Skin irritation and other conditions linked to it are among the most common issues encountered by water sport enthusiasts. This could be the result of rubbing your skin constantly with your surfboard or prolonged sun exposure when you are out kayaking.
Fortunately, the best rash guards are now accessible in the market. Just like comfortable pajama for men, a good and reliable rash guard serves as the ultimate solution for comfort and protection whenever you are in the water.
However, it is not advisable to buy just any product being offered to you. Just like when you are hunting for the world’s best silk boxers, or any other product for that matter. Shopping for these items should be done carefully and mindfully.
- What Are Rash Guards
- Benefits of Wearing Rash Guards
- How Do Rash Guards Work
- Types of Rash Guards
- Materials of Rash Guards
- How to Choose the Best Rash Guards
- Features of Rash Guards
- How to Size a Rash Guard
- How to Clean and Maintain a Rash Guard
- Do’s and Don’ts With Rash Guards
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- FAQ About Rash Guards
What Are Rash Guards
Also called a rashie or rash vest, a rash guard refers to an athletic shirt usually constructed from polyester or nylon and spandex materials. It got such a name because it can indeed guard you against rashes triggered by abrasion and sunburns caused by prolonged sun exposure.
You can wear this protective athletic shirt by itself or beneath a wetsuit. The main goal of wearing them is to get light coverage when dealing with mild to extreme temperatures during the summer. This is specifically when you perform any water sports like surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, wakeboarding and snorkeling.
Just like the fact that chukka boots can be worn with everything, the rash guard also has that flexibility because you can wear it in a wide range of watersports.
Benefits of Wearing Rash Guards
Wearing rash guards can produce several incredible benefits. The following are the most notable ones:
Offers Adequate Protection
Just like when you’ll need some waterproof socks for protection and no matter which socks are your favorite, you will also feel protected by wearing a rash guard. If you are already tired of getting your skin sunburned when trying to enjoy the sea or some water sports, then you can always choose to wear a rash guard.
By wearing this, you will receive extra coverage so you will be protected from the harmful rays of the sun. This can also lead to the prevention of sunburns. You can even find these items with UPF 50+ components, making its UV protection even better.
Just make sure that you still apply sunscreen even if you are already planning to wear a rash guard. Aside from UV protection, you can also see these being layered beneath wetsuits to help you avoid chafing and rashes often triggered by wax residue and sand.
Many options are now available for you to remain warm while you are in the cold water. You can wear slippers that will warm your toes, but you can also wear those designed to provide an additional layer of warmth.
This is especially true if you wear it beneath a wetsuit. You can also go for a thermal rash guard, which is constructed from thick fabric. You can use it for various watersports, including aerobics.
Protects You From Foreign Sea Particles
A rash guard does not only protect you from the harsh temperature but also provides defense against foreign and harmful particles in the sea. This added coverage can surely give you peace of mind when you are in the sea.
Ideal for Swimming
Even if you are not into watersports, you will still find these products useful, especially if you are someone who loves to swim. It is because this is an ideal garment for swimming. However, note that just like when you need to wear a belt that’s the right fit for your comfort, it is also advisable to go for an item with the correct fit.
Avoid loose-fitting ones. Go for tight-fitting ones as they cause less water resistance. Furthermore, they can lessen your risk of getting caught on other items, especially if you plan to surf, too.
How Do Rash Guards Work
A rash guard works based on its primary goal of protecting surfers from abrasions triggered by waxy and sand residues found on their surfboards. The usual rash, in this case, often takes place with the constant sliding off and on a rough surfboard.
However, it is not their only function. They also work by protecting wearers, especially children, when trying to enjoy the water or the beach. It often features a lightweight and quick-drying material as well as flat-lock stitching that helps ensure that it works in assisting wearers to endure a comfortable and enjoyable time at the beach.
Types of Rash Guards
Rash guards are available in various types and styles. You can find those made primarily to protect you against rash while others protect sensitive parts of your body, like your nipples, necks, and armpit.
Standard Rash Guard
You can go for the standard rash guard, which can come in the form of a vest or a long- or short-sleeved rash. Your choice here should depend on where you intend to use it and your personal preference:
Long-Sleeve Rash Guard
This is one of the most common standard rash guards in the market today. Because of its long-sleeved style, it can completely protect your arms from the harsh effects of the sun.
It provides coverage up to the wrists. It is made to cover most parts of your body and provide more insulation. This makes it ideal for use in calmer waters.
Short-Sleeve Rash Guard
This refers to a simple and fitted rash guard or shirt, which mainly covers your shoulders. It also provides additional insulation beneath a wetsuit. With that, expect it to work well even when worn alone in warm climates
Tank or Vest
This is ideal in areas with temperate climates. It is because it does not cover your arms nor shoulders. It also works great because of the additional insulation it provides beneath a wetsuit. It is suitable for anyone who does not want to feel like their shoulders and arms are restricted due to the rash guard.
