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FAQ: What is a Rash Guard?

   June 30th, 2017   Posted In: Articles, FAQs  

What is a Rash Guard? The Perfect Extra Layer of Sun Protection

Maybe you’ve seen a rash guard in store or online and asked yourself ‘what is a rash guard?’ Well, this summer, protect yourself from the sun and sand with a rash guard. A rash guard, also called a “rashie,” is a close-fitting athletic shirt made of spandex, nylon, polyester or combination of these fabrics. These shirts were originally developed in Australia. They were meant to protect surfers from developing a rash when rubbing against the sticky wax on a surfboard or the neoprene of a wetsuit. A rash guard is typically worn under a wetsuit and over a bathing suit. Today, rash guards are mainstream. They can also be used to prevent chafing for athletes who play water polo, baseball and mixed martial arts. Now everyone wears rash guards, not just surfers.

Features of Rash Guards

what is a rash guard

This gal’s got the right idea!

Sun protection: All rash guards guarantee protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Each product has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. Rash guards are a must for water sports because sunburn is damaging to your skin. You can save on the cost and trouble of multiple sunscreen applications with just one rash guard!

Versatility: Rash guards come in a wide variety of colors and styles. You can select a rash guard that works best for your activity, from surfing to wakeboarding or triathlon to SCUBA diving.

Quick-dry: Rash guards dry quickly and easily, leaving you cool and ready for the next activity. They are lightweight and not prone to tearing. They do not present a thick, heavy barrier to any type of exercise.

Sleeve configurations: There are three main styles of rash guards: long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless. Long sleeves are good for full upper-body protection. Short sleeves offer shoulder coverage. Sleeveless protect the torso and back. Rash guards come in loose and baggy fits as well as regular, or, clingy fits. To choose a rash guard, you measure the size of your chest. Then compare that measurement to a size chart for the product you want.

You Should Also Know…

Rash guards are not waterproof and are not meant to trap warmth like a wetsuit. A colorful, unique rash guard is an excellent way to keep track of your child at the pool or beach.

Rash guards are affordable, with many items starting under $20. When you pay a little more ($30+), you have options such as performance-enhancing, quick-dry, cooling and recycled fabrics.

Since you’re familiar with rash guards now, the next time someone asks ‘what is a rash guard?’ you’ve totally got them covered!

Wetsuit Wearhouse offers rash guards for men, women, kids and infants. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our stock of rash guards. We’ll be glad to pick from our selection to match your sport and personal style.


Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
Lauren (LoLo) has been picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits and being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, practicing yoga, studying holistic nutrition or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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  • Avatar MK says:

    Beware. I have always worn a rashy and recently had a large skin cancer removed from my back anyway. I do NOT believe the manufacturer claims about SPF 50 as all rashys have tiny gaps between the threads! This will let in the UV and risks you getting sick.
    Authorities need to clamp down on these lies, im pissed about it. Most of the top brands are simply cheap stretchy material. They might have a slight SPF but certainly still use sunscreen.

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hey MK! Thank you for sharing your experience. Protecting yourself from the sun when in the water is definitely a priority, and rashguards with UPF ratings are a good supplemental tool to block damaging rays but do not offer 100% protection. For example, sun gear like Anetik (which is one of the best-reviewed!) has a UPF rating of 30+, which means the fabric allows 1/30th (roughly 3 percent) of available UV radiation to pass through it. Layering with sunscreen will increase protection! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

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