Update: TSA says this change was posted to their website in error.
Since 2006 the TSA has limited travelers to 3.4 ounce containers of liquids that fit in a single quart-sized bag. The War On Water has gone on for 15 years, but there have been a few recent concessions.
At the start of the pandemic the TSA began allowing passengers to bring 12 ounces of hand sanitizer through the checkpoint, separate from their freedom baggie of liquids.
And now travelers can also bring a full-sized bottle of sunscreen, since sunscreen has been added to the TSA’s list of ‘medically necessary’ liquids, gels and aerosols. However you must separately declare these items at the screening checkpoint, and they may receive extra scrutiny.
The TSA’s liquid rule was literally killing people by discouraging them from bringing sunscreen with them on trips, since they’d have to check it in luggage.
- Nearly 10,000 people per day are diagnosed with skin cancer.
- “[I]ncreasing sunscreen use by 5 percent per year over 10 years would lead to a 10 percent reduction in melanomas in the United States.”
- Skin cancer researchers led the push for this change by TSA,
Because inadequate access to sunscreen can lead to severe sunburns and subsequent skin cancers, this is an important public health initiative. We hope that this change will promote sun-safety and encourage travelers to use the recommended amount of sunscreen. The average adult requires 1.4 ounce of sunscreen per application, and reapplication is recommended every two hours.
The TSA’s War on Water has been waging about as long as World Wars I and II combined plus the Korean War. But did you know that if you freeze your liquids, they’re no longer liquid and can pass through security as a solid. If they melt at all the drops are liquid and not in three ounce containers — so can be confiscated.
The TSA does not actually believe your liquids are dangerous. If they did they would bring in hazmat teams to handle with care when taking them away. Instead screeners just leave them piled up at the checkpoint.
You now have the right to bring sunscreen through, though, but if you’re planning to do so be prepared for a little bit of extra time asserting your rights.