Everything You Need To Know About Rash Guards

Last Updated on March 7, 2021 by

What are rash guards? These are a type of protective clothing worn beneath wetsuits to protect your skin from rashes. Rash guards are made of Spandex combined with either nylon or polyester. Anyone who loves watersports needs to wear a rash guard for protection from harmful sunrays, jellyfish stings, and abrasion from sand particles.

What Does A Rash Guard Do?

The purpose of a rash guard is to protect your skin from irritation by salty water. Rashguards also have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) to protect you from harmful UV rays. When surfing, a rash guard is essential since it protects you from friction and discomfort caused by contact with the surfing board.

What Do You Wear Under A Rash Guard?

What you wear under a rash guard is a matter of preference. Most people prefer to wear either a sports bra or a bikini. You can also wear a swimsuit or swim brief for men if you like. Always ensure you try out whatever you plan to wear under your rash guard before you go into the water. Trying out your swimsuit or bra will ensure that you choose something comfortable and well-fitting.

How Should A Rash Guard Fit?

Rash guards are designed to fit snugly and conform to your body’s shape. A loose-fitting rash guard will rub and cause chaffing on your skin, making it counter-effective. If you do not like a tight rash guard, opt for a swim shirt rash guard or look for one that is stretchy.

What Is The Difference Between A Rash Guard And A Wetsuit?

While both are designed for safety and comfort in water sports, they are very different. A wetsuit is ideal for swimming in cold water since it is heat-insulated while a rash guard protects you from rashes and irritation. A rash guard is often worn under a wetsuit to reduce friction and irritation.

Benefits Of Wearing A Rash Guard

Rash guards are a bit pricier compared to regular swim shirts, but they are absolutely worth the fuss. Here are some advantages of wearing rash guards when going for water adventures;

1. Prevents Rashes And Skin Abrasions

The main reason for wearing rash guards is to protect your skin from rashes and irritation. When surfing or swimming, sand comes into contact with our bodies, causing friction and irritation. Rash guards are designed to fit tight onto our skin, thus preventing friction. Saltwater is also a common irritant to the skin, and experts advocate for wearing rash guards in such waters. If you plan on wearing a wet suit for long hours, you might as well need a rash guard. Body movements and long periods of wearing swimwear can cause chafing and rashes.

2. Protection From Harmful UV Rays

Most rash guards are made from fabrics that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 and above. These are effective in shielding your delicate skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you are going to be in the waters for an extended period with exposure to sunlight, consider getting a full-sleeved rash guard. Rash guards offer better protection compared to sunscreen lotions because, for the latter, you have to keep re-applying.

3. Warmth And Versatility

While rash guards are not designed to keep you warm in cold waters like wetsuits, they help our bodies retain heat. When you’re going into the deep and cold waters, consider wearing a rash guard under your wetsuit for an extra layer of warmth. These garments are versatile in that you can wear them in warm weather without needing a wet suit. Rash guards are available in different styles that are perfect for all conditions.

4. Protection From Jellyfish Stings And Water Irritants

Rash guards are versatile garments that protect us from harmful objects and are easy to move and swim with. Rash guards have been proven to offer protection from jellyfish stings and other common irritants that cause harm to our skin. That sounds like more reason why you need a rash guard.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Rash Guard.

Before buying a rash guard, you need to know the features that are crucial in these garments. We researched and came up with some of the features that make up a good quality rash guard. Read on

1. Material

Water garments are made from a variety of stretchy and waterproof materials. For a rash guard, the material needs to have a sun protection factor and be flexible, breathable, and quick-drying. The most common rash guard materials are lycra, neoprene, polyester, and spandex-nylon blend. Most garments will have a blend of different materials, thus, different qualities.

Nylon- spandex blend- most popular since it is stretchy, breathable, fits tightly, and dries the fastest.

Lycra – rash guards made of this material are breathable and have an average stretch. They also dry fast and prevent chaffing

Neoprene- rash guards made of neoprene are ideal for exploring deep and cool waters since they offer heat insulation and are stretchy, making them easily flexible.

Polyester- these garments have maximum breathability and wick sweat easily. Polyester rash guards are not as stretchy and flexible as other materials and are ideal for activities such as surfing and kayaking.

2. Fit

Rash guards should fit like a second skin: snugly to your body for ease of movement and to prevent rubbing and chaffing. A body-hugging rash guard will allow you to maneuver easily in the water without hindering speed. Loosely fitting rash guards are mostly meant for lounging around the pool or beach.

3. Stitching

Buying a rash guard needs you to pay attention to the finest details, including stitching. The best rash guards should have a flatlock stitching which makes it lie flat on your body without bumps and is durable and hard-wearing.

4. Style And Design

Rash guards come in different styles with an option of long sleeves, short sleeves, and sleeveless. The design you choose will be determined by your preference and how you plan to wear your garment. Long-sleeved rashes are best for wearing in cold water where there’s a risk of jellyfish stings. Short sleeves and sleeveless are ideal to complement your swimwear and can be worn under a wetsuit for warmth.


A comfortable rash guard is essential in making your water escapades fun and safe. Before you buy one, make sure you know what features you are looking for to get value for your money. We hope this information is resourceful to you as you set out to find your new garment.

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