Update: Shortly after reports circulated that the TSA would allow full-sized bottles of sunscreen in carry-on bags, the administration released a statement announcing that the supposed ruling had been made in error.
"Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 oz. were allowed in carry-on bags, if medically necessary," the statement reads. "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."
Needless to say, the correction is extremely disappointing. We can only hope that one day the TSA will come to its senses and recognize that access to sunscreen can be a matter of life or death. Until then, we'll be stocking up on our favorite SPFs in travel-size form.
This story was originally published on April 12.
When traveling and vacations resume, there’s now one less thing to worry about when you’re boarding a flight to your next sunny locale — or really just anywhere you intend to spend time outside.
According to a recent announcement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airplane passengers can now travel with full-sized bottles of sunscreen in their carry-on bags. This small but significant change is thanks to the Department of Dermatology at Brown University, which challenged the TSA on the 3.4-ounce liquid limit because sunscreen is a necessary protectant against skin cancer, thus should be policed under the same regulations as carry-ons such as inhalers, contact solution, and medications.
As of April 7, sunscreens and SPF products are considered by the TSA to be "medically-necessary liquids," which means they’re permitted in larger quantities in carry-ons as long as you declare them to security officers at the TSA checkpoint for inspection. Provided you do that, you're free to bring a full-sized bottle of sunscreen without concerns of confiscation.
This new amendment comes ahead of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May. Currently, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the National Foundation For Cancer Research, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States every day. However, the organization also says that it is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer. Given skin cancer’s strong correlation to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, the National Foundation for Cancer Research advises that everyone use at least an SPF 15 or higher for regular use and 30 or above for outdoor activities.
Re-applying sunscreen regularly — not just once a day — is essential to ensuring it’s an effective protectant against the sun, which makes being able to pack plenty of sunscreen all the more important.