News & Events, Travel

Dear TSA: make up your mind about flying with Sunscreen

That’s a no to bottles larger than 3.4 ounces in a carry-on.

words by: Natasha Marsh
May 9, 2021

Not that any of us have been traveling (thanks Covid), but for those of you about to make travel plans as the world opens up, you might want to know this quick TSA tidbit.


Just weeks ago, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), declared sunscreen as a medically approved item, meaning they approved a full-size sunscreen bottle in carry-on luggage. But now, they are going back on this promise. The website currently states sunscreen traveling in carry-on bags must be less than 3.4 ounces with a small declaration stating, “The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”


The dermatology department at Brown University, the people who helped make this change, challenged the TSA on their notion stating that sunscreen helps protect against skin cancer. To their delight, the motion was approved and SPF items were placed in essential categories alongside contact solution, medication and inhalers.


But it wasn’t that smooth of a decision, as TSA still requires you to report to officials that you have it on you. “TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection,” the TSA website says.


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and as May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the people at Brown University really hoped to get the changed implemented before then. “Estimates show that increasing sunscreen use by 5 percent per year over 10 years would lead to a 10 percent reduction in melanomas in the United States,” they wrote in a recent article. Their victory sadly lasted just two weeks. The jury is still out to see if The Transportation Security Administration will come to their senses and approve full-size sunscreen bottles again (in carry-on luggage).


We believe it could help protect against sun damage and raise awareness about the risks of skin cancer. To learn more about America’s most common cancer and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, visit


Photo via AP Photo/David Zalubowski