FAQs: How can I make my mask more comfortable?

Mask comfort

A comfortable mask is easier to wear and provides a better treatment experience. To help you improve your experience and reduce discomfort, we've provided answers to some frequently asked questions below. We hope they will help you to make your mask more comfortable. 

My mask is uncomfortable. What should I do?

If your mask is uncomfortable, you should try re-fitting your mask, try a different size of mask, or try a different type of mask. 

  • Fit. Mask discomfort can be caused by an incorrect fit, so we recommend that you re-fit your mask using the fitting instructions in your mask user guide. You should fit your mask while you are in your sleeping position: our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep! You can also check out the mask fitting videos found in our CPAP mask product section, or read our FAQs on mask fitting.
  • Size. If you can only get a good seal by tightening the mask until it’s uncomfortable, then you may have the wrong size. 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.
  • Type. If your mask still feels uncomfortable, you might need another type of mask. ResMed offers full face masks, nasal 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.

Please note that if you are using a ResMed mask that has a MicroFit™ Dial, your clinician will have set the dial at the optimal position. Making significant adjustments to the position of the dial might result in discomfort.

My mask is leaking. How can I fix this?                                   

'Mask leak' is a common problem that can occur if your mask doesn't seal properly or doesn't fit your face properly. There are many reasons why your mask might be leaking air:  

  • Poor adjustment or fit. We recommend that you re-fit your mask using the fitting instructions in your mask user guide. You should fit your mask while you are in your sleeping position: our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep. You can also check out the mask fitting videos found in our CPAP mask product section, or read our FAQs on mask fitting.
  • Incorrect assembly.  Please see your mask user guide for information on assembling your mask. You can download the user guide from the support page for your mask.
  • Wrong size of mask. Talk to your equipment supplier or sleep specialist to be re-fitted with the correct size of mask.
  • Wrong type of mask. If your mask is the right size and is properly fitted but is still leaking, you might need another type of mask. For example, a full face mask can completely eliminate mouth leaks. Visit your equipment supplier or view ResMed's complete range of masks here.
  • Needs replacement. Your mask might be leaking because it's old or worn out. Please see your mask user guide for information, or read our FAQs on mask replacement.
  • Cleanliness. Dirt, oils and residues from your skin and your surroundings can build up on your mask if they are not removed daily. You should clean your mask every day to optimise the seal and efficiency. Read our FAQs on mask cleaning.

If you're still having problems with leaks, why not try using a heated humidifier or one of the latest positive pressure (PAP) devices .Our new PAP devices automatically measure and compensate for unintentional leaks to ensure the correct pressure is maintained. Heated humidifiers can greatly reduce mouth breathing and nasal congestion, both of which are associated with leaks. 

My mask is really noisy at night. What should I do? 

If your mask is noisy, it might mean that it doesn't seal properly. See our recommendations above: make sure your mask is properly fitted, correctly assembled, clean and in good condition. If you're still having problems, talk to your sleep specialist and ask to try a different size or type of mask.

Remember to fit your mask while you are in your sleeping position: if you sleep in a bed with no pillows, fit your mask like that; if you sleep in a recliner, fit your mask that way. This is important because our facial muscles change when we lie down and they relax even more when we sleep.

Mask noise can also be an indication that your mask is leaking air. This is a common problem that can arise if your mask doesn't seal properly or doesn't fit your face properly. Please see the previous answer for suggestions on how to resolve this problem. 

How can I keep my mask on at night? I often remove it in my sleep.

If you're removing your mask in your sleep, you're probably suffering from nasal congestion. If you have a history of sinus and allergy problems, you may be better treated with a full face mask and/or humidification. You should discuss this with your health professional.

Which is more comfortable? A nasal mask or full face mask?

Everyone is different! Full face masks cover more of your face, while nasal masks and nasal pillows masks cover less. It really does come down to personal preference and which type of mask best suits your needs.

Our full face masks are a good option if you suffer from nasal congestion or tend to breathe through your mouth when you sleep. 

