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So, the TSA got it wrong.

Just a few days ago, the TSA website was updated with a seemingly positive development. Full sized sunscreen could once again travel in your carry on through a TSA checkpoint, as long as you separated it from other liquids still subject to the small size rule. But apparently, the TSA got the TSA’s new policy wrong.

Yes, the same agency and website which just said we could bring sunscreen, now says we can’t. Again.

a large crowd of people in a building

TSA Bans Full Sized Sunscreen, Again

If there’s any resource you’d think would be official and reliable, it would be an official agency resource for the Transportation Security Administration, aka the TSA.

When a story broke of full sized sunscreen again being allowed through checkpoints, thanks to a study from Brown University on the implications of hindering the proper application of sunscreen, publications went to the TSA website to verify the claim and that was easy enough. It confirmed the news.

But just days later, the TSA is saying it made an error, and it’s all fake news. The fake news, of course, was created by the the TSA, about its own policies, thanks to its own communications, and was reneged only after it made the rounds globally.

“Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 oz. were allowed in carry-on bags, if medically necessary. Travelers (will) 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.”


Instead, there is no change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that keeping people from having enough sunscreen causes considerable extra risk of skin cancer, and that simply screening items such as sunscreen rather than banning them can be equally effective in terms of safety.

What This Means For You

This means you should ignore every story that may still pop up in your newsfeed saying full sized sunscreen is allowed through checkpoints again, for now. This was a largely welcome change when it was announced, and made lots of sense from health and safety perspectives.

For now, until the TSA inevitably changes its mind again, full sized sunscreen is once again NOT allowed through TSA checkpoints. If you want to bring sunscreen with you on a trip, you’ll need to check a bag, buy one at the destination, and or carry a small 3.4oz or less ‘travel size’ sunscreen through the checkpoint with you.

Who could possibly say the TSA is one of the most mismanaged organizations? GSTP sends its sympathies to every passenger and TSA screener who must now field many thousands of daily questions on the subject, thanks to the agencies own confusion.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Just spend a little money and buy it when you get there. And if you are going somewhere that sunscreen isn’t readily available either check a bag (to allow you to pack it) or purchase a small tube or spray dispenser (they are available in TSA carry on sizes).

    Not sure why everyone made such a big deal out of this. Easily resolved.

    1. because no one wants to spend $45 for a bottle of sun screen, and $50 to check the bag it’s going in on their trip to mexico… must be nice being a billionaire…

  2. Tsa allows multiple 3.4oz sunscreens per person and this is a widely available size. Lack of supply is not tsas responsibility

  3. This problem can be readily solved by abolishing the public facing element of Security Theater, ie, the TSA.

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