CPAP Mask FAQ (click to reveal the answer)
1) What CPAP mask is right for me?
A CPAP Machine is primarily used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnoea; a sleep disorder that causes multiple breathing interruptions throughout the night. It is typically caused by the throat collapsing, blocking or restricting the airflow. A CPAP machine blows air into the airway, creating enough pressure to prevent the airway from closing and therefore allowing the patient to breath without interruption.
2) Why is my CPAP mask leaking?
If your CPAP mask previously sealed well and is now starting to leak then the cushion may be reaching the end of its life. Through use the silicone used in most CPAP masks loses strength and becomes sloppier and therefore less able to maintain a seal. Tightening the headgear can offset this to a degree but eventually this will not be sufficient. This tends to happen after around 9 months but can happen earlier. Replacing the cushion should solve that problem; though if the cushion alone is not replaceable then a new CPAP mask would be required.
If the mask is new and even after following fitting guides and videos (most masks have excellent fitting guides on YouTube from other CPAP users that we recommend) but are still finding the mask leaks then it may be the wrong size. Leaks into the eyes are particularly suggestive of the CPAP mask being too big, either in height or width. A smaller size may solve the problem.
If the mask seals well initially but gets dislodged by your pillow when you change position, then you can consider a CPAP pillow. These feature cut outs designed for your CPAP mask to fall into when you sleep on your side and therefore stops the mask from dislodging. You can find our Ultra CPAP Pillow here
3) How do I prevent red marks from my CPAP mask?
Red marks are caused by yur skin being irrirated by silicone. Often this can be reduced by loosening the headgear straps, reducing the pressure on the skin. However, if this causes air to leak then another solution would need to be found. A popular option is to use a CPAP mask liner to provide a protective barrier between the CPAP mask and your skin. In our experience the most popular and effective liners are the RemZzzs fabric CPAP mask liners
. Another option would be to try a fabric mask, which put far less pressure on the skin and the fabric is far less likely to provoke a skin reaction than silicone. You can find the SleepWeaver CPAP mask range here.
4) How long does a CPAP mask last for?
The average life span of a CPAP mask is around 9 months; sometimes this can be longer and sometimes shorter. The life depends on a number of factors; how often it is used (and for long long), how it is a washed (and how often), the wearer's skin oils and sweat levels and numerous other factors. Over time the cushion on the mask will wear out, much like if you were to wear the same shoes every day. When this happens, its ability to maintain a good seal reduces. Many CPAP masks have replacable cushions which provide a more cost-effective way of replacing the worn cushion rather than replacing the entire mask.
5) Which CPAP masks are compatible with my CPAP machine?
CPAP machines use a standardised 22mm connection, allowing you to use any CPAP mask with any CPAP machine. Please note that CPAP masks are not typically compatible with ventilators.
6) Which is the best CPAP mask?
All CPAP machines come with the machine, power supply, tubing, some filters and a user manual. Most also come with a carry bag. Details of exactly what is included with each CPAP machine can be found on its respective page. If it is the first CPAP machine you have purchased from us then we will include our "Setting Up and Settling In" guide to CPAP therapy free of charge.
7) How do I clean my CPAP mask?
No, we never include a CPAP mask simply because there is no one mask that suits everybody. We would therefore be charging for something which may well not suit you. We therefore provide our CPAP machines without a mask, to keep the cost down and allow you to choose a mask that you feel suits your requirements. If you are unsure which CPAP mask to go for, you can read our useful guide here.
8) Do I need a prescription to buy a CPAP mask?
No. You need to provide written confirmation of CPAP suitability when ordering a machine, but this is not required for a CPAP mask. You will need to tick a self-declaration of CPAP usage at the checkout but this is all that is required.
9) Which CPAP masks work well with beards?
The most simple solution would be to use a Nasal Pillows CPAP mask
, as this avoids contact with the skin. They instead use two cones that sit on the entrance to the nostrils. However if you require a full face CPAP mask then a little extra creativity may be required. Some bearded CPAP patients use lanolin to soften the hairs and allow the CPAP mask to fit more easily. Those with beards are advised to use a gel mask if possible, as the cushions are usually more adaptable and can often compensate for facial hair better than a regular silicone mask.
10) What do I do if my CPAP mask is causing nasal congestion?
Around a third of patients will experience nasal congestion when using a CPAP mask. The increased airflow through the nasal passages can dry them out and cause irritation. The use of a humidifier is often the solution to the problem, as this humidifies the air and provides moisture to the nasal passages. This also helps those who wake with a dry mouth. Another option for those with chronic sinus and nasal issues would be a nasal irrigator, such as the SinuPulse Elite
. This flushes out the sinuses with a salt solution, helping to reduce inflammation, moisturise the passages and clear blockages and congestion. Regular nasal irrigation can have significant health benefits. You can find out more about it here
Did you know CPAP Masks are not CPAP Machine specific?
That's right, just because you currently use a CPAP machine manufactured by Resmed, Philips, Fisher & Paykel or Somnetics, it doesn't mean that you have to buy an identical replacement CPAP mask. All CPAP masks use a standardised connector to the breathing tube, and hence are interchangeable between machines.
For many of our customers, an alternative mask can be more comfortable, creates a better seal, or just leaves fewer pressure masks than the mask that came with their CPAP machine. Everyone's face is different, particularly around the bridge of the nose, and different masks sometimes just feel 'right'. If your current mask isn't comfortable, give us a call and we could make a few suggestions for alternatives. Back
Choosing the correct size CPAP Mask:
Please remember that just because you currently use a Large CPAP mask, it doesn't mean that every mask will be an suitable fit for you in a Large size. Sizing gauges are available for download or can be requested to be sent to you in the post. In the Description tab for each product you will find links to Sizing gauges - these will let you work out whether you are S, M or L for a specific CPAP mask. Back
Why should I replace my CPAP Mask?
Over time, oils from your skin will damage the silicone in the mask seal. Depending on the type of silicone used, most mask seals will become softer over time. When the mask makes a poor seal, air will escape and make your CPAP therapy much less effective. You or your partner might hear a hissing or burping noise from the air leak, you also may have very dry eyes in the morning. Whilst you can tighten the mask straps to try to compensate somewhat, when the mask seal gets degraded sufficiently, you will need to replace your CPAP Mask.
How often should I replace my CPAP Mask?
We find masks tend to last on average around 8-12 months (depending how diligently they are cleaned among numerous other factors). CPAP masks are a "consumable" that needs replacing to maintain effective treatment. If you use RemZzzs Mask Liners, you should experience fewer red marks, but you'll also increase the usable life of your mask by reduce the oil that can damage the silicone. Examining the data card in your CPAP Machine to see how many apnoeas you have during the night is a good way of knowing how effectively your CPAP treatment is working.
Please don't hesitate to Contact us if you are not sure which CPAP mask is right for you. We're sure we can make some suggestions for alternatives that you may find greatly improve the quality of your sleep and the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment. Back