Clothing & Accessories · Sports & Outdoors

What is a Rash Guard and Why Do I Need One?

rash guardThere’s a new wave hitting the swim fashion scene: rash guards.  Sometimes marketed as swim tees, these full-coverage shirts were initially introduced for surfers.  They are traditionally long-sleeved athletic gear that help protect surfers from abrasions and sunburn while they’re at their craft.  They particularly help protect against irritation that occurs when you’re paddling out to sea on a surfboard, and aren’t hot like wetsuits.  Recently they’ve hit the mainstream in a big way.

There are tons of stylish options for women, men, and kids, our favorites being from Lands’ End.  At the moment, they’re going for $14.99 and up.  Sale prices combined with the fact that it’s hard to argue with Lands’ End’s quality when it comes to outdoor apparel make it prime time to shop before your beach vacation.  Style isn’t the only reason to buy these tops, though.  Check out all the other reasons having a rash guard in your wardrobe is a sound idea:


Protect Your Skin

The number one reason to wear a rash guard is UV protection.  Check the rash guard for UPF levels, which are equivalent to SPF levels in sunscreen.  UPF is the measurement used when you’re talking about a fabric’s resistance to ultraviolet rays.  Even if you don’t burn, your skin is still at risk from UVA and UVB rays when you’re spending time in the sun.  The exposure can lead to skin damage and even cancer long-term.

Because of the long-term risk, it’s important to start protecting against damage early.  Protecting yourself is important, but so is protecting your kids.  Rash guards are a lot easier than lathering your kids up with lotion every thirty to sixty minutes.  You’ll still have to apply to exposed areas, but you won’t have to hit the entire chest, stomach, and back on boys, and you’ll avoid the pain of getting under swimsuit straps for girls when you have them wearing rash guards.


Rash Guards Dry Quickly

Rash guards are made out of material that will dry quickly.  They are generally made with nylon and Lycra, with higher percentages of Lycra being used for sport-centered thermals. For everyday wear, higher percentages of nylon serve just fine.  The fabric composition and UPF protection make them superior to swimming with a normal tee.  It also makes them versatile.  Whatever summer activity you’re doing, poolside or not, they’ll wick sweat away quickly.


Cover Up

Not completely comfortable in a bikini?  A rash guard covers a lot more, but doesn’t scream, “Lack of confidence!” like an over-sized tee would.  In fact, right now they’re a pretty stylish way to cover up without anyone thinking twice.  When you know you’ll be wearing one all the time, you even have a little bit of freedom when you are shopping for your suit.  If you find bottoms that you love, you don’t necessarily have to find the matching top.  You’ll be able to choose the top that’s the most affordable and still provides enough support, without worrying about the print matching your bottoms.