair was broken off from the headgear.

Hair accessories I use


When I’m wearing my hair curly, I pull it up in a pineapple in which I use an oversized satin scrunchie and pull it gently.

Mesh wrap

When my hair is straight, I wrap it around my head and use a mesh wrap and then put a bonnet on top. These 2 steps have stopped me from having flat helmet hair from the straps of the headgear.

Hair bonnet

When I wear protective styles it can be hard to fit my headgear because of the extra hair; however, my hair is braided down underneath the locks so I change my routine and pull the extensions around the headgear so that it fits (picture below). Then once I get my headgear on to keep the style from getting frizzy, I put a jumbo bonnet over my hair and the headgear.

Washington sharing how she protects her hair from her cpap machine.

How to protect hair while wearing CPAP?

I purchased satin bonnets in different sizes for when my hair is curly, straight, or in a protective style like braids or crochets. Using a satin bonnet doesn’t dry your hair out like cotton. The bonnet allows a layer of protection between your hair and the headgear. If you toss and turn, that can be a lot of friction directly on your hair with no barrier.

Once I started using a bonnet I noticed that the breakage stopped. I would massage my scalp with a few drops of castor oil in the spot where it had thinned out from the breakage. It took about 3 months before I started noticing that section of my hair had thickened back up.

Nightly hair havoc

Wearing headgear at night can wreak havoc on your hair. The only thing that helped the thinning and breakage of my hair was protecting it at night with a satin bonnet.

When I wasn’t using my CPAP I couldn’t keep a bonnet on my hair because I sleep so wild. So, I made the switch to a satin pillowcase and sheets. The headgear then works in my favor protecting my hair. Also, it stays on all night because of the headgear, which was a first for me.

What do you use at night to protect your hair with your CPAP machine?

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