These are the best skincare products for river trips (Photo: Hannah McCaughey)

A River Rat’s Guide to Skin Care

Between sun, water, sand, and wind, river trips are hard on the skin. Here are six packable essentials to protect you from the elements.

Skin Weather Whitewater Rafting Rivers Camping Tools Float Sun Skincare Sunscreen Moisturizer
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Cracked heels, scaly limbs, and chapped lips—on the river, boaters know the pain of weather-beaten skin. Fortunately, there are skin-care options to help combat sun and water exposure that go beyond chalky mineral sunblock, dehydrating natural soap, and products that leave toxic deposits in our waterways. Here’s what you need to stay clean, moisturized, and protected, from put-in to take-out.

Weleda Skin Food Body Butter Lotion ($19)

sunscreen face cream skincare sun SPF lip balm

Before you crawl into your sleeping bag, slather cracked fingers and crusty knees with this extra-thick balm. Glycerin, sunflower-seed oil, and cocoa-seed butter seal in moisture and reinforce your skin’s natural barrier. The subtle chamomile scent is basically raft-guide perfume.

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Jack Black Intense Therapy SPF 25 Lip Balm ($8)

sunscreen face cream skincare sun SPF lip balm
Photo: Courtesy Jack Black

We love a high-SPF balm that doesn’t taste like Coppertone. This one, with avocado oil and shea butter, slides on smooth and guards against UVA and UVB rays.

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Supergoop Play Antioxidant Mist SPF 50 Sunscreen ($15)

sunscreen face cream skincare sun SPF lip balm
Photo: Courtesy Supergoop!

This non-aerosol spray goes on smooth and clear and hits hard-to-reach spots. The formula is free of oxyben­zone, a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens.

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Peak Scents Power Repair Face Cream ($20)

sunscreen face cream skincare sun SPF lip balm
Photo: Courtesy Peak Scents

This nourishing, all-natural moisturizer was designed by a clinical herbalist and former raft guide. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, alpha-lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10 offer skin cells extra protection from sun damage.

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Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask ($20)

sunscreen face cream skincare sun SPF lip balm
Photo: Courtesy Laneige

Don’t let the name fool you—this thick, long-wearing balm can be used day or night. With hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to soothe and restore skin, the formula turns chapped, sunburned lips soft and smooth.

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