Will facial hair affect the comfort or seal of my mask? 

If you have facial hair, some masks might work better for you than others. Contact your equipment supplier to find out whether a different style of mask might offer more comfort or a better fit.

My mask irritates my skin. Does this mean I have an allergic reaction to my mask? What should I do?

ResMed 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. In fact, skin irritation, sores (pressure sores) and blisters are more commonly caused by other associated factors rather than the silicone material itself.

If you are suffering from skin irritation, it might be that:

  • Your headgear strap is too loose or too tight. Try re-adjusting it, or replacing your headgear if it is old or worn out. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal.
  • Your mask doesn't fit well, because it's the wrong size or an unsuitable style. Consult your mask user guide or quick-fitting guide, or consult your CPAP therapist for a mask fitting. A different style of mask may provide a better fit. The answers to the first two questions on this page also provide recommendations that might be helpful.
  • Your mask is old and worn out. Inspect your mask cushion and frame for wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks. Replace either the mask or parts that are worn out. You might find it helpful to read our FAQs on mask replacement
  • Your mask is dirty. Silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from your skin. Extended contact with these contaminants during the night may irritate the skin. You should wash your mask daily according to user guide instructions with mild detergent or diluted liquid detergent and warm water (30°C/86°F). We also recommend that you wash your face before bed to remove excess facial oils, ideally with a pH neutral detergent, and avoid using facial lotions and creams where your mask comes into contact with your face as these products may interfere with mask seal and potentially degrade the quality of the cushion over time. You might find it helpful to read our FAQs on mask cleaning.

If you're still having issues with skin irritation, try placing some porous hypoallergenic skin tape (ask your pharmacist) over sensitive or irritated areas to create a barrier between the skin and the mask, or speak to your doctor or equipment supplier.

Please consult your doctor or equipment supplier if these problems persist. 

My mask irritates my nose. What should I do? 

If you are suffering from nasal irritation, a heated humidifier might help. Constant air flow, especially at high treatment pressures, can lead to dryness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds. Humidifiers provide relief from nasal irritation and dryness by adding warmth and moisture to the air delivered by the CPAP or bilevel system.

There are also nasal oil products available in most chemists and pharmacies to help treat and prevent dryness.

Please consult your doctor or equipment supplier if these problems persist. 

My mask leaves marks on my face and the bridge of my nose is sore in the morning. What should I do? 

If your mask leaves marks on your face, or if the bridge of your nose is sore, you are probably having to strap the mask too tightly to make a seal. Please see the answers to the first two questions on this page for suggestions on improving the fit and seal of your mask. 

If these problems persist, why not try SoftWraps or Gecko nasal pads? SoftWraps provide gentle cloth padding to your mask's silicone headgear, helping to stop your mask slipping and reducing the appearance of strap marks on your face. The Gecko nasal pad is a comfortable, soft strip that is placed across the nasal bridge to help reduce skin irritation and facial sores, minimise mask leak, and improve overall mask comfort. 

My eyes keep watering. What should I do? 

If your eyes are sore, your mask might be leaking. This is a common problem that can arise if your mask doesn't seal properly or doesn't fit your face properly. For suggestions on how to resolve this problem, please see the answers to the first two questions on this page. 

My doctor says that my nose is blocked on one side from a deviated septum. Which type of mask is best for my situation?

If you have a deviated septum, you probably breathe through your mouth some of the time. A full face mask will give you the option of breathing through your nose and/or mouth. If your mouth is dry in the morning, that's a good indication that you’re breathing through your mouth while you sleep.

I find it difficult to sleep because my mask gets in the way. What should I do? 

You might find a Contour CPAP Pillow helpful. With the Contour Pillow, your mask is less likely to rub or press on your face, which increases comfort and can also reduce leakage caused by distortion. It helps you sleep more comfortably while wearing your CPAP mask whether you sleep on your side, your back or your stomach, and it also helps to create a more open airway for easier breathing.

Do you have a question about mask comfort that isn’t on this page? Click here to submit an online enquiry.

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