Is a Full Face Mask Right For You?
When it comes to sleep apnea therapy, a quality CPAP machine is only part of the equation. The right CPAP mask is essential for delivering the pressurized air to your breathing passages during the night to prevent sleep apnea events.
That being said, there are several different types of CPAP masks — and not all masks are created equal. Different fits and even your own sleep habits can have a major influence on which type of mask will work best for your needs.
Full face masks are one of the most popular types of masks, but are they right for you? Here are some key things you should be aware of as you make your decision.
How Does a Full Face Mask Work?
Full face masks go over both the mouth and nose, making them the largest type of CPAP mask. By covering more of the face, the mask is able to trap pressurized air inside, where the user can then inhale it through the nose or mouth. Other masks only deliver airflow directly to the nose.
Full face masks use adjustable side straps and head gear to stay in place. To ensure a proper fit, users should adjust the mask when they first put it on, and then readjust as needed after they lay down. As with other CPAP masks, a full face mask should be snug, yet comfortable. It shouldn’t feel overly tight against the skin.
Common Recommendations For Who Should Use Full Face Masks
There are several situations when a full face mask is more likely to be recommended by a sleep specialist.
It should come as no surprise that the most common need for using a full face mask is for individuals who breathe through their mouth during sleep. After all, a nasal mask that only covers the nose won’t be of much use if you regularly breathe through your mouth. This is often the case for people who have allergies or other medical issues that result in frequent nasal congestion.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, full face masks are often recommended for people who experience feelings of claustrophobia while wearing a CPAP mask. This is because the full face mask rests on the outer part of the face, rather than the nose and upper lip, which can help the mask feel less constrictive.
Full face masks can also deliver more comfortable therapy for individuals whose sleep apnea requires a high air pressure setting. Thanks to its wider surface area, a full face mask keeps pressurized air from being directly sent into the breathing passages. This makes the treatment more comfortable than it would be if the high-pressure air was delivered directly to the nostrils using nasal pillows.
Finally, many people who sleep on their backs prefer full face masks because they provide a good seal. Because full face masks use more support straps, they can also be a good option for restless sleepers.
Potential Drawbacks of Full Face Masks
While full face masks can work well for many people, they do have a few potential drawbacks that could keep them from being a good option for you.
Because of their larger size, full face masks are naturally heavier than nasal masks or nasal pillows. The added weight could be uncomfortable for some people. In addition, the larger surface area means that if the mask isn’t adjusted properly, it will be more likely to have air leaks. Leaks are especially common around the bridge of the nose, which could cause air to go onto the eyes, resulting in dryness and irritation.
Full face masks generally aren’t recommended for men with beards due to the potential for air leaks. Facial hair can keep the mask from forming an airtight seal against the skin, making such leaks more likely. Nasal pillows are generally recommended instead.
Full face masks can also be uncomfortable for people who sleep on their side or stomach. The bulk of the mask makes it more likely to press uncomfortably against the pillow and potentially get displaced, making air leaks more likely. People who prefer to put their CPAP mask on before they go to sleep may also not like how a full face mask can disrupt their view while trying to read or watch TV.
If you’re not sure whether a full face mask is right for you, consult with a sleep specialist. They can help you determine the right option based on factors like your sleep habits, prescribed CPAP setting, and face shape. And if your current mask seems uncomfortable, they can help you find a more suitable alternative.
Find Your CPAP Mask at Help Medical Supplies
Full face masks can be an excellent choice for your sleep apnea therapy — but they’re not for everyone. By understanding the pros and cons of this mask style and consulting with a sleep specialist, you can determine which mask style will work best for you.
Of course, buying a CPAP mask on top of all your other CPAP supplies can become a bit of a financial burden, particularly if you don’t have health insurance coverage. This is where Help Medical Supplies can make a difference. We offer discounted prices on a wide range of CPAP masks, as well as free shipping on all orders of $89 or more.
Whether you’re ordering a mask to go with a new CPAP machine or need a replacement for aging equipment, you can expect timely delivery and quality service so you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep.