Dive skins are used when diving in water temperatures above 25 °C (77 °F). They are normally made from Spandex or Lycra and provide little thermal protection, but do protect the skin from jellyfish stings, abrasion and sunburn. This kind of suit is also known as a 'Stinger Suit'. Some divers prefer dive skins or stinger suits over wetsuits, because it is comfortable and easier to wear and does not cause skin problems like neoprene and rubber does for some.
The traditional stinger suit was designed and developed to provide full body cover including arms, legs and neck. Recent designs include cover for the head, and are now known as the ultimate sun protection hooded stinger suit.
Stinger suits are very popular in Australia, and for good reason, where swimmers may come across jellyfish stingers, and more importantly due to the sun UV radiation which causes sunburn and skin damage including skin cancer. Research has shown that over exposure to the sun UV radiation at an early age can increase the risk of skin cancer at later stage, so it is very important for children to be well protected when exposed to the sun.
The new generation of stinger suits which uses material much superior to the traditional Lycra and Spandex, provide excellent sun protection with UPF50+ UV cover which blocks >97.5% of the sun UV radiation; and depending on fabric used, they can also offer chlorine resistance, shape and color retention, piling resistance, breathability, durability, two way stretch for extra comfort, and a perfect fit like second skin.
Dive skins or Stinger suits are not cheap, although you can always find a good merchant offering excellent suits at a very reasonable price. One such supplier is EcoStinger that offers a large variety of Stinger suits for kids, juniors, women and men in different colors and features example built-in hood, built-in bra for ladies, and bright colors for children where you can easily spot your precious ones on the beach.
For best skin protection make sure your stinger suit or dive skin provide UPF50+ UV cover which blocks over 97.5% of the sun UVA and UVB radiation. UV rays can reach your skin even when under water.