No, TSA will not allow full-sized sunscreen in carry-on bags

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It turns out that we all got excited over nothing. Travelers were abuzz this week over an apparent rule change from the Transportation Security Administration that seemed to say we would be able to bring full-size tubes of sunscreen in our carry-on bags.

Then, TSA said there had been an error on their website, and sorry, but you’re still only allowed to bring sunscreen in a 3.4-ounce or smaller container in your carry-on.

Beach-goers and spring skiers had rejoiced at the apparent news. Finally! We could bring a full-size container of our favorite sunscreen along on the trip, just as many of us are getting vaccinated and starting to think about traveling by airplane again.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t true.

Airplane taking off behind luggage at airport
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Intrepid travelers had caught what seemed to be a shift in the regulations on TSA’s website. Refinery29 reported that the apparent rule change followed a challenge from Brown University’s department of dermatology that had asked TSA to reconsider the rule since sunscreen is essential in protecting against skin cancer.

But alas, on April 12, TSA issued a clarification.

“Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 ounces were allowed in carry-on bags, if medically necessary. That error has been corrected. Travelers still need to ensure liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags meet the 3-1-1 requirements and are no larger than 3.4 ounces,” the statement from TSA reads.

The 3-1-1 rule is what we’ve been doing for years now: Your carry-on liquids can’t be larger than 3.4 ounces, and they all have to fit into one quart-sized bag. Anything larger has to go into your checked bag.

“TSA advises passengers who need larger quantities of sunscreen, or other liquids, gels and aerosols, to add them to checked baggage for use at their destination,” the statement continued.

Dang.

Child applying sunscreen at beach
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I don’t know about you, but my sunscreen is often the largest bottle in my quart-size liquids bag. But I’m only carrying it for myself — anyone who needs to cover the whole family in sunscreen at the beach is probably practiced at packing a full-size sunscreen into a checked bag.

You’ll have to keep doing that, and hang on to those TSA-approved 3.4-ounce bottles of your favorite sunscreen because you’re going to need them.

Health, News, Style & Beauty, Travel
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About the Author
Jenn Fields
Jenn Fields serves as Simplemost Media’s managing editor from Colorado, where she worked as a reporter and editor, on staff and as a freelancer, at newspapers and magazines. After earning her master’s from University of Missouri’s journalism school, Jenn worked in community journalism for 10 years, writing and editing for the Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post. Over her 20-year career, she has covered a diverse range of topics, including travel, health and fitness, outdoor sports and culture, climate science, religion and plenty of other fascinating topics.

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