From preventing the risk of sunburn and skin cancer to slowing down the signs of aging, the importance of wearing sunscreen can’t be overstated.
So you might be wondering how easy it will be to bring sunscreen with you on your next flight.
While you can take sunscreen on a plane in your checked bags, the TSA state that you are only allowed to bring sunscreen in containers that are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml in your carry on bags.
But are there different rules depending on the type of sunscreen?
Do the rules changes when flying internationally?
Should you also wear sunscreen on a plane?
Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can You Bring Sunscreen in Your Carry On?
- 2 Can You Bring Sunscreen in Your Checked Bag?
- 3 Bringing Sunscreen on International Flights
- 4 Airline Regulations and Sunscreen
- 5 The Type of Sunscreen You Want to Bring Matters
- 6 Sunscreen Won’t Explode on a Plane?
- 7 It’s a Good Idea to Wear Sunscreen While on the Plane
Can You Bring Sunscreen in Your Carry On?
You can bring sunscreen on a plane in your carry on bags as long as the container doesn’t exceed 3.4oz/100ml.
Fortunately, there are many sunscreen brands that make bottles that are smaller than 3.4oz/100ml, so you won’t run into any issues, but this does mean that you won’t be able to pack full-size sunscreen in your carry on.
If your bottle of sunscreen exceeds 3.4oz/100ml, you will either have to put it in your checked bags, or pour some into a smaller container that abides by TSA rules.
In total, if you are only bringing sunscreen as your toiletries, you can fit approximately 7-8 bottles in a 1 quart-sized resalable bag as you pass through airport security.
Can You Bring Sunscreen in Your Checked Bag?
You can pack sunscreen in your checked bags in very large quantities – so much so that, for most people, there really shouldn’t be any limit to how much sunscreen you can bring if you’re checking in a bag.
The TSA state that when packing sunscreen in your checked bags, “the total aggregate quantity per person cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces)”.
They also state that “the capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).”
Bringing Sunscreen on International Flights
It makes no difference if you’re flying domestically within the USA or internationally.
Worldwide, the 3-1-1 rule applies.
This means that you are only allowed to bring sunscreen on a plane in your carry on bag if each container does not exceed 3.4oz/100ml, and they are placed in a 1 quart-sized resalable bag.
Airline Regulations and Sunscreen
All airlines follow TSA regulations.
This means that you can only bring sunscreen in a container that does not exceed 3.4oz/100ml in your carry on bags.
The Type of Sunscreen You Want to Bring Matters
You might be wondering if the type of sunscreen you bring on a plane matters.
In fact, yes, it actually does.
- Sunscreen Lotion: If packed in your carry on, sunscreen lotion must be in a container no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
- Sunscreen Cream: If packed in your carry on, sunscreen cream must be in a container no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
- Sunscreen Gel: If packed in your carry on, sunscreen gel must be in a container no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
- Spray Sunscreen: If packed in your carry on, spray sunscreen must be in a container no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
- Stick Sunscreen: You can bring stick sunscreen in both your carry on and checked bags without restrictions.
- Powder Sunscreen: Powder sunscreen is allowed in your carry on bag, but if in a container greater than 12 oz. / 350 ml, it must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening
Sunscreen Won’t Explode on a Plane?
Sunscreen won’t explode on a plane, including spray sunscreen, because the temperature and pressure in the cargo hold are both regulated.
It’s a Good Idea to Wear Sunscreen While on the Plane
Not many people are aware that sunscreen should be worn while they are flying.
The reason why you should wear sunscreen on a plane, especially if you have a window seat, is because UVA transmission can easily get through the windows.
Additionally, the sun’s rays are more powerful when you’re 35,000 feet in the air compared to when you are on the ground due to being in closer proximity to the sun.
UVB transmission, though, is negligible.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a plane’s windows can stop about 99% of UVB rays, but only about half of UVA rays
While you might not get burned while sitting on a plane, UVA rays are able to penetrate the deeper layers of skin and
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).