Full-Body Rash Guards
You can also go for a full-body option made using the materials that were also often used in other standard versions. One thing that makes the full-body rash guard variation different is that it is designed in a way that it works like a wetsuit. This makes it capable of providing more protection for your legs and pelvic area.
You can often find this being used in several ocean sports. You can choose to wear it on its own or beneath a wetsuit. While this one is completely protective, many still complain about it being restrictive of their movements.
The swim shirt is a special and unique kind of clothing. However, the two are similar. One thing that makes the swim shirt stand out is its high level of sun protection. It usually has a high UPF. With its loose fit, many find it more comfortable compared to the traditional and standard options.
Materials of Rash Guards
Just like when searching for the best robes for men or the most comfortable and durable suspenders, you can also see different materials being used in constructing the rash guard. Among the most common ones are:
Most rash guards are made of Spandex. This is good for those who want theirs to be stretchy, quick-drying, and breathable.
You can also go for the polyester-based ones that do not only provide maximum breathability but also boast of their sweat-wicking ability. The only problem with polyester is that it is not as flexible and stretchy as other materials.
Rash guards constructed from nylon material usually have the same qualities as Spandex. These include being stretchy, quick-drying, and breathable. The combination of nylon and spandex can also give you a tight yet comfortable fit.
If you want to receive more insulation, then you can always benefit from the neoprene-based itemss. This material can provide insulation to your body, especially if you are in cooler waters. Aside from that, it is stretchy, promoting flexible and non-restrictive movements.
How to Choose the Best Rash Guards
Your choice should be dependent on a few essential factors. This is the same as when you are searching or shopping for other items, like elegant monk strap shoes, wherein you need to research several relevant factors so you can make the best decision.
Here are just some vital factors that anyone searching for a rash guard should scrutinize:
You need a rash guard rated highly in terms of UPF. Note that one of their main functions is to protect you from the damaging UV rays. It could be from the UV rays that come directly from the sun as well as those reflected by the water. Most effective and reliable ones can block UV rays if they at least have a UPF rating of 50.
The next factor you have to analyze carefully is the material. In most cases, this is made of a synthetic combination of materials, particularly fiber.
Most of them feature a nylon-spandex blend, polyester, neoprene, or Lycra material. You should decide as to the warmth, breathability, and level of stretch provided by the material. Make sure that the material you have chosen is also comfortable.
Of course, you also need to find the appropriate fit. One thing to remember regarding the fit, though, is that this product needs to fit tightly to your body. This is necessary for preventing chafing or uncomfortable rubbing. However, you can also find products that are slightly looser to ensure that these won’t make those who are conscious of their body feel uncomfortable.
Make sure that the item you buy can protect you from the sun. Note that you will be exposed to the sun’s rays that are somewhat damaging. Have some form of protection with an item that boasts of a high level of sun protection.
Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve
Another thing that you have to remember is that you can choose from either the long-sleeved or short-sleeved ones. Go for the short-sleeved ones if you plan to wear it during the hot season. It works well in fighting the heat and protecting you from the harmful sun’s rays.
If you choose to be in the water during cooler temperatures, then you can go for the long-sleeved item. It offers UV protection while also providing you with enough insulation and warmth.
A rash guard with thermal protection also works great if you want to wear one with extra warmth when submerged in cold water. Pick a thermal rash guard any time you plan to be in the chilly and cold water for a long period. It works well if you intend to wear it for ocean sports and aqua aerobics.
Check the level of efficiency of a specific product before buying, too. Find out how protective it is because the ultimate purpose of this item is always to give protection. Check reviews to determine its effectiveness and ensure that it scores high in terms of protecting users not only from the UV rays but also from rash and other harsh elements in the water.
You also need to prioritize your comfort. It should fit you appropriately and tightly without restricting your movements too much. Also, make sure that you pick a product that does not cause breathing difficulties, especially on your neckline. As much as possible, go for one that tends to go along with your diaphragm’s expansion each time you breathe.
The good thing about rash guards is that they are available in various styles, so you will always be able to get one that meets your preferences and sense of style. You can also choose to put some exciting designs and artwork through heat transfer or sublimation.
Assess the price of each rash guard, too. Make sure that you don’t spend too much without analyzing if the price also corresponds to its quality. Your goal is to find one that offers superior protection and compression while remaining reasonably priced. You can compare the prices of your options and check their individual features, so you will know which one is worth it.
It is also advisable to spend time reviewing and studying each brand. Find out which ones already earned the trust of the public. Choose to buy only from brands that earned an excellent reputation in the industry.
Features of Rash Guards
Apart from the factors that you need to study and analyze carefully, you also have to look for rash guards that contain most, if not all, of the most critical features required by anyone searching for a reliable one. Among the additional features that a lot of users find extremely useful are:
These are helpful in case you do not want your rash guard to ride up every time your wetsuit is pulled on.
