What is a Rash Guard – Does it Keep You Warm?

Last Updated: February 21, 2023

The day has finally arrived where you can finally check off the “must try scuba diving” on your bucket list! You’re here, and you’re feeling the adrenaline.

There is a good chance that you might get lost in the excitement and forget the necessities. Like any other sport, scuba diving comes with certain rules and equipment that are needed in order to have a safe and exciting experience. These rules and equipment have been created to keep you safe, so it’s important that you follow them right down to the detail.

Scuba diving is a very enjoyable, but also a pretty expensive hobby. There is a long list of gear that you’ll need before you go under the water. The cost of scuba gear is quite high, but if you want a safe yet amazing experience, you’ll need to either buy it or rent it.

keeping warm in rash guard

One of the most basic yet essential pieces of equipment is the rash guard (a.k.a, a skin suit). Most beginner-level divers often find themselves to be very cold underwater. You might have lots of questions on your mind on why you feel cold and if a rash guard helps to keep you warm.

But, don’t worry! We’re here to help you understand what a rash guard is and how it can help you stay warm while you are diving.

What is a Rash Guard?

A rash guard is a vest specifically made and designed for scuba divers and aquatic athletes. It is made of spandex material or nylon and is used mainly by surfers. It is designed as a wetsuit, and it has a cropped look to it, which makes it easier to navigate in aquatic environments.

It keeps you safe and protected against injuries and has a much-fitted look to it. This leaves no extra room for any tears or scratches.

What is The Purpose of a Rash Guard?

A rash guard (or rashie) is mainly used to keep the body safe from any dangers underwater. They act as a shield around the body and protect it from any possible cuts and dangers. Since the pressure of the water is very strong, wearing a rash guard while diving can protect your skin. It might even be a good idea to wear something under your rashie as well.

Some rash guards also have a UV coating that acts as a protective layer and keeps the body safe from exposure to UV rays. The water also usually tends to remove any sunscreen that you may have applied. In a case like that, your rash guard will automatically come to your rescue and keeps you protected from possible sunburn.

In order to gain all these benefits, you need to purchase a rash guard of high quality. Low-quality rashies can cause other issues, such as skin problems.

When Should You Use a Rash Guard?

Rash guards are specially designed for people who are involved in aquatic sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, etc.

The waves of the ocean and the pressure of water are not ideal for the skin. It can result in bruising of the skin, grazes, cuts and burns. It can even tear the skin. This is why rash guards should be used as they act as a protective layer between your skin and the water.

Do Rash Guards Keep You Warm?

Do rash guards keep you warm or do rash guards keep you cool? This is always a topic of debate – the main reason being the material of which the rash guard is made of.

Insulated And Cushioned Rash Guards

High-end brands that make rash guards make sure also to include a fleece lining that keeps the wearer a little warm and comfortable. This is a thermal rash guard or vest. The downside to these kinds of rash guards is that they may not give you a proper fit, unlike the typical one.

A regular rash guard or a skin suit that is made of nylon material or spandex will not provide you with any kind of warmth. This is because the material is too thin and not thick enough to keep you warm.

In most cases, rashies are worn under a wetsuit for additional warmth and comfort.

However, if you don’t want to wear a wetsuit and a skin suit, you can always go for other options. It comes in a range of varying thicknesses. So, if you need an extra layer of insulation, you can purchase one accordingly.

Finishing Dives

Rash guards can provide the most warmth when you’ve just come out from a dive. These skin suits have the ability to dry quickly, so when you’ve come out of a dive, it will dry your skin, and this keeps you warm.

What Are The Different Styles Of Rash Guards?

Rashies also come in different styles. There are a variety of different choices available on the market today, like:

Rashies With Long Sleeves

This type of skin suit is ideal for people who want a layer of normal wetsuit and a rash guard and also protect their arms from the sun.

T-Shirt Style Rashies

This is best suited if you’re just going to relax by the beach.

Vest Rashies (Or Sleeveless Style)

If you just want something to protect just your back and torso, this will be a good fit.

Another important factor to pay attention to is the fabric of the skin suit. The most common material used for this is the spandex/nylon material. However, there are other options available as well.

What Material is Best Suited For a Rash Guard?

Spandex And Nylon

This is the most common material for skin suits as they have an extraordinary feature of stretchability. This will also enable you to move around easily without any issues. This material is also very breathable so the user feels more comfortable.


The main highlight of lycra is that once you come out of a dive, it can easily wick away any water. This allows both you and the fabric to dry quickly.vOther than that it is also very flexible and also very breathable.


This material that is breathable and lightweight is used for making skin suits and a variety of different clothing. It also has excellent water-wicking properties that help the material dry faster.

The only drawback is that it is less stretchy when compared to the others. This makes movement very limited.


Neoprene is the first option for clothing manufacturers, especially when it comes to clothing that gets easily wet. Most swimsuits, rashies, and wetsuits are made of this material because of its property to dry very quickly.

This material also provides great insulation and warmth and is very flexible in nature. This allows the user to move around without any difficulties.

How To Find The Perfect Rash Guard

Listed below are a few tips that you can use to find a rash guard best suited for you.

  • If you want maximum protection from any possible dangers under the water or the sun, go for a rash guard that covers both the legs and arms.
  • Some people may find it difficult to put on a skin suit that is just one piece. It may be difficult to remove and put on. Purchase a separate top and bottom that will allow you to use it more quickly.
  • Go for a suit that fits you just right. A rash guard that is too tight can cause irritation on the skin, and a suit that is too loose can make you prone to injury.
  • A rash guard with insulation may keep you warmer than one without it, but it also takes more time to dry.
  • Once you’ve picked out an ideal skin suit, check out the seams. Make sure no fabric sticks out and is conveniently stitched for maximum comfort.
  • If you want to wear your skin suit in a pool, purchase one that is effectively resistant to chlorine as well.

Final Thoughts

Rash guards have proven to be very useful to people involved in water sports such as scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling. It might not seem like it, but it is an important piece of equipment if you ever want to try scuba diving.

It will keep your skin safe due to the water pressure and from cuts and bruising. It also protects you from the harmful stings of jellyfish and shields your skin from UV rays.

And yes, it keeps you warm when you’re underwater as well. So, remember always to wear a skin suit before you head on for your underwater adventure!

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