Protecting Your Skin Surf with the Right Rash Guard and Sunscreen


As the summer heatwave rolls in, people are flocking to the beach to cool off and catch some waves. However, in the midst of all the fun, it's important to remember the dangers of UV radiation and skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Therefore, it's crucial to take proper precautions to protect your skin from the sun and surf.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of choosing the right rash guard and sun protection. We'll also cover some proper sun protection habits to help you enjoy the beach without putting your health at risk.

Choosing the Right Rash Guard

Rash guards have become increasingly popular in recent years, not just for surfers but for anyone looking to protect their skin from the sun. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right rash guard:

Material considerations

The material of your rash guard plays a significant role in how well it protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Look for rash guards made of UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) fabric, which provides better protection than regular clothing. UPF fabric is usually made of a blend of polyester and spandex, which is lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying.

Another material to consider is neoprene, a synthetic rubber commonly used in wetsuits. Neoprene provides excellent insulation and UV protection, making it an excellent choice for water sports in colder temperatures.

Fit and coverage

The fit and coverage of your rash guard are also crucial in providing optimal sun protection. A rash guard that is too loose or too tight can leave gaps where UV rays can penetrate. It's essential to choose a rash guard that fits snugly but comfortably, with sleeves that extend to the wrists and a high neckline to cover your chest and back.

If you're looking for even more coverage, consider a rash guard with a built-in hood or a long-sleeve rash guard with thumbholes to protect the backs of your hands.

Color and style options

While the primary purpose of a rash guard is sun protection, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Rash guards come in a variety of colors and patterns, from simple solid colors to bold prints and designs.

When choosing a color, keep in mind that darker colors provide better UV protection than lighter colors. Also, consider the environment you'll be in. If you're surfing in the tropics, a bright, colorful rash guard might be more appropriate than a darker, subdued color.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

Rash guards alone are not enough to protect your skin from the sun. It's essential to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, especially your face, neck, and hands. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right sunscreen:

SPF rating

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects your skin from UVB radiation, the primary cause of sunburn. The higher the SPF rating, the better the protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

However, it's important to note that SPF only measures protection against UVB radiation, not UVA radiation, which can also cause skin damage. Look for a sunscreen labeled "broad-spectrum," which means it protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.

Water resistance

When you're at the beach, you're likely to be in and out of the water all day. Therefore, it's essential to choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant. Look for a sunscreen labeled "water-resistant" or "very water-resistant," which means it will provide protection for up to 40 or 80 minutes, respectively, while swimming or sweating.

Chemical vs. mineral sunscreen

There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb UV radiation, while mineral sunscreens contain ingredients that reflect UV radiation.

Chemical sunscreens tend to be more popular because they are lightweight and easy to apply. However, some people may have allergic reactions to the ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, are less likely to cause allergic reactions but can be thicker and more difficult to apply.

Proper Sun Protection Habits

In addition to choosing the right rash guard and sunscreen, there are some proper sun protection habits you should develop to keep your skin healthy:

Application frequency

It's not enough to apply sunscreen once and forget about it. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating. Even waterproof sunscreens can wear off over time, so it's essential to be diligent about reapplication.

Additional protective measures

In addition to rash guards and sunscreen, there are some other things you can do to protect your skin from the sun:

  • Wear a hat with a brim to protect your face, neck, and ears from the sun.
  • Seek shade during the hottest part of the day, between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation.


Protecting your skin from the sun and surf is crucial for maintaining your health and preventing skin cancer. By choosing the right rash guard and sunscreen and developing proper sun protection habits, you can enjoy the beach without putting your skin at risk. Remember to be diligent about reapplying sunscreen and seeking shade, and don't forget to have fun!

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