It’s probably not the reason you think.
I’m going to level with you guys right off the bat. I’ve very, very pale. Translucent even. Despite having been made fun of for most of my adult life (and entire teen life) for meticulously applying the highest SPF sunscreen I can get my hands on every two hours like clockwork, at this point the chance of me not getting skin cancer is like, 0.01%.
And the pool is the worst.
It does not matter how careful you are, when you are wearing nothing but glorified underwear, it is next to impossible to cover every square inch with sunscreen. You’re bound to miss a spot sometimes.
Y’all, sunburns are the worst. They hurt. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve never had a real one. Yet despite that, what I hate even MORE than sunburns is applying sunscreen to my entire body four times a day every day. It takes forever, it’s just. the. worst. (Yeah yeah, first world problem.)
So about halfway through last summer when I was oh-so-tired of applying my SPF 50, I was getting my kid dressed in his pool shirt, turned to my husband and said “How come they make long-sleeve swim shirts for little kids, and everyone acts like this is perfectly normal, but not adults?” And he looked right back and said “They probably do.”
That was the day my life was changed forever.
Y’ALL. THEY MAKE SWIM SHIRTS FOR ADULTS AND THEY ARE GLORIOUS.
My absolute favorite thing about my swim shirt (officially called rash guards) is that I don’t have to apply sunscreen to my entire upper body. Which is great, because the places I am most likely to get a sunburn are my shoulders and back, and those are also the spots that are hardest to reach. But other bonuses, the shirt is comfortable, I stay nice and cool even on the hottest days, and when it’s time to get out I just pull the shirt off and I’m instantly dry.
By the way, this swim shirt from Lands End is the one I bought, and I wear a bikini top underneath.
I’ll be honest, I get a lot of funny looks. A lot of people probably assume I wear a swim shirt because I’m ashamed of my body, or that it’s some kind of religious modesty thing. It used to bother me a lot, and I honestly felt more self-conscious the first time I showed up at the pool in a shirt than I ever did in a bikini. But these days I could care less what people think and the weird looks I get. I’m saving my skin, and that’s what matters most to me.