How to Avoid CPAP Marks and Lines on Your Face

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Loosening the straps of your mask to avoid face marks or lines when using your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine isn't always a good idea. A CPAP mask should fit comfortably, but be tight enough that air doesn't leak out. Pressure marks on the face are often a consequence of that.

Selecting the right mask style, making you have a proper fit, and using mask pads and liners are just a few things you can try to reduce face marks your CPAP leaves behind while still getting effective treatment.

This article covers strategies you can use to help avoid getting CPAP marks on your face.

Mannequin wearing a full face mask
Brandon Peters, M.D.

Use the Right Type of Mask

The amount of contact between your face and the mask will determine how likely it is to leave marks. Mask type and size both factor into this.

Mask options generally include:

  • Nasal pillows, which are plastic inserts that fit inside the nostrils
  • Nasal mask, which fits over the nose
  • Full-face mask, which covers the nose and mouth
  • Total-face mask, which covers the entire face

A smaller mask may be better for you if your current one is leaving face marks or lines.

Speak to your healthcare provider about what options are best for you and if it's worth switching.

Optimize the Fit

Once you have selected the best size, be sure to check that the mask fits snugly without shifting or gaps.

Ensuring your mask fits properly can help reduce face marks and minimizes air leakage, which may improve the overall quality of the CPAP therapy.

Keep in mind that higher pressures often require a tighter mask, which puts you more at risk of developing CPAP marks and lines on your face.

Speak with your sleep specialist or healthcare provider if you aren't sure if your mask fits properly.

If you are prone to bruising or bleeding easily, or develop sores, ulcers, scarring, roughness, or discoloration where your CPAP mask touches your skin, be sure to speak with your sleep specialist about other CPAP mask options.

Use CPAP Mask Padding and Liners

Many masks have padding or covers for the straps. These should be used if you notice marks on your face in the morning.

If you need a little extra padding between the mask and your face, you may have a few additional options, including disposable or washable products, and in some cases, pads or liners that are tailored to fit your particular mask.

Examples include:

  • REMZzz liners, which are a soft fabric barriers that can help reduce allergic reactions to mask materials and minimizes marks
  • Silent Night liners, which are thick fabric liners that work with full-face masks and nasal masks to create a better seal and reduce face marks and irritation
  • PAD A CHEEK, which is a company that manufactures a wide array of liners, strap pads, and anti-leak mask stabilizers
  • Gecko nasal pads or LiquiCel nasal cushions, which work with full-face masks and some nasal masks to reduce skin pressure, improve mask seal, and reduce slipping

Barrier creams or lotions, such as RoEzIt, may also reduce marks caused by allergic reactions. If an allergy persists despite the use of a liner or barrier cream, reach out to your sleep specialist to see if you need to switch to a different mask.

Sleep Changes for Avoiding CPAP Marks and Lines

Sleeping on your back may help with CPAP lines or marks, as it reduces the pressure against the mask. To keep your position, you may need to bolster yourself with cushions to prevent rolling.

If you find it difficult to sleep on your back, ask your healthcare provider about a CPAP pillow, which has a special cutout to reduce direct pressure on the mask.


To help avoid CPAP marks and lines on your face, there are a few things you can do, including selecting the proper mask for your needs, ensuring that it fits properly, and using mask pads and liners.

Making certain sleep adjustments, such as sleeping on your back, or using a CPAP pillow to reduce pressure on the mask may also help.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Alqahtani JS, AlAhmari MD. Evidence based synthesis for prevention of noninvasive ventilation related facial pressure ulcersSaudi Med J. 2018;39(5):443–452. doi:10.15537/smj.2018.5.22058

  2. American Association of Sleep Technologists. Which cpap mask is best for your patient? Pros and cons of various mask types.

  3. Rowland S, Aiyappan V, Hennessy C, et al. Comparing the efficacy, mask leak, patient adherence, and patient preference of three different CPAP interfaces to treat moderate-severe obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(1):101–108. doi:10.5664/jcsm.6892

By Brandon Peters, MD
Brandon Peters, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist.