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CPAP Masks: Selecting the Optimal Interface for You

The CPAP mask links you and the CPAP machine. Selecting a CPAP mask that works for you is the most important aspect of your success with CPAP. If the mask is uncomfortable, you will give up on CPAP. If the mask leaks too much or blows air in your eyes, you will give up on CPAP. If the mask falls off while you are sleeping, your machine will have trouble maintaining the pressure setting and it will alarm, waking you up and disrupting your sleep.

The best mask for you is the one you will wear! At CPAPman, we want to help you with this very personal decision. We want you to get the most out of CPAP therapy so you can have a great night’s sleep and feel well-rested, happy, and healthy during the day!

There has never been a better time to find a mask that is perfect for you! Since sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are increasingly diagnosed and treated, the biomedical device industry has responded with innovative options intended to allow more individualized fit and comfort than ever before.

Mask selection requires picking the right type of mask (shape) and the right size for your facial structure.

Understanding CPAP masks:

CPAP masks contain three main parts: a frame, a cushion, and headgear. The frame holds the headgear and the cushions. The cushion is the part that sits on your face; the cushion is usually made with a soft silicone or gel type material that will conform gently to your face to seal the flow of air from the CPAP device. The headgear clips to the frame to hold the entire mask on your face. The headgear is adjustable to allow you to tighten or loosen it as needed.

When selecting your CPAP mask, you will select an anatomical style (shape) and you will select the size that fits your facial structure best. The right size mask will not leak too much, will not move around too easily yet will also not push too hard on your skin.

CPAP Mask Styles:

Nasal CPAP Mask: The nasal mask is the most common type of mask used with CPAP therapy. The nasal mask covers the entire nose. These are typically triangular masks. The tip of the triangle sits above the bridge of the nose, between the eyes. The base of the triangle sits above the lip and below the nose.

Pillow Mask: The pillow mask (often called a nasal pillow mask) fits under the nose and in the nose. The cushion part rests just inside the nares but leaves the rest of the face uncovered. Pillow masks are the gateway to success for many people who could not get comfortable with a triangular-shaped nasal mask in the past.

Full-face CPAP mask: The full-face mask (also called an oronasal mask) covers the nose and the mouth. The top of the mask usually sits above the bridge of the nose between the eyes. Some full-face masks sit higher up on the forehead. The bottom of the full-face mask rests under the mouth on the chin.

Full-face masks may be recommended for mouth breathers, i.e., people who tend to breathe through their mouth instead of the nose. Mouth breathing can cause leaks with nasal masks; these leaks confuse the CPAP machine and cause it to increase the flow to maintain the pressure levels. The increase in flow can be uncomfortable or cause the machine to alarm. Full-face masks may also be recommended by a physician for people who need higher levels of support on their CPAP machines.

Oral CPAP masks: Oral masks cover only the mouth; they sit under the nose and below the mouth near the chin.

Oral masks are useful for people who breathe through their mouths more than their noses (“mouth breathers”) or who do not like having their noses covered.

Oral masks may not be a substitute for a full-face mask for people who need higher levels of support on the CPAP machines.

Sizing is critical to finding the perfect mask:

Once someone has found the mask that works for them, they will often refuse to sleep without their CPAP machine ever again.

The right size mask will not leak too much, will not move around too easily, and will also not push too hard on your skin or get in the way of your field of vision.

Masks are not one size fits all. The best size for you in one type of mask may not be the best size for you in another style of mask or brand of mask. Sizing guides are available to select the optimal size mask for your face.

Headgear also adjusts to help keep the mask on just right. Head size and face size do not always match so it is common to need different sizes. Headgear can be purchased separately if needed to fine-tune mask fit.

Accessories like pads and spacers are available for most masks to allow additional adjustments to provide a better seal with more comfort.

Not sure which CPAP mask or size is right for you? Need to fine-tune the fit of your current mask? Contact our customer service department at 1-855-235-7626 to chat with us. You can email us after hours at and one of our friendly professionals will be happy to help you pick out the best possible CPAP masks and accessories. Start getting a good night’s sleep when you shop with us. When you shop at, you are shopping with confidence knowing that we carry an extensive selection of CPAP masks for personalized therapy. This is a direct result of our experience knowing not all CPAP users are alike, just as each CPAP mask fits differently from user to user.

How can we help?

Not sure exactly what you need? Our therapy package bundles CPAP, accessories, and support for a simple start. Or a Sleep Champion can help direct your shopping experience.

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