Last Updated: July 18, 2023
Unlike scuba equipment such as wetsuits and masks, rash guards are not a necessity.
However, if you prefer a safe and itch-free diving experience, we’d suggest you wear your rash guard.
This optional vest is thinner than your usual clothes, which confuses a lot of people on how to wear it. Can you wear it directly under your wetsuit, or should you have something under it? This guide will help you understand that.
What Are Rash Guards?
Rash guards or rashies protect you from the sun, salt, sand, and possibly dangerous creatures or obstructing items during water sports. As the name suggests, these guards prevent skin rashes by coming between your skin and the wetsuit.
Moreover, if you wear it during scuba diving, you can escape the annoying skin rub caused by your BCD straps. If you don’t already know, open water tends to be a lot cooler than what you may experience in swimming pools. Thats why, you can use a rash guard to keep you warm as an additional thermal layer.
Depending upon your preference and use, you can get a rash vest or long-sleeved rashie. Also, you can choose between tight and loose-fitted options.
Reasons Why You Should Wear Something Beneath Your Rash Guard
Wearing something under your rashie is anything but compulsory. However, there are several reasons why you may want to avoid going commando under your rash guard. Check them out.
Personal Hygiene and Cleanliness
Most recreational divers and people who participate in other water sports tend to use the company’s equipment or rent it from outside. What this essentially means is that several other people before you have used that particular gear.
For the sake of hygiene, it is best that you wear a layer of clothing beneath your scanty rashguard. This way, you can ensure it doesn’t directly contact your skin, preventing you from contracting potential germs and bacteria from strangers.
Being short pieces of cloth, rash guards don’t usually cover your entire body. This makes it essential for you to wear an extra layer to cover your remaining body completely. This way, you can try and avoid sunburn and rashes.
What’s more, additional coverage will help you avoid the trouble of attracting animals like sharks. This is because reflective diving equipment can scare away dangerous predators. Simply put on cycling gear with long sleeves, and you are good to go.
To Keep Yourself Warm
Unless you are a fan of cold water, you might want to wear an extra layer for warmth. Especially during winters, a thin layer of clothing under your rash guard can save you from shivering.
Even a thin layer underneath a rashie can insulate heat near your body. It can prevent developing potentially harmful conditions such as hypothermia.
What Should You Wear Under a Rash Guard?
Wearing a piece of clothing beneath your rashie comes with its benefits. It’s now time to have a look at what you can wear.
Tight Swim Trunks or Cycling Pants
Typically, rash guards don’t cover your lower body. If you need full-body protection from possible sunburns and rashes, wear something to cover your legs too.
During the summer months, a pair of cycling pants can work well. These pants make for a good fit because they are thin and body-hugging. This implies that you don’t have to wait long for them to dry.
On the other hand, wearing loose-fitted board shorts and swim trunks under your wetsuit leggings is not suitable. Such clothes tend to cluster beneath the leggings, causing discomfort. This can even lead to chafing, more specifically between your legs.
During winter days, people are more inclined to wear thick leggings beneath their rashies. Though useful in fighting the cold, this means that your suit will remain wet for longer, despite stepping out of water. Instead, try wearing yoga leggings made out of thin material.
Bikini or Sports Bra
Rash guards seldom give any chest support, making it inconvenient for women to wear them directly. This is because it may cause them back pain and general discomfort.
The best option for females is to wear a tightly-fitted sports bra. This will guarantee sufficient support, allowing you to direct all your attention to the water sport. Also, since sports bras are mostly thin, your wetsuit will dry quickly.
Alternatively, many women go for a bikini suit. Both the options are good enough.
What you need to pay close attention to are the accessories such as metal rings, knots, etc. Though nice looking, such additions can pinch your skin while under a tight rash guard.
Do You Need Sunscreen Under Rash Guard?
While scuba diving helps you get your daily quota of vitamin D, it also puts you at risk of sunburn. The sun’s UV rays tend to harm your skin, which results in sunburn.
You can avoid this by wearing good-quality rashguards that come with UPF 50+ protection. What this really means is that the fabric used in your rashie is tightly woven and is of premium quality.
Having said that, there are still areas that go uncovered. We’d suggest you apply a marine-safe sunscreen on your face, hands, neck, feet, and legs.
For the best results, apply it at least an hour before you jump in the water. This will allow it to soak into your skin entirely and offer better skin protection.
In a nutshell, wearing something under your rash guard is a matter of choice. But, if you are looking to have an excellent water adventure, you might as well wear it.
Generally, cycling pants or thin yoga pants are a go-to choice. Additionally, women often wear sports bras or bikinis for better chest support and comfort.
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.