Read answers to some of the most common CPAP mask questions - check out our FAQs now!

CPAP mask FAQs

How do I know which mask will fit me? What’s the difference between nasal and nasal pillows? Read the answers to these common questions and more on our FAQ page where you’ll find lots of information to help you understand your CPAP mask better.

What types of mask are available? What’s the difference between them?

There are three main types of mask: full face masks, nasal masksand nasal pillows. And two types of design: tube down or tube up. The right mask will feel comfortable, suit your lifestyle needs, and provide a great seal for effective therapy.

Nasal pillows rest below your nose, at the entrance of your nostrils. They are a streamlined option that provides a clear field of vision and can easily be worn with glasses.

Nasal masks cover your nose. They are smaller and lighter than full face masks but provide more coverage than nasal pillows.

Full face masks cover the nose and mouth, making them the best choice if you breathe through your mouth.

How can I tell which style of mask is best for me?

The mask type that suits you will depend greatly on personal needs and preferences. We recommend asking your doctor or equipment supplier for advice, and trying on masks in various styles to see which is most comfortable.

It’s important to choose a mask that’s comfortable to ensure regular use. When you’re choosing a mask, you might want to:

  • Use our mask categories to help you understand your needs and bedtime habits and find a CPAP mask that meets your requirements.
  • Talk to other mask users.
  • Read mask reviews online.

Sensitive skin? Irritation? Red marks? We can help.

Our mask cushions are made from silicone, which is a hypoallergenic material used in medical appliances and devices. True allergic reactions to silicone are extremely rare. Some people do experience skin irritation, pressure sores or blisters when they wear a mask, but these are usually caused by something else.
If you experience soreness or irritation, it might be that:

  • Your headgear is too loose or too tight. Try readjusting the straps: the mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal.
  • Your mask doesn’t fit well because the style isn’t suitable or the mask is the wrong size. Read your mask user guide for advice on fitting, or ask your physician for recommendations on other models and styles.
  • Your mask is worn out. Inspect the mask cushion and frame for signs of wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks and replace any parts that are not in good condition.
  • Your mask is dirty: silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from your skin and extended contact with these contaminants can irritate the skin.

If you want to try our foam cushion Full face mask, the AirTouch F20, visit the product page now.

What's the correct way to fit a mask?

Your medical equipment provider or sleep physician should have helped you to fit your mask properly when you started treatment. Please note that your mask user guide also contains complete fitting instructions. In general, these factors will affect your fit:



The fit of a mask depends a great deal on your position: a mask that fits well when you’re sitting up might not fit so well when you’re lying down. This is because our facial muscles change when we lie down and relax even further when we’re asleep. Whether you sleep in a bed with no pillows or in a recliner, you should fit your mask in your usual sleeping position.



If you can only get a good seal by tightening the mask until it’s uncomfortable, then you may have the wrong size of mask. Please note that sizing across different masks is not always the same. Talk to your equipment supplier or sleep specialist to be re-fitted with the correct size of mask.



Your mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. If you feel your headgear strap is too loose or too tight, you should try re-adjusting it, or replacing your headgear if it is old or worn out.

If you experience difficulties in fitting your mask, please refer to your mask user guide for instructions or discuss it with your care provider or equipment supplier.

If your mask is properly fitted but still feels uncomfortable, you might need another type of mask. ResMed offers full face masksnasal masks, and nasal pillows; you’ll find that some mask types and models may suit you better than others. Visit your equipment supplier or view ResMed’s complete range of masks here


It can take some time to work out which mask is best for you.
Making that decision can depend on how you breathe during treatment. For instance, do you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose, or do you tend to get a blocked nose?
If you know you have no problem breathing through your nose wearing a mask, you should be able to use a nasal mask or nasal pillows mask.
If you breathe through your mouth (sometimes referred to as ‘mouth breathing’), you can try a full face mask or wear a chin strap to stop your mouth from opening during sleep.

Mouth leak happens if you sleep with your mouth open, and air “leaks” out of your mouth during therapy.

Opening your mouth during sleep can either be out of habit, or it could be because your nose is blocked. Mouth leak can be very uncomfortable and leave you with a dry mouth. (It’s also very noisy; if it doesn’t wake you, it can wake your bed partner.)

If it happens every now and then, you might be able to stop it by wearing a chin strap to keep your mouth closed, or by using a humidifier to stop your nose getting blocked.

If mouth leak happens a lot, you may need to use a full face mask, which covers both your nose and mouth. That way, even if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep, air will not leak out.

The aim of getting a good mask fit is to achieve a stable seal (so that air does not leak out), without compromising your comfort.

