Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Snorkel Ken
For the novice snorkeler than has made the mistake of heading out for a day on the water without sunscreen, they will find out the hard way that sun, skin, and water don’t mix. However, even the most waterproof sunscreen doesn’t stand a chance when you are snorkeling, especially when you don’t want to stop the fun to reapply it constantly. Skip the sunscreen and instead make an investment in rash guards to protect your bare skin while in the water.
Not only do rash guards protect your skin from the sun and look good doing it, they also serve to help protect from minor cuts and scrapes from bumping into coral that you just don’t get with your average bikini top.
Made from a mix of 89% polyester and 11% elastane, the O’Neill’s long-sleeved rash guard is meant to fit skin tight over a bathing suit. Due to this, the sizes tend to run a bit on the small side, particularly if you have a larger than average bust size or broad shoulders. While the polyester and elastane mix does not stretch as much as they typical nylon and spandex mix, is does provide a more durable material, able to stand up to daily saline exposure.
With a SPF rating of 50+, the O’Neill’s rash guard provides some of the strongest sun and ultraviolet light protection on the market, blocking out even the strongest rays from areas around the equator.
This rash guard is just like the above model, the only difference being the sleeve length. So are long-sleeved rash guards better than short-sleeved rash guards? Ultimately, it is all up to preference. However, because women’s rash guards tend to come with very short sleeves, which are great for when worn under wetsuits, but this leaves the back of your arms open to the sun when snorkeling. As the O’Neill rash guards are not as stretchy as other models, they tend not to tug or ride up as much, making the long-sleeved model a good choice for long hours in the water for the best sun protection. Find out more on Amazon.
Made by women for women, Aqua Design created their product to be both comfortable and figure-flattering. The Aqua Design gives enough room for the rash guard to sit comfortably over clothing as well as not being tight enough to constantly cling to your skin, making it a practical choice both on the beach and in the water. However, it does tend to run two sizes too small, but the company offers great customer service in order to easily make the swap.
Made with 85% micro twist polyester and 15% spandex, the loose-fitting fabric also has the unique stretchiness of a skin tight rash guard as well as quick-drying, machine-washable fabric. This, combined with the powerful SPF 50+ sun and UV protection, makes Aqua Design the best rash guard option for loose-fitting rash guards.
Cressi Lycra Long-Sleeve (SPF 50+)
Cressi is a brand that inspires confidence in snorkel gear, and it’s women’s long-sleeve lycra rash guard lives up to the reputation. The sturdy material made from 80% nylon and 20% spandex and flatlock stitching provides a design that is form-fitting, comfortable, and protects against the sun with an SPF 50+ rating. Unlike other designs, the Cressi also includes a turtleneck for extra protection for the neck while in the water. With the nylon and spandex providing a durable fabric that stretches, Cressi provides one of the best fits on the market, but those with larger busts or bellies may need to order a size up.
Like the Aqua Design, the Xcel’s Ventx Long-Sleeve is the most practical rash guard. Their Ventx design is as good for snorkeling as it for wearing when going for a jog, providing comfort and sun protection in its eye-pleasing heathered design. With sturdy lyrca flatlock stitching and a breezy design, this is a rash guard with many uses. On land it catches the wind and wicks off moisture while underwater it clings to the body and is fast drying for when you are ready to get out of the water. Check out the reviews for this great rash guard on Amazon.
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