Watch Our CPAP Mask Overview Video!
Common CPAP Mask Questions
2.) Other Types of CPAP Masks
3.) How to Choose a CPAP Mask?
4.) What Size Mask Do I Need?
5.) Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Mask?
6.) How Long Do CPAP Masks Last?
7.) What Are Some Good Ways to Reduce Red Marks?
What is a CPAP Mask?
A CPAP mask is the main point of contact that provides air from a CPAP machine to your airways via your nose, mouth, or both. If someone has a mask with a good fit, it can help make CPAP therapy more comfortable and effective. A face mask is easily the most important part of your CPAP therapy. It can come in 3 different main styles: full face, nasal, and nasal pillow. Let's go over these in greater detail:
A full face mask is a mask that fits around the mouth AND the nose. They are intended mostly for individuals that breathe through their mouth and are preferred over Oral face masks because they allow for breathing through the nose too.
A nasal mask covers the nostrils and is gently strapped in place with a set of headgear straps. As you breathe through the nose, the air is delivered to the nasal mask and enters the airway by breathing normally. These are some of the most popular mask styles on the market today.
Nasal Pillow Mask
A nasal pillow mask provides therapy air to the nose by fitting around each nostril with comfortable pillows. This adds comfort for some, and many swear by their pillow mask.
Other Types of CPAP Masks
There are four other types of CPAP masks that are less commonly used. These are hybrid, oral, nasal prong, and total face.
Hybrid masks are a combination full face and pillow mask. They use nasal pillows and an oral mask to seal around the mouth. Because of this, their masks have an open field of view and allow anyone to read a book or watch TV. Some full face users find it difficult to switch to this type of mask though, feeling that the nasal pillows cause nasal irritation.
Oral facemasks cover the mouth only and do not cover the nose at all. Oral masks are not as popular as the full face type because you actually have to bite down on the mask while you sleep. Some individuals have also found that the air intake can get blown out the nose, which isn't comfortable.
Nasal Prong masks are similar to nasal pillows except they actually come with 2 prongs that are inserted deeper into the nose. You would need one if you couldn't get a good fit from the nasal pillows and the nasal type was unsuitable for you. The nasal prong type can sometimes cause irritation inside the nose, and it's not widely used for that reason.
If all else fails, and no other mask will work, the total face mask is the last option. It's called a total face mask because it fits around the entire face. The total face type may be needed if air is leaking in other places. Because this mask is almost a last resort and isn't very comfortable, it's not very popular.
CPAP.com offers a free return policy, so if you buy a mask and don't like it for any reason, you can return it for a refund or exchange within 30 days.
How to Choose a CPAP Mask?
You may not realize it, but in some ways, a mask chooses you, not the other way around! You'll get the most out of CPAP therapy if you get one that accurately reflects how you actually sleep, not how you'd like to sleep. Start by asking anyone who's been around you when you sleep. Depending on how you answer, this is going to be your first step in choosing a new mask. If you sleep with your mouth open, you'll need a full face mask, or you could use a chinstrap and try a nasal. If you sleep with your mouth shut, you have a few more options. You can go with a nasal pillow or a nasal mask.
All of our masks have a free return policy, which means you can return any you don't want to keep (within 30 days) for a full refund!
What Size Mask Do I Need?
Many of our masks have a mask fitting guide available that's published by the manufacturer, and when we can we'll include it on our website. Many customers find that using fitting guides are very beneficial when picking a mask.
Finding that perfect mask fit can be tricky so before you decide on buying a CPAP mask, read our five tips on getting the right mask fit!
Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Mask?
You need a prescription to buy a CPAP mask. They (along with CPAP Devices) are considered Class II Medical Devices, and per federal and state regulations, a prescription must be on file before you can buy one. There is one exception to this rule. With some mask manufacturers, you can buy an Assembly Kit (basically a mask without headgear) and the Assembly Kit would not require a prescription. Some people are able to use this as a way to get around the prescription requirement. CPAP.com sells both CPAP masks and Mask Assembly Kits on our website.
How Long Do CPAP Masks Last?
Your CPAP cushion should be replaced once every 3 months, and your complete mask should be replaced once every 6 months..
What Are Some Good Ways to Reduce Red Marks?
Irritation can be a common experience with masks. Red marks can appear from over-tightening, and red marks can come from the silicone used with some mask brands. Ultimately, you want the fit to be firm but comfortable, but not too tight. You can buy a mask liner that can wrap around the silicone portion of the mask, making it much easier to wear. Many individuals find mask liners make the experience of wearing their mask much more comfortable and bearable.