June 16, 2017
July 24, 2017


The Mask

Correctly fitting and wearing a mask for scuba diving is not as easy as it looks. The problems that occur from an ill fitting mask can spoil your dive. Not having a brand new mask treated before you wear it for the first time leads to more problems. Over tightening of a mask is a problem all by its self!

Looking Through the Glass

Let’s start at the beginning. When you are trying a mask on for the first time fitting is everything. Place the mask on your face and breathe in through your nose making a seal against your face. Look down and remove your hands and the mask should stick to your face. You now have a mask seal. Next loosen the mask straps. A mask should fit to your face with out any pressure. The mask should just pull away from your face with little effort. The mask is tight enough, and the water pressure will hold it against your face.

Treating the Glass

When you have a new mask there is always a silicone film on the inside of the glass. This silicone film happens during manufacture of the mask when sealing the skirt to the glass. The light film will cause the mask to fog. No amount of defogger or salvia will change it. To remove the film there are several methods, you can carefully use a cigarette lighter and burn the film off. You can see it burning away as you do it. Caution don’t get to close to the skirt. After this you can take tooth paste and rub it into the glass. It will break the rest of the film up. You leave the tooth paste in the mask for about 15 minutes then rinse and use the mask.

You can just use tooth paste on its own and leave for a few hours then rinse and use. In some cases you may need to do the tooth paste a second time. I have found the more expensive the mask the more treatment that is needed!

General Fitting of a Mask

When you are fitting a mask for scuba diving it is always interesting. For example, PADI Open Water Course students learning mask cleaning for the first time may have trouble if the mask is tight. Also consider face and nose shapes as with a lot of Asia people if the mask skirt is pushed up against the nose they will have trouble clearing it. It does not help if the mask is too tight as they will struggle to re-adjust the mask on their face. This can lead to students panicking in the pool when they are trying to learn this skill.


Scuba diving masks that are fitted correctly are comfortable to wear. If the mask is too tight it will leave marks on the divers face. Excessive fogging maybe the mask has not been treated? Face shapes make a difference to fitting of the mask. Follow simple fitting rules and the mask will be comfortable on the face as it was designed to be.

Mark Cornell
PADI IDC Staff Instructor 331032
Gili Air


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