What are Rash Guards?
Spending a great deal of time in the sun and surf can be hard on skin. Remember the original bathing suits that covered more skin than they actually showed? Well, today's swimmers and surfers don't want a bunch of fabric slowing them down but they still need skin protection. So, rash guards or swim shirts and pants have become an important category of swimwear.
Surfers were the first group to demand a lightweight swim shirt to guard from rashes caused by salt water and provide as much sun protection as possible. But, the shirt had to be sleek, quick drying, fully stretchable and lightweight. Today, rash guards are made from six-ounce lycra, a durable, lightweight, fully stretchable fabric. Today, there are rash guards with short and long sleeves as well as sleeveless in children's, men's and women's styles. There are also rash guard shorts and pants.
Your First Rash Guard Garment
It is important to pay attention to sizing when purchasing a rash guard. It should fit snugly but not be stretched too tightly. If the garment is too tight, the seams will pull and cause longevity and wear problems.
It is also important to learn how to put on rash guard garments. While the lycra fabric is durable, it can easily be punctured by any sharp object like a fingernail or toenail. Always handle the fabric with your fingertips - not fingernails. Since the garments are snug, put them on in slow steps.
For long-legged pants, pull the rash guard over your feet and ankles. Then work up the legs in sections, pulling gently until you reach the hips. For shirts, insert your arms into the sleeves or arm holes then carefully pop over your head. Slowly pull down sleeves and the body of the shirt until smooth.
Work in reverse when removing the rash guard gear. Do not pull too hard. Remove the gear slowly and carefully.
Try to put on your rash guard gear in a clean, dry place away from sand, trees and rocks that can snag the fabric. Try not to put on wet rash guards; it compromises the integrity of the spandex.
Rash Guard Care
By far, the most important care tip is to never wad up your rash gear and throw it in the trunk to bake. Rinse it immediately even if you never get around to washing the gear. Sun, salt and chlorine will take a toll on the fabric so get it out as soon as possible!
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