Can You Bring Sunscreen on a Plane? TSA Carry On Rules 2023

Can You Bring Sunscreen on a Plane?

When packing for a trip, there’s always that burning question: can you bring sunscreen on a plane? We’ve got the scoop on everything you need about transporting sunscreen in your carry-on bags and checked luggage.

The TSA and Sunscreen

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for airport security in the United States. They have specific rules regarding carry-on luggage, which include the infamous 3-1-1 rule. So, what does this rule mean for your sunscreen? Let’s break it down.

The 3-1-1 Rule and Sunscreen Containers

The 3-1-1 rule dictates that your carry-on’s liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, placed in a single, clear, quart-sized zip-top bag. Each passenger is allowed one such bag.

Luckily, most sunscreen bottles come in travel-sized versions that abide by TSA rules. But what about full-size sunscreen or aerosol sunscreen? The good news is that you can still bring them along, but they must go in your checked luggage.

Aerosol Sunscreen and the TSA

Aerosol cans are generally allowed in checked baggage, but some limitations exist. For aerosol spray sunscreen, the TSA permits them in checked baggage as long as they are for personal use and not flammable. Be cautious with other toiletry aerosols, as some may be restricted.

Aerosol Can

Packing Sunscreen for International Travel

Regarding international travel, you must check the rules of both your departing and arriving countries. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees flights in the United States, but other countries may have different rules. It’s always a good idea to consult the official website of the country’s aviation authority before packing.

What About Larger Quantities of Sunscreen?

If you’re planning a sun-soaked vacation and need larger quantities of sunscreen, it’s best to pack them in your checked luggage. Remember that TSA officers have the final say on whether an item is allowed on the plane.

Other Items to Consider

It’s not just sunscreen you must be mindful of when packing your bags. Here are some other items with specific restrictions:

  • Liquid hand sanitizer container: Allowed in carry-on bags in containers up to 12 ounces (350 milliliters), must be removed for screening.
  • Lithium batteries: Allowed in carry-on bags, but not in checked baggage.
  • Breast milk: Exempt from the 3-1-1 rule, but subject to additional screening.

In Conclusion: Can You Bring Sunscreen on a Plane?

The short answer is yes, you can bring sunscreen on a plane. Be mindful of the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on bags and pack any larger sunscreen containers in your checked luggage. Always check the TSA website and your destination country’s rules to ensure a hassle-free travel experience.

Carry-on Baggage and Security Checkpoints

When going through security checkpoints at the airport, security officers will look for items that don’t comply with the rules. Be prepared to take out your plastic bag containing toiletry items, including sunscreen, for inspection. If you have doubts about the TSA guidelines for a particular item, placing it in your checked luggage is best to avoid any issues.

Sun Protection and Skin Cancer

Sun protection is essential to prevent skin cancer, the most common form of cancer. Applying sunscreen before stepping out into the sun’s rays is a great way to protect your skin. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

Can You Bring Sunscreen On A Plane

TSA Guidelines for Other Items

The TSA has specific liquids rules for many other items. Some items, like pepper spray and dry ice, have strict limitations or are prohibited. Food items like peanut butter are subject to the same 3-1-1 rule as liquids. For a comprehensive list of items, consult the TSA’s guidelines on their website.

Tips for Packing Sunscreen

To make the most of your carry-on space, consider using small containers for sunscreen or purchasing travel-sized liquids of your favorite brand. Alternatively, you can buy sunscreen at your final destination to avoid any hassle at the airport.

Checked Baggage and Other Toiletries

Items like hair spray and nail polish remover must be packed in your hold luggage or checked baggage. Remember that TSA agents have the final say on whether an item can be brought on a plane.

Sunscreen Research and Recommendations

Brown University and the American Academy of Dermatology emphasize sun protection’s importance. For top recommendations, check out editor-approved face sunscreens from various publications.

Hand Luggage and Security Checkpoints

When you approach a security checkpoint at the airport, be ready to present your hand luggage for inspection. At TSA checkpoints, officers will verify if your liquids bag complies with the 3-1-1 requirements.

Fluid Ounces and Sunscreen Spray

Sunscreen comes in various forms, including sunscreen spray. If you opt for a spray, make sure it adheres to the TSA fluid ounces limit. For carry-on, the maximum allowed is 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).

Packing Sunscreen and Other Items

When you pack sunscreen for your trip, consider the following items: a quart-sized bag for your carry-on liquids, and a smaller container for sunscreen if needed. Remember that limited quantities of liquids are allowed in hand luggage, so you may need to pack larger amounts of sunscreen or full-size sunscreen in your checked bag.

Lithium Ion Batteries and Domestic Flights

For those traveling on domestic flights, it’s important to note that lithium-ion batteries are allowed in carry-on bags but not in checked luggage. Always check your bag for restricted items before heading to the airport.

Medical Marijuana and the TSA

While medical marijuana is legal in some states, it remains illegal under federal law. As a result, it’s not allowed on flights, and the final decision rests with the TSA officers at the checkpoint.

Different Ways to Pack and TSA Liquids Rule

There are different ways to organize your luggage while following the TSA liquids rule. Using a simple product like packing cubes or a toiletry bag can help keep your belongings neat and easy to access during the screening process.

Final Thoughts


Q: Can I bring a full-size bottle of sunscreen in my carry-on bag? A: No, full-size bottles of sunscreen must be placed in checked luggage.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule for sunscreen? A: Larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, like prescription sunscreens, may be allowed. However, they will be subject to additional screening.

Other Questions:

There are many other items that travelers often wonder about. Here are some more articles that explore different items and rules related to air travel:

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