If air is leaking out of your mask (mask leak) or your mouth (mouth leak) you won’t get the full benefits of therapy.

The best way to get a good seal is to fit the mask before connecting the tubing or turning on your therapy device. Putting the mask on with the air pressure turned on might crease or twist the cushion/pillows, which could create “leaks.”

Creases in the cushion/pillows can be very small and hard to feel, and most people tend to react by tightening the mask too much to get a good seal, which can be very uncomfortable. Over-tightening the mask can also lead to leaks and therefore should be avoided.

Once your mask is correctly positioned on your face, turn the air flow on. You may need to make minor adjustments with the device turned on to ensure you still have a good seal.

It’s normal to spend some time putting your mask on properly at first. You can use a mirror or ask someone to check if the cushion/pillows are positioned properly.

Incorrect fitting causes many of the problems people have with masks. Each mask type has a specific fitting sequence, so it’s best to follow the steps outlined in your user guide or videos.

The more you can get used to your mask the better. Practice putting it on, taking it off and detaching it from the tubing during the day, so that you feel confident about doing it at night.

It’s important to realise that you’re not expected to know how to fit your mask perfectly the first time. It takes time to perfect, and as you get used to your mask, you will find a way of fitting that works best for you.

And remember: if you’re having difficulty fitting your mask, your care provider is there to help you smooth out any issues.

Please also contact them if you’re finding it difficult to get a good seal; you might have the wrong mask or wrong size.

Your aim is to achieve a snug mask fit – not too loose and not too tight.

It’s hard to get a good seal and comfortable fit if you have the wrong mask size.

If you’re having issues with your mask, check your User Guide to make sure you’re fitting it correctly. Also, check for creases.

Many people fit more than one size. So if the mask is still leaking air (especially around the bridge of the nose for a nasal or full face mask) it might be worth trying a different mask size.

Don’t assume if you’re male you need a large mask size or if you’re female you need a small one. Your mask size depends on the key measurements of your face.

If your mask is making burping or blurting sounds, it’s likely you have a leak. The best-fitting masks may still have some minor leaks, but there should generally be minimal leak from everywhere other than the vent. You can manage small leaks by working on your fitting technique.

Why is my mask leaving marks on my face?

If you often wake up with redness or marks on your skin, try adjusting your mask so that you get a good seal but with less pressure on your face.

If that doesn’t work, here are some tips you can try:

  • Check you have the right mask size.
  • Some masks are available with soft wraps for the headgear straps that act as an extra defence against facial marks.
  • Use Gecko nasal pads to add a layer of padding between the cushion and your skin.
  • If you use a nasal mask or nasal pillows mask, alternate between wearing the nasal mask (which covers your nose) and the nasal pillows mask (which sits at the entrance of your nostrils). This can ease the pressure on different parts of your face.
  • If you use a full face mask, try the AirTouch memory foam cushion

Refer to your user guide for troubleshooting tips that may help solve any issues around facial marks. If you have tried everything and you still have red marks on your face, contact your care provider or equipment supplier.v

It’s important to clean your mask according to the guidelines in your User Guide, so that you can get the most performance out of your equipment, and ultimately, your therapy.
Some people also tend to stick with their old products rather than try newer ones.
If that’s you, you could be missing out on significant improvements and solutions to your therapy challenges. At ResMed, we are committed to continually improving our products, and packing them with features to keep you treated and comfortable.
Find out when and how to clean and replace your mask.

‘Tube drag’ is when your tube pulls on your mask and affects the seal, causing leaks.
If you don’t realise it’s happening, you can find yourself tightening the mask for the wrong reasons and causing more leaks.
Many masks are designed to manage a certain level of tube drag. With the device turned on, pull gently on the tube to find out what tube drag feels like.
Roll around a bit in bed to see if your tube gives you enough room to move, and how much tubing you actually need. Most masks have longer tubing available if you need it.

Keep exploring

You’ll enjoy a better therapy experience with the right CPAP mask. But how can you choose the right option among the many styles and sizes of mask available?


Learn more by watching real people share their personal experience of sleep apnoea therapy. They discuss the ups and downs and share their tips for enjoying successful CPAP or MRD therapy.  


Track your sleep therapy progress from the palm of your hand with the myAir online support programme. It’s included with any ResMed Air10 device.


1. ResMed external 14-day clinical study of 23 ResMed patients, conducted between 30/05/2018 – 22/06/2018. Data on file; ID A4387859.

4. Weaver, T.E. and R.R. Grunstein, Adherence to continuous positive airway pressure therapy: the challenge to effective treatment. Proc Am Thorac Soc, 2008. 5(2): p. 173-8