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This is unfortunate news in so many ways but the TSA has now released a statement via Tiwtter, “Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 oz. were allowed in carry-on bags if medically necessary. That error has been corrected. Sunscreen in carry-on bags must be 3.4 oz. or less. Larger quantities should be placed in checked baggage.”

The TSA has long promoted its 3-1-1 liquids rule, which states that “each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.”

Once the pandemic began, the TSA made an exception for hand sanitizer. “TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint screening experience.”

UPDATE: And yesterday (April 7), the TSA is erroneously reported they were allowing travelers to pack full-size sunscreens in their carry-on bags. Supposedly it was thanks to a proposal by the dermatology department of Brown University that the TSA allow full-sized sunscreens in carry-on luggage to promote sun protection and prevent skin cancer.

RELATED: Buy sunscreen on Amazon

Sadly, it’s no longer true. See statement at the top of this page. According to the TSA website: “TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.” Sunscreen now qualifies as a medically necessary liquid but note that you will have to declare a full-size container to security, which could add a little extra time to your screening process. NOTE: A reader wrote in to say that she was not allowed to bring a 6oz bottle of sunscreen in her carry-on at DFW on April 12. If you are denied, ask to speak to a supervisor. It’s possible that not all TSA agents are aware of the change. You can find the TSA’s specific reference to sunscreen here. And here’s a screenshot from their website:


If you have any questions about what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on and checked luggage, this TSA list breaks it down for you.

This is great news for travelers and comes just as we head into skin cancer awareness month in May. Unfortunately, I have had my own experience with squamous cell carcinoma, which likely could have been prevented had I worn sunscreen and lip balm with a higher SPF.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, “skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and unprotected UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.”

To minimize your risk, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following:

-Seeking shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

-Wearing sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible.

-Applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

While many of us are diligent about wearing sunscreen when we’re on a tropical vacation or at the beach, the Skin Cancer Foundation says we should all be wearing sunscreen every day. “The best practice is to apply 30 minutes before venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. Reapply every two hours of exposure and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Even when it’s cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth. Going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage.” KEEP READING: What I Wore To Stay Safe While Flying

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2 Comments On "TSA Does NOT Allow Full-Sized Sunscreen in Carry-On Bags"
  1. Cindy|

    Nope, not at DFW. April 12, 2021, just went through security and he said no way to my 6oz sunscreen. This is either false information or TSA hasn’t notified their employees yet.

  2. Steve|

    It’s more like a half truth. The asterick disclaimer in the screenshot has always been the policy. TSA hasn’t made any sweeping policy change that allows all sunscreen through security. The dermatology department at Brown University is mis-representing an existing TSA policy.
    The policy goes something like this: As you approach security, remove from your carry-on bag any medically necessary liquids and place the items into a tray. When the officer begins searching your items, say something like “that item is medically necessary for my flight.” The officer should then perform the required test on the item and if everything clears, they’ll allow you to proceed with it. Keep in mind, the size of the item is supposed to be what is required for your flight, not your whole trip. That’s why 99% of medically declared liquids are breast milk and baby formula. Also, if you leave the item in your carry on bag where the officer has to physically search for it, then it is technically no longer considered “medically declared” and that’s when you’ll get the unenthusiastic “this can’t go” and then it gets tossed into the waste bin.

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