Update (April 14, 2021): It was too good to be true: After the Transportation Security Administration initially listed full-size sunscreen as a medically necessary product that passengers could have in carry-on bags, the TSA walked that back and clarified its position.
“Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 oz. were allowed in carry-on bags, if medically necessary. That error has been corrected,” the TSA said in a statement. “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.”
To learn more about why so many travelers (and dermatologists) were excited about the supposed change in regulations, continue to the original report below.
Original report (April 13, 2021): This story originally appeared on Allure.
Deciding what to do with your liquid beauty products might be the trickiest part of traveling. Do you buy pocket-size versions of your go-to’s? Do you purchase miniature empty bottles to fill with your favorite products? Do you say “screw it” and ditch your liquids altogether so you can hunt down full sizes once you get where you’re going? Everyone’s got their own approach, it seems, depending on their destination, how long they’ll be there, and how much room they’ve got to spare in their bags. But now there’s one incredibly important full-size staple we can all pack without fear: sunscreen.
Yes, the Transportation Security Administration just declared that full-size sunscreens are now allowed on flights in carry-on bags. That’s because sunscreens fall under the category of “medically necessary liquids” (as they should), which are permitted in larger amounts on carry-ons as long as you “declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection,” according to the TSA.
More specifically, you can pack sunscreens up to 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 milliliters in a carry-on bag; you’ll just need to make sure that you pack them in a transparent, resealable 1-quart bag (as you do the rest of your carry-on liquids) and present them for inspection once you reach the security checkpoint.
Dermatologists are, unsurprisingly, pretty damn excited about this new regulation. “So happy that the TSA is making sun protection easier,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut. As she explains, any time spent out in the sun requires a lot of sunscreen (she can go through multiple bottles of the stuff on a single vacation).
“For maximum protection, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher every two hours or after excessive sweating or swimming,” Dr. Gohara says. “It doesn’t stop there; you have to apply a shot glass amount [over] your entire body to really make it work.” Because the new rule allows travelers to easily bring more sunscreen with them, it allows people to have much better sun protection all around, she says.
It’s not often people say this, but thank you, TSA. Now it’ll be way easier to protect ourselves from sunburns, premature aging, discoloration, skin cancer, and more. Traveling or not, don’t forget to apply, apply, apply.
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