Women's rash guard or swim shirt?
When it comes to summer, sun protection is the number one issue for our girls. In the hot summer, rushing to the beach is what we most want to do. What kind of swimsuit should we choose to protect against the sun? Rash guards or swim shirts? Are you still confused?
What are rash guards?
Originally created (and named) for surfers, rash guards are designed to protect against the kind of rash you might get against a sandy surfboard, or from the chafing of a neoprene wetsuit. Designed with built in sun protection, these long sleeve or short sleeve surf shirts have UPF protection built in, to keep sunburns and sand burns off your shoulders. Typically constructed with UPF 50 fabric, they are form-fitting and sometimes compressive, and designed to be worn with swimwear. Some rash guards are even made to provide an extra layer of warmth in chilly waters.
What is a swim shirt?
Swim shirts, sometimes called surf shirts, are designed to provide you with protection from UV radiation that won't wash off. As swimwear, swim and surf shirts have comfortable, chafe-free seams just like their rashguard cousins. Unlike a rashguard, however, swim shirts tend to be more like regular clothing, providing you with UPF 50 protection in a loose fit. While this may create a bit more drag and water flow during surf sessions, it may also be more comfortable to wear along the boardwalk. The distinction is mostly a personal preference.
All of these types of sun protection clothing will help protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer. While most of protective clothing is made from a UPF 50 fabric, each piece will have a UPF rating under the item details. Keep in mind that t-shirts offer very little UV protection – so any built-in UPF will provide more protection against sunburn than a regular t-shirt or even a regular long sleeve shirt. Keep in mind that sunscreen should still be worn on your face, or other areas not protected by your clothing.
Both rash guards and swim shirts offer protection from the sun, so it depends what level of activity you think you’ll be doing, what temeperature the water will be, and whether you are looking for a compression shirt or not. Are you looking to surf some serious swells, and comfortable in a tighter fitting shirt, or are you more interested in taking a loose fit seaside – for UPF sun protection that fits in on and off the board? The choice is yours.
The main difference between a swim shirt and a rash guard is the fit. Because rashguards are designed for surfing or other higher intensity water sports, they are more like a water-ready compression shirt. By contrast, swim shirts are designed to protect against UV rays while also being comfortable. In other words, your size in a rash guard will fit tighter than your size in a swim shirt. As a result, you may feel more comfortable wearing a swim shirt or sun shirt around town – but it's really all about personal preference.