December 31, 2021 7 min read

What’s the difference between a rash guard and a swim shirt? A bathing top is usually a long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt made of either nylon or polyester, designed to be worn over a bathing suit. A rash guard is a close-fitting top or jacket worn as an undergarment to guard against sunburn, chaffing, and jellyfish stings. A vest is a sleeveless garment (usually with side seams) such as an undervest, waistcoat, or vest.

Rash Guards and Swim Shirts: the Main Difference

Generally, people are not aware of the main differences between a rash guard and a bathing top. A rash guard is a top designed to guard the wearer against the sun, while the bathing shirt's main purpose is to provide an athletic edge. 

A rash guard is often worn in the water to guard the wearer against the sun's rays. It can also be worn on top of an athlete's top for additional protection. Swim tops are designed to provide an athletic edge for the wearer, which is seen most in the way it fits the wearer's body.Bathing tops and rash guards are both designed to guard against sunburn and chafing, but they serve different purposes. 

A bathing shirt is typically a polyester blend shirt that features removable padding in the chest area for added comfort when swim. It protects against UV rays and can be worn alone or under a wetsuit during competition or training.

Rush guars tops is a form of swimwear, worn by surfers and water athletes. It is designed to provide an extra layer of protection against the sun and abrasion in addition to a swimsuit. A rash guard can be used as a bathing shirt or surfing shirt.

What is the Rash Guard?

Protection rash guard is an essential part of your surfing gear. Rash guards are tops that are made of a material that guard your skin against being exposed to the sun. They are made of a material that also helps keep your skin cool. Rash guards are worn under your wet suit to provide extra protection for your skin.

Rash guards are a lightweight and easy-to-wear piece of textile that covers a person's torso, excluding a person's head, arms, and legs. The garment is made from a stretchable and elastic fabric, and its main function is to protect a person from getting a rash from a wet suit. It can be worn on its own or under a wet suit.

There are many different types of protection rash guards depending on your use them. Some rash guards are designed for surfing, some are for running or cross-fit. Rash guards are perfect for athletes because they do not restrict movement. Rash guards UPF also come with guards UPF protection 50+ so they protect you from the sun's harmful UV rays! Rash guard set are an essential part of the surfer’s outfit.

What Is the Swim Shirt?

Bathing tops are a type of shirt that is worn when swim. This type of shirt is usually loose and comfortable, and it helps to provide coverage and protect the wearer from the sun. bathing tops are generally made from lightweight and durable materials, such as cotton or nylon, and they come in a variety of designs and colors.

what is a swim shirt

Bathing tops are indispensable in the warm summer months when you are in the water all day. Bathing tops will help you not get sunburned when you are in the water all day. Bathing tops are lightweight and easy to wear in the water. Bathing tops can be bought at almost any department store.

There are permanent bathing tops, semi-permanent bathing tops, and temporary bathing tops. For temporary bathing tops, there are bathing tops that can be used after a swim, bathing tops that can be used during a swim, and bathing tops that can be used before a swim.

What Is the Best for Swimming

Swimming is a recreational activity enjoyed by many all over the world. From the arctic to the tropics, swimmers are out there. So are rashes! Swirling around in chlorine, saltwater, and other pool chemicals makes the skin sensitive. One of the most common ways to avoid rashes is to wear a bathing shirt or rash guards. 

You can decide to wear whatever you want. As you can swim in a swim top, you also can in the rash vest. But as the name says, swim shirts are meant for swim activities. Ther are lighter and more comfortable than rash guards. They will allow you more movements. Rash guards, on the other hand, will protect you better from the sun’s rays and rashes caused by water.

How to Choose the Right Swim Shirt or Rash Guard Shirt

What Should You Look for in a Swim Shirt or Rash Guards Tops? You want a bathing shirt that is not only comfortable and breathable but one that has UPF protection. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a swim top is the level of protection from the sun. 

can you wear a rash guard as a shirt

The most common ways to protect your skin from the sun are with sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, such as a swim top. A swim top with a UPF-50+ rating will block 98% of the harmful UVB and UVA rays from reaching your skin. Make sure to check the label before you buy – most bathing tops will list the UPF rating on the tag.

