Sunscreen is often an essential item to include on your packing list.
There are various types of sunscreen including lotions, pump sprays, aerosol spray sunscreen, and even solid stick sunscreen.
This post looks at all these types of product and let’s you know if you can bring them on a plane, how much you can take with you, and where you should pack them.
TSA Sunscreen Spray Rules & Regulations
If you want to bring sunscreen on a plane you’ll need to get it past the airport security checkpoint.
The Transportation Security Administration is the team that screens luggage. If you pack the wrong size of spray sunscreen or too much it will be confiscated.
Here’s what they have to say about flying with sunscreen on their website.
You might be aware that there are rules around flying with aerosols.
Here’s the deal. While you can’t usually bring aerosols in carry-on luggage you can bring aerosol toiletries or medicines.
Since you apply sunscreen to your skin it’s classed as a toiletry.
Bringing Sunscreen In Carry On Luggage
You can bring liquid or aerosol spray sunscreen in your carry-on luggage in containers that are less than 3.4 ounces. You must pack these TSA-approved travel-size sunscreens in your quart-size bag.
The difficulty can be that a travel-size sunscreen container doesn’t hold a lot of sunscreen. You can pack multiple bottles but space in your quart bag is limited.
For this reason, I suggest you check out solid stick sunscreens like the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer face and body stick.
You can bring solid sunscreen larger than 3.4 oz in your carry-on bag without restriction. Since they are solids they don’t need to be packed in your plastic toiletries zip-top bag.
Bringing Sunscreen In Checked Luggage
If you want to bring lotion sunscreen or sunscreen spray in containers larger than 3.4 ounces then you need to pack it in checked baggage.
Don’t worry aerosol cans will not explode in hold luggage. Again, while flammable aerosols are banned from checked luggage you can bring toiletry aerosols like sunscreen spray.
You cannot bring any aerosol sunscreen larger than 18 ounces in checked baggage, and the total quantity can’t exceed 70 ounces.
One downside of packing sunscreen in checked baggage is that occasionally items are stolen from hold luggage or the entire suitcase gets lost by the airline.
It’s another reason why solid stick sunscreen is a great shout when traveling. While aerosol sunscreen is convenient it’s bulky and there are also some concerns that it’s not safe to breathe in the chemicals.
Still Not Sure? Check With The TSA About Your Sunscreen Spray
If you want further advice you can always just ask using the @AskTSA service on Twitter.
Dee checked with the TSA about bringing her aerosol spray sunscreen on a plane in her carry-on bag. They advised her that since it was a larger container it would only be allowed in checked baggage.
Steven was going on vacation and expected to go through a lot of sunscreen. He asked how much sunscreen lotion he could carry onboard the airplane.
The TSA just answered “3.4 oz”. It would have been better if they’d let Steven know that solid sunscreen is not restricted in hand luggage.
Jack has got it figured out. By choosing to bring solid sunscreen sticks instead of sprays or lotions he is able to fly with a carry-on and avoid any fees for checked bags. Sunscreen is already expensive without needing to pay for checked bags to transport it in.
Nicole was wise to ask if there was a limit to how much aerosol sunscreen could be checked.
Most aerosol cans are smaller than 18 oz so they can be packed in hold luggage.
A lot of travelers like Alexi are concerned because aerosol sunscreens can be flammable. Flammable toiletries are given a pass by the TSA, but flammable non-toiletries are restricted.
The Final Word
You can bring liquid or spray sunscreen in carry-on bags in travel size containers less than 3.4 ounces. Pack it in your quart-sized bag.
If you are like me a travel size bottle of sunscreen won’t last very long. I always pack solid stick sunscreen for this reason.
If you don’t mind paying the fees for checked bags then you are also allowed to pack sunscreen in hold luggage. If your chosen product is an aerosol then it must be in container smaller than 18 ounces and you can’t pack more than a 70 ounces of aerosols in total.
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