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How to Buy a Rash Guard

   August 4th, 2016   Posted In: How-To  

Sunburn, rash, and abrasion are not fun. We’ve all been there before and have immediately wished we wore something with protection at the time, right? That’s where a rash guard comes in! Rash guards, also known as, rash guard shirts and rash shirts, come in a variety of styles, colors, and brands nowadays! Below is a brief FAQ on all things rash guards!

What is a rash guard?

A rash guard is a top worn for swimming, surfing, paddle boarding or other watersports and can be worn individually or underneath a wetsuit. Rash guards are made from varying amounts of nylon, spandex, and polyester. Many rash guards will say that they are made of Lycra which is a combination of nylon and spandex.

Rash guards are different from wetsuits because they do not trap water between the skin and wetsuit material to create warmth. A rash guard does not keep you warm. They are pretty smooth to the touch and feel comfortable against the skin and have different fits (see below for more on this.)

Why should I wear a rash guard?

For protecting your skin, not only from rash and abrasion, but also from the sun’s harmful UV rays! Sun burn is more than just a little red irritation to the skin and has been linked to serious health issues such as skin cancer. A rash guard with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

rash guard image

Pic cred: O’Neill Wetsuits

What are the types of different rash guards?

Rash guards fall into three styles: long sleeve rash guards, short sleeve rash guards, and rash vest. It’s up to you on how much coverage you want or need and also the water temperature. A long sleeve style is great for those who want full upper body rash and sun protection. Short sleeves work for those who simply want shoulder coverage instead of the full arm coverage. And sleeveless (rash vest) styles are usually more fashion pieces and protect the torso and back from rash and sun.

What size rash guard should I get?

To choose a rash guard size, you should first measure your chest. Then compare that measurement to the size chart that’s shown on the product page and order based on your chest measurement. Depending on fit and comfort preference, you can go up or down a size!

How should a rash guard fit?

It’s your personal preference on how you want your rash guard to fit. Rash guards come in two fits: regular/clingy and loose. A regular fit is on the tighter side and is meant more for performance. A loose fit is roomier and is great for leisure or comfort and this fit usually matches your casual t-shirt size. A regular/clingy fit won’t ride up while surfing, but if you prefer a loose fit, most come with a board short loop to prevent the top from riding up. And if you’re wearing a rash guard under a wetsuit, you want it to be as clingy as possible so that it can properly do its job serving as an under-layer.

Are rash guards waterproof?

No, they are not, but they’re great for land AND water! Especially with loose fit styles, as they translate well from the beach to boardwalk. A rash guard is also quick drying and has anti-microbial properties.

Who can wear a rash guard?

Anyone and everyone! Men, women, juniors/kids and we even have some for infants! The kid’s rash guards come in bright and fun colors so you can keep an eye on them in and out of the water!

Where to buy rash guards?

We offer a large selection of mens rash guards, womens rash guards, and kids rash guards with tons of styles and fits!

O’Neill Wetsuits has a great ‘Don’t Get Burned’ Campaign specifically focusing on protecting yourself from the outer elements. Check it out!

DON’T GET BURNED! MULTI-SPORT from O’Neill on Vimeo.

Have more questions about rash guards? Call, email, live chat us, or even write in the comments below!

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts 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, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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