Can't wait to slip into a swimsuit and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin? You might want to try a swim shirt (a.k.a rash guard) instead, especially if you're fair-skinned or planning to be out in the water a lot this summer: Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the U.S. every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, and sunblock only goes so far, especially if you're not applying it properly or constantly. Why not just wear a rash guard—a long-sleeved athletic shirt designed for water wear—to block rays instead?
"Long sleeves at the beach?!" you're saying? Hear us out.
“Clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection for the body because it offers a convenient and consistent shield,” says Skin Cancer Foundation vice president Susan H. Weinkle. “Rash guards are a great option because they help protect the chest, arms, stomach, and back from the sun’s UV rays. Many are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, so they are just as comfortable in and out of the water.”
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More to the point, there are tons of great stylish and even sexy options out there these days (and anyway, what's less hot than a nasty, peeling sunburn?). Check out these cute picks that will keep you fashionable and burn-free during all of your summer water exploits.
The sporty, belly-baring DNKY Zipper Cropped Rash Guard ($82, zappos.com) has a convenient front zipper, making it super-easy to slip on and off.
The Beth Richards Cara Rash Guard ($160, revolveclothing.com) serves up a dose of edge thanks to its mesh sleeves and all-black hue.
Made with Lycra Sport, the O’Neill Voda One-Piece 365 Surfsuit ($94, zappos.com) is slow to lose its shape, so you can don this tribal print beauty for several summer seasons.
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With a built-in bra, you can throw on the Robin Piccone Hannah Short Sleeve Mesh Rash Guard ($98, nordstrom.com) for a dip in the pool or pair it with your favorite cutoffs.
An intricately beautiful pattern and 50+ UPF make the Gypsy Queen Rash Guard ($49.50, nordstrom.com) your perfect surfside accessory.
Side ties allow you to tailor the length (show a little or a lot!) on this tunic-style Land’s End Adjustable Rash Guard ($55, landsend.com) for a perfect fit.
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Consider the Nautica Safe Haven Zip Up Swim Tee ($65, zappos.com) your ode to the high seas. Bonus: The raglan cap sleeves and bold stripes will set you apart from your sail mates.
Show off your teeny-tiny bikini top through this über-feminine Tommy Bahama Crochet Lace Rash Guard ($96, tommybahama.com) while still shielding your skin from the sun.
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