Since you love and care for your skin, you’ll want to carry sunscreen to your next destination.
It might also be costly to buy your favorite brand when you arrive. Even more worrying is when you can’t find sunscreen your skin likes in your next destination.
Therefore, the first question you probably ask when packing your skincare products is “can I bring spray sunscreen on a plane?” Plus, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be waiting for you if you pack the wrong size.
Let’s talk about the rules first…
- TSA Rules You Shouldn’t Ignore
- Final Thoughts
- Related Articles
TSA Rules You Shouldn’t Ignore
Skincare isn’t cheap. We invest so much in all skincare products. For that reason, no one wants to see their products confiscated at the airport and thrown into the nearest trash can.
Plus, when traveling to an unfamiliar destination, losing sunscreen at the airport means spending some time shopping when you land.
To keep your sunscreen, follow these guidelines from TSA.
The TSA lists all items you can bring on board, from food to medical and sporting gear. It also explains what goes in the carry-on and what you can only carry in a checked bag.
Sunscreen is in the toiletry category; therefore, you can put it in your carry-on.
Your sunscreen’s weight should be less than 3.4 ounces. Remember, you’ll also be hoping to stay within the carry-on size and dimension limits, which might be impossible when you carry more stuff in it instead of using your checked bag.
The 3-1-1 Rule
The TSA uses a 3-1-1 rule, which guides you on the amount of liquid in your carry-on and how you package it. First, “3” stands for the number of ounces in each container you carry. If you have a full-size sunscreen that you don’t want to carry in your checked luggage, you may have to get a smaller one in a TSA-approved travel bottle.
Secondly, “1” in the 3-1-1 rule means all your liquids should be in one clear, quart-sized bag. It’ll make the screening process easy by separating liquids from other luggage. The officers will see what’s in the bag, and if they need to inspect the contents, they’ll do so.
The last “1” in the rule stands for the number of quart-sized bags per passenger. It means you can only use one bag for your toothpaste, body lotion, mouthwash, and any other liquid in your carry-on. Nonetheless, you don’t have to put solid sunscreen sticks in a quart-sized bag before putting them in your carry-on bag.
The 3.4 ounce-limit sounds like you have to use a weighing scale. But, you don’t have to, as most sunscreens weigh about an ounce. But, if unsure, consult TSA or place it on a weighing scale instead of losing your favorite sunscreen during airport screening.
You’ll often see passengers contacting the AskTSA account on Twitter with queries on flammable sunscreen, full-sized sunscreen, and quart-sized packaging.
Carry-On or Checked Luggage?
Yes, you can carry your sunscreen in both. But, checked luggage doesn’t have to stick to the 3.4-ounce rule so put your sunscreen there.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the restricted medicine and toiletry content in your checked bag should be under 70 ounces or 68 fluid ounces.
Aerosol sunscreen in a checked bag should be under 18 ounces. It’s better than carrying a 3.4-ounce bottle that may not be enough for the duration of your vacation or business trip.
There are exceptions for inbound international flights. In such a case, you can carry liquids weighing more than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on if you can prove you bought the duty-free liquids before your connecting flight to the US. Additionally, it should be in an untampered, transparent bag and have proof you purchased it within the last 48 hours.
You’re to check if your can of sunscreen spray is flammable as that would mean TSA might confiscate it. Check the ingredients or the can for flammable labeling.
Also, if you’re taking a long flight, you’d rather have it in your carry-on in case you need to reapply. It also saves you the trouble of worrying about the contents in the bottle spilling onto other items in your bag.
In case your checked bag delays, you’ll have some sunscreen in your carry-on to last the while. If it’s your first time doing this, bringing some in your carry-on bag will also confirm if the brand and amount of sunscreen you carry is TSA-approved. It’ll save you the trouble of investing in a brand that won’t go through airport security.
Does TSA count sunscreen as a liquid?
Yes, the same rules apply to sunscreen and other liquids, gels, and aerosols.
You’ll have to put all of them in one quart-sized bag to get on board. If you want to carry quantities larger than 3.4 ounces, carry them in a checked bag. However, check the total weight of all the liquids in your luggage, limiting your sunscreen to 18 ounces.
You’ll also note that sunscreen isn’t a medically necessary product. An error on the website had everyone thinking that TSA had shifted sunscreen to the medically necessary category, which meant you could carry quantities larger than 3.4 ounces in a carry-on.
Will aerosol cans explode in checked luggage?
No, they won’t explode unless there’s excess pressure inside. Since it’ll be in a suitcase and away from direct sunlight, your aerosol can won’t explode.
On top of that, your suitcase will be in a pressurized luggage hold with regulated temperatures. But, to prevent the unexpected, there are regulations on some aerosols, so you have to confirm whether what you want to carry has a quantity limit or it’s banned.
Is a sandwich bag TSA approved?
It must have the dimensions of a quart-sized bag that are 6″ by 9″. In most cases, a sandwich bag is 6.5″ by 5.8″. It’ll give you less space, yet you can only carry one bag. Instead of worrying about the size of your liquids bag and whether you’ll go through the screening process, get a TSA-approved quart bag.
You’ll take it out of the carry-on and place it in a bin, and they’ll know your sandwich bag isn’t quart-sized.
Not every bag marketed as quart-size fits within the TSA rule of a quarter of a gallon volume. Some bags are larger, and they’ll not pass screening. But, that only happens when your bag is oversized.
Alternatively, put your liquids in checked luggage where you don’t need the quart-size bag as you can use any tamper-evident bag.
What goes into the quart-size bag?
You’ll carry liquids, gels, aerosols allowed into the plane, pastes, and creams. They’ll all be in small containers, with a total weight under 3.4 ounces per item.
Can you bring aerosol cans in carry-on luggage?
No, if they are flammable aerosols that aren’t toiletry or medicinal. However, you can have non-toiletry aerosols of non-inflammable products in your checked luggage. The permitted ones include insect repellant, perfume, dry shampoo, deodorant, and hair mousse.
Though we said these cans aren’t dangerous under normal circumstances, banning some of them is a safety measure in case of a fire. The ones you shouldn’t pack when flying include cooking, disinfectant, and ironing sprays.
Should you wear sunscreen on a plane?
The window seat is the most-coveted spot on a plane, and since you’d also want to sit there, wear sunscreen. You’ll be in a higher altitude zone, meaning more exposure to UV light.
Keeping the window shade down is an option, but you’ll still have UV exposure through other windows.
You can carry sunscreen on a plane as it’s in the toiletry category. But, you’ll have to put it in your checked bag if it weighs more than 3.4 ounces.
Additionally, place it inside a quart-sized bag before you stash it in your carry-on to make screening less hectic. You’ll also need space in the quart bag for all other liquids and gels you want to take on board.
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