Choosing the right swim shirt or rash guards top can sometimes be confusing. Everyone has their favorite brands, but not everyone is the same size. Women might prefer a different style than men, and men might prefer a more slim cut than women. You can also measure your loved one and compare that measurement to the sizing chart on the brand's website.

To Wrap Things Up

Even if they seem very similar, there are some main differences between those two. For start, rash guards are made to protect from sun and water, especially people like surfers, fishermen, etc. While bathing shirts are made for a swim. They are more comfortable, and they can’t protect you from the sun as well as rash guard. 

But in basics, they are very similar, and it is obvious why people often can not distinguish them. But if you are not a professional sportsman, it is enough to have just one of those two. 

Most Common Questions

Why are swim shirts called sleeve rash guard?

Swim shirts, also commonly referred to as rash shirts, are protective clothing that some individuals like to wear while swimming.

The shirts are meant to protect the wearer’s torso and arms from stings, scrapes, and other insects often found in bodies of water like oceans, rivers, and lakes. Bathing shirts are also sometimes worn under wetsuits during competition, or under street clothes.

The name comes from the fact that the shirts began their life as rash guards, used to protect swimmers during training, usually made out of rubber material. The shirts would help prevent irritation and abrasion, helping to avoid painful rashes that develop on the skin.

Can you wear a rash guard set as a swimsuit?

what is the difference between a rash guard and a swim shirt

Technically yes, but I wouldn't recommend it. Rash guards are built to enhance your performance in an aquatic environment. Things like sun protection, quick-drying capability, anti-chafing fabrics (wicks moisture away from the skin), and breathability are needed. While an athletic swimsuit may be 100% nylon it won’t have the same effectiveness.

Do you wear anything under a shirt?

Swim shirts as swimwear as many companies call them are sold as an undergarment. However, their structures and sizes can vary. Most of them come with removable cups and you can remove the cups and wear something if you need to. 

This is good because it can be worn with regular clothes and you don’t have to worry about showing off your bust and body to the public. This is their most noted aspect and the reason they’re popular over the years.

Are all sleeve rash guards SPF?

Sun protective (SPF) clothing can provide effective UV protection, depending on the fabric composition of the clothing. As the Sleeve Rashguard is a 50+ UPF fabric, it provides 50+ UV protection from the sun. In addition, the fabric is opaque so will provide an additional amount of UV protection from sun exposure from the sides.

Do rash guards make you hot?

Yes! Not only do rash guards make you hot (due to the fact that they are made up of thin synthetic materials, they do NOT make you as cool as they should. If you want to stay cool and reduce your risks of getting a rash or an infection, you'll need a rash guard rash made of material that allows your body to breathe.

A lot of rash guards on the market today are made with a thin, synthetic material that allows for a "huggy fit" that may protect you from a bruise. But just as easily, a rash, meaning the synthetic material is leading to a rash and not very breathable, meaning you're going to stay hot. 

Is rash guard waterproof?

should I buy rash guards or swim shirts

Rash guard vs Neoprene. Neoprene is a specific type of wetsuit that is made of rubber. It blocks all water from passing through due to the nature of the material inside it. However, a Long sleeve rash guard shirt is a normal type of long sleeve shirt. It does not block water from passing through to the skin. It only prevents the skin from getting dirty.

If you buy a rash guard top, it can be worn in water play. It is not a wetsuit and it is not made from neoprene. So the rash guard and wetsuit are different. The rash guard top leaves room for movement even in water. It will also protect your skin from getting dirty in case you fall in the water.

Do rashes guards protect from jellyfish rash?

The idea behind a sleeve rash guard is a good one. It’s a tight shirt from the neck to the ankles. Rash guard stops the jellyfish from getting at your skin. It’s a lot different from a wetsuit which you use to help keep the heat of your body inside of you. The effect of a wetsuit is to keep your body heat from going into the water around you.

Sometimes a rash guard works and sometimes there is still a need for treatment. The reason for this is that some jellyfish have a long tentacle that stretches out from the skin surface and there needs to be netting at least a foot above your skin.

Author - Fred Felton
Fred Felton          

Content Creator / Editor

Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the adventure watersports space, focussing on surf, kayak and rafting. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.

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