The fondest of summertime memories for most children, are those of long hot and sunny days at the beach. Those memories conjure mental pictures of playing in the surf, burying Dad alive and eating peanut butter and sand sandwiches. The thoughts that don’t usually jump to the front of our seaside memories are those of the sun burns. This is because we tend to remember the best of times more than the worst of times. No matter how well Mom lathered on the sunscreen, there were always spots missed, and boy, weren’t they visible at the end of the day! The advent of the rash guard shirt has come to the rescue of modern Moms and Dads to prevent these painful experiences.
The rash guard shirt was originally developed for surfers who were getting rashes from the wax on their surf boards. The wax would hold sand from the beach and then they would be rubbing their torsos on the wax as they paddled out to the break. Rash guards are now manufactured from fabrics that hold high UPF factors, most of them are 50+. This is about the best protection that you can get from the Sun’s damaging rays, short of staying inside in the first place. The primary benefit of the shirt is that there are no “missed spots” as there are with sun lotion. The rash guards are also fast drying, so they are very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Once a child starts to wear one at the beach, it just becomes second nature, like a life jacket, and the entire headache and worry of sunburn is gone (at least for the covered areas.
Other sports and activities have adopted the rash guard shirt into standard operating procedure as well. In Karate, the shirt is worn under the Gi to prevent chafing from the stiff cotton uniform. In Grappling, most fighters now wear the long sleeve rash guard shirt, as they make it more difficult to grasp by the opponent. In yachting, professional crews now wear the rash guard shirt as a uniform item during water sports because they are fast drying and look much sharper than a wet T-Shirt.
When purchasing a rash guard shirt, look for several factors to insure the quality of the shirt in question. The stitching is very important, a poor seam can cause more discomfort than the sunburn it is attempting to prevent. Flatlock stitched seams are the best for comfort and durability. The fabric is also very important, NOT ALL RASH GUARD SHIRTS ARE UPF 50+! Also, as with any product, check the customer service policies of the seller.