Rash Guards 101 : What Are They And Why You Should Own One
Ask a random group of people what a rash guard is and you will probably get a quizzical look. They are not something that protects your legs when playing soccer, those are shin guards. Those medal things that run along the highway: guard rails. A rasher? Nope, that's a slab of bacon.
A rash guard is a sports shirt made of nylon or polyester and protects the wearer from sun exposure and skin rashes caused by rubbing. When people see a rash guard they immediately associate it with surfers, because surfers do indeed wear them. The reason surfers wear them is because they work.
Rash guards first appeared when the Body Glove Company advertised their Lycra Rash Guard in 1988 in Body Boarding and Surfing magazines. The Body Glove Company was started in Rodondo Beach, California, in 1953 and they are also credited with creating the first wet suit for surfers.
Leave it to the Australians to come up with a cute name for the rash guard: a rashie. Is it any surprise that a country that calls a barbecue a barbie would you the term rashie. We love it.
Australia is a sun baked country, so they take their protections seriously. An article about how popular they are Down Under appeared in a recent New York Times article, "Every child has his or her name on it and a neon pink rash guard. Parents trained as lifesavers are their guides in the water, wearing orange rashies to further brighten the scene."
Why you should own one
Rashes on your body come from either a clothing article or something else rubbing against the skin, or from skin that is wet for a prolonged period of time. Polyester is a good choice for rash guards because it dries quickly, greatly diminishing the chance for a rash. Our rash guards are made from 80% polyester and 18% spandex and are perfect to protect the skin. The other reason to wear a rash guard, which is probably more important, is that rash guards have sun protection built into them.
Protection from the sun
Rash guards offer great UPF protection. What is UPF and how is it different than SPF? Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is based on the time it takes for ultra violet exposed skin to redden. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation "UPF measures the amount of ultraviolet radiation that can penetrate fabric and reach your skin. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates how much ultraviolet radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin. For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays and allows two percent to penetrate, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly. A fabric must have a UPF of 30 to qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. A UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection, while UPF 50+ rates as excellent."
Stately Wear's rash guards offer UPF protection of between 38 and 40, which is very good.
Look good and stay protected
Where can you wear rash guards if you don't surf:
1. Running - Need to keep the sun off your arms while running, then a rash guard is the perfect fashion forward solution.
2. Skateboarding - Who doesn't need to protect your arms from scrapes and falls while skateboarding? When a hoodie is too hot to wear, a rash guard is ideal.
3. At the gym - Often times gyms are kept cool since people are sweating and having the temperature too hot would be a bother. To ward off the chills and look good doing it, wear a rash guard and don't be surprised if strangers come up and tell you how good you look.
4. Skiing - You are told to layer up when it's cold so a rash guard is a perfect garment to wear when it's frigid. Or, if you are hitting the slopes on a warm and sunny day and you still want protection from the sun, a rash guard is the perfect solution.
5. Hiking - Are you going to be outdoors for hours with wind and sun both giving you a lashing? A rash guard is the ticket.
6. Going to the beach - Okay, maybe you don't want to wear a rash guard on the beach because people will think you are a wannabe surfer. But for your kids, who aren't going to sit under an umbrella and will go body surfing? Perfect.
7. Swimming - Since rash guards dry quickly and help wick away moisture they are an excellent choice for swimming in a pool or lake.
8. Pickleball - Playing pickleball when it's chilly or when the sun is beating down? Wearing a light weight rash guard is the perfect solution.
9. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling - The original use case along with surfers. No brainer.
10. Wind surfing - Don't have the flexibility and stamina for regular surfing, wind surfing is the perfect application for rash guard.
11. Canoeing and Kayaking - You love the great outdoors, but don't want the constant sun exposure. A rashie it is!
12. Sailing - Only in Hollywood movies to people sit out on their sailboats in bikinis. If you did that for hours you would burn to a crisp. A rash guard is more sensible and just as fashionable.
13. Bicycling - Long bike rides are fun and great exercise but to keep the sun off your arms, a rash guard would be ideal.
14. Soccer - Light, breathable fabric that wicks away moisture is ideal for a friendly soccer match.
15. Softball - Most teams in the Olympics that play softball wear long sleeves. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for you.
A Stately Wear "American Hippie" rash guard
Are rash guards fashionable?
Rash guards are indeed the height of fashion, particularly our rash guards with your favorite city, state, park or interest on it.
Readers of the tabloids will know that rash guards are in among the celebrity crowd. Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan, and Gisele Bundchen have all been spotted wearing rash guards.
Rash guards aren't even a new fashion trend. In 2013 The New York Times wrote, "Welcome to the summer of the rash guard. If you don’t already own one of these surfer mainstays, you probably will soon. And (unlike in summers past) it will be cute."
The Los Angeles Times, which knows outdoor fashion better than the big East Coast paper wrote the same year, “It’s mainly female surfers who wear rash guards,” says Chad Marshall, professional surfer and co-owner and manager of Mollusk surf shop in Venice. “Rash guards have become more stylish with better cuts and tailoring. It’s about having the total kit, looking cute with a new surfboard and all of your gear and taking it to the next level.”