Full Face CPAP Mask Fitting Guide

August 15, 2016 | By Peter Stanza | Filed in: CPAP Advice.

[SIPC_Content]Fitting a Full Face Mask can be a real challenge. Of all of the masks, Full Face masks are the most prone to problems, as there are many more places where they can leak or cause discomfort. The following fitting guide will help you get a better fitting full face mask, and get the most out of it. If everyone could use a nasal mask, it would certainly life much easier. But we are all different, and this is why full face masks exist.

Fitting Guide Step-By-Step Instructions

1. When choosing the mask you want to try, look carefully at the following:

    – Is the cushion big enough from the top to the bottom? Most full face masks fit from the top of your nasal bridge, to below your lip, but above your chin. Make sure the inside cushion measurement is long enough and will fit your face.

    – How wide do you need the mask cushion? Remember it’s the inside measurement between each side of the cushion that’s important, not the outside. If you have a broad nose, a wider cushion at the top of the cushion may be suitable, if you have a wide mouth, a wide opening at the bottom of the cushion.

    – Do you have a flat, or prominent nasal bridge? A mask which allows significant adjustment of the mask angle may help here
    Prominent brow? – This can affect the adjustment of the mask across the nose, a full face mask without forehead support may be more suitable.

    – Does your jaw tend to drop when you are asleep? Open-face (i.e. no forehead support) masks tend to work better here, as they allow for more adjustment at the bottom of the mask. Often you won’t find this out until you start using CPAP. Ask your bed partner to keep an eye on you when you take the mask home to try.

2. Standing or sitting, adjust the headgear so that the mask feels like it is just sitting in place (very loose).

3. If a bed is available, lay down on your back. If not, similar (but somewhat less effective) manouvers can be performed whilst sitting up.

4. Attach the mask to the CPAP machine, and turn it on.

5. Lift the mask off your face, allowing the cushion to fill with air. Let the mask settle back onto your face, and adjust the headgear as required. It should be comfortable and not tight.

Expert Tip: Use your fingers to test how tight the mask is. You should be able to fit two stacked fingers between your cheek and your mask strap.

6. If the mask is leaking around the eyes, lift the mask from your face slightly, sit the cushion slightly lower on the bridge of your nose. Whilst slightly sliding the mask up a bit on the bridge of your nose, roll the mask onto your face from the nose downwards.

7. Try to seal the leaks either side of your nose by pulling your cheeks out either side, and with a toothy smile.

8. Try to seal leaks under your mouth and around your mouth by moving your jaw side-to-side, up and down, forward and back.

9. If a bed is available, turn over to one side and make any necessary adjustments for mask leak. Mask leaks around the nose can usually be improved actions bringing the cushion tighter to the nose. To help seal mask leaks around the mouth, tighten the bottom straps. Turn over onto your other side, and repeat.

(If a bed isn’t available, you can help simulate these movements by pushing firmly on either side of the mask, just like a pillow would)

10. Remember not to tighten the mask too much! It’s going to be on your head for up to 10 hours, and any slight discomfort will be exasperated over this time frame.

If, after these steps the mask doesn’t fit correctly, return to the first step.

11. Take the mask home, and try it for a week. If it causes any sore points on your face, take it back to the supplier so you can try a different one.


Remember, there are dozens upon dozens of different CPAP masks out there to try. You might have to try 10 different masks, but once you find the right one it can make all of the difference.


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