Since today is Melanoma Monday and the month of May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to protect my skin from harmful skin cancer-causing UV rays while at the pool or beach: long-sleeved swimsuits! I love that they can also double as ultra-quick outfits since you can throw a pair of shorts on over them and be ready for an adventure in an instant.
I bought a couple of these rashguard swimsuits for our trip to Hawai’i last year and they both served different purposes. One had a more fashion-forward design with an open back and beautiful bow closure (which meant asking for some assistance with sunscreen re-application throughout the day) which was perfect for spending time at the pool. The other long-sleeved swimsuit that I packed was full coverage and ideal for wearing during ocean adventures. Both of my rashguard swimsuits were made with typical swimsuit material, but some options are created with a thicker neoprene wetsuit material (which is ideal for surfing and other water sport activities), so just be conscious of the different fabrics when shopping!
I had an especially frustrating experience while trying to find exactly what I was looking for: a swimsuit with long sleeves, not just a long-sleeved shirt to wear over my swimsuit. Rashguard shirts may be a good option for people wearing board shorts / swim trunks, but I personally hate the heavy, clingy feeling of a wet t-shirt and I find that the sun protection coverage is inconsistent with shirts since they can shift around. Additionally, if the rashguard top is made of swimsuit material, what kind of swim bra do you wear underneath it? There’s absolutely no way that I could get away with not wearing some kind of top or bra underneath (especially after having Sophie 😜) and I’m not inclined to wear a swimsuit under my swimsuit, but I digress…
Not only was this exact type of swimsuit difficult to source because every retailer calls them something different (Rashguard, Rashguard Swimsuit, Surfsuit, Springsuit, Long-Sleeve One Piece, etc.), but finding prints and styles that I liked made my search even more challenging! I wanted styles that were classic-yet-feminine and had full coverage around my neck for maximum UV protection. Brands where I found the most success were Mott50 and Tillys which carries a lot of surf brands (such as Roxy, Billabong, O’Neill, and Rip Curl) and all of those brands have a bit more of a femme aesthetic to their styles so I found the Tillys selection to be especially great.
If you’re looking for a more fun, flirty, and fashion-forward long sleeved swimsuit the following options are all really pretty, but you’re definitely going to need to be more conscious about sunscreen coverage and reapplication in the open areas (boatneck or deep V necklines, cutouts, open backs, etc).
I especially love the pieces from minnow, Marysia, and the LoveShackFancy x Hurley collaboration.
Because it is Skin Cancer Awareness Month I would be remiss not to recommend a daily sunscreen! Even if you aren’t at the beach or pool… a sunscreen will protect your skin from UV rays which are just as harmful in everyday life (commute to work, through the windows of your house / office, grabbing lunch or picking your kids up from school — even on cloudy days!). It’s worth noting that lot of makeup brands already include at least some SPF in the formulas of their foundations so you likely already have a bit of daily coverage, but for extra protection in sunnier situations I prefer to wear this tinted sunscreen on my face (which actually makes a pretty great foundation primer) and this sunscreen on my body.
Lastly, I want to offer a gentle reminder to see a dermatologist annually, just like you would see your general physician for your physical. This way the doctor can monitor any concerning areas and take care of anything before it becomes a problem. If you don’t have a dermatologist yet, ask your primary care provider for a referral! Skin cancer is the easiest form of cancer to treat (and beat!) so it’s worth taking the time to have that yearly checkup. I have a history of skin cancer in my family (we’re all of Nordic / European descent meaning that our fair skin is even more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays) so I’m pretty passionate about making this type of appointment a priority.
*Note: no matter the level of melanin in your skin, it’s important to see a dermatologist regularly and take protective measures with your skin (it’s the only body you get!).
Stay sun-safe, and happy swimsuit shopping, friends!
Sending hugs —