A rash guard with a built-in hood is helpful if you do not want your hair to get in the way of your movements, especially if you are swimming. You can keep your hair using it. Your neck’s back will also be protected from the harsh sun if you are wearing the hood.
Board Short Connectors
This feature is beneficial, especially if you are a surfer.
With pockets integrated into your chosen rash guard, you will always have a place to store your important things.
How to Size a Rash Guard
You need to size a rash guard properly if you want it to fit you comfortably and correctly. Here are the actual steps in sizing it:
Step 1 – Choose between a tight or loose fit
In this case, you have to determine the specific activity where you intend to use it. If your activities often require movements, such as when you are surfing or swimming, then go for a tight-fitting item. It is because this fit is less resistant and capable of lessening the risk of rubbing and chafing.
However, if your goal is to use the product to serve as the ultimate means of protecting yourself from the sun, then going for a loose fit already helps. The loose fit can make you feel comfortable.
Step 2 – Pick the length of the sleeve
The next step is to choose the length of the sleeve. In this case, you have to consider the specific environment and condition in the exact place where you intend to use it. Choose a long-sleeve if you plan to use it in cold conditions so you will still feel warm. It also protects you in extremely sunny conditions as this can give you enough protection.
If you want to feel cooler in extremely hot conditions, though, going for the short-sleeved ones is more beneficial. Your decision between the long and the short sleeves, though, should depend on the level of your comfort and the kind of activity you intend to do.
How to Clean and Maintain a Rash Guard
With a high level of protection, it is just right for you to take good care of this precious investment. Note that not cleaning this item properly might cause it to lose its effectiveness. Here are some steps involved in cleaning and maintaining it:
Step 1 – Rinse the rash guard using fresh water
Do this right after you wear it. Do not use hot water, though. Use lukewarm or cool water instead.
Step 2 – Hand wash
Use a biodegradable soap than hand wash it while the garment is turned inside out.
Step 3 – Hang it to dry
Make sure that you do not expose it directly to the heat or the sun, though.
Do’s and Don’ts With Rash Guards
- Pay close attention to sizing – This is important during the stage when you are still buying. Your goal is to find one that fits snugly without stretching it too tightly. Note that excessive tightness might only cause the seams of the garment to rip and get pulled. This will eventually lead to issues in wear and longevity.
- Do not ball up or fold the garment – It is because this might cause the fabric to become weak.
- Wash the rash guard by hand – Avoid washing it in the washer as much as possible. However, if you can’t avoid washing it in your washing machine, make sure to put it in a mesh bag first. Set the washer in a gentle cycle, too.
- Do not put it in a dryer – It is because this machine has an extremely high heat that might damage and weaken the fabric. It would be best to let it dry by hanging it somewhere, which does not expose it directly to the sun and heat.
- Avoid coming close to chemical solvents, aerosols, gasoline and oil – It is because the stains in these items are not that easy to remove. They might also cause the fabric to become weak.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
No, a higher price tag does not immediately mean that the product is of top-notch quality. With careful research, you can always find a high-quality, durable and comfortable rash guard from reliable and trustworthy sources. Be resourceful and find out which among the brands offer items of the quality and level of protection you want without requiring you to spend a fortune.
FAQ About Rash Guards
Are rash guards good for swimming?
Yes, they are appropriate for use every time you get into the water to swim. As a matter of fact, it is meant for use when doing certain activities in the water, like swimming. It can give you the warmth and protection you need when you are doing so.
What are rash guards good for?
Rash guards are so versatile that you can use them for a wide range of activities. You will feel protected when you wear it for swimming and when doing any water sports like surfing, kayaking, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and snorkeling.
Should rash guards be tight?
It would be best for them to fit you tightly. However, it should not be extremely or excessively tight that your movements will already feel restricted. There should still be a proper balance between comfort and the tightness.
Do rash guards prevent sunburn?
Yes. With the high level of sun protection, you have the assurance that they can prevent the harsh effects of direct exposure to the sun, including sunburns. It will also keep you protected from its harsh UV rays. Just make sure to select one with a truly high UPV rating or SPF.
Should I wear anything under my rash guard?
There is actually no need for you to wear any other garment. You can wear it like a swimsuit, covering your body when you are in the water. However, you can still choose to wear something beneath it if you really want to. Just make sure that you go for a loose-fitting item, in such a case, so there is enough room for the other garments beneath it.
Will the rash guard make me too hot?
No, most of the ones in the market are designed in a way that they are breathable. They will never make its wearers feel too hot because of the level of breathability and the lightness of the materials used in creating them.
Whether you are someone who surfs casually, carves up the waves every day, or just prefers to relax under water or on a boat, investing in a high-quality rash guard can offer incredible benefits. It is protective plus can make you feel comfortable. Just make sure that you conduct a careful study of your choices so you can pick the best rash guards that you can use today.
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