No, You Can't Bring Full-Size Sunscreen in Your Carry-On

A glitch on the TSA website is to blame for getting our hopes up

Person applying sun cream to a girl
Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Why do you build me up, TSA baby, just to let me down and mess me around?

We, like many other travel publications, were absolutely thrilled yesterday when news broke that the TSA was making an exception to its 3-1-1- rule—that is, liquids must be no larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters, and they must fit into a single quart-size bag—for sunscreen. (On a personal note, I was ecstatic that I would finally be able to carry-on my favorite solo-travel sunscreen, Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Body Mist, which comes in a five-ounce "full-reach" aerosol can designed so that you can spray your own back.)

But as it turns out, the sunscreen exemption was a bit of fake news. The TSA issued the following statement to Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time:

"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. Sunscreen in carry-on bags must be 3.4 oz. or less. Larger quantities should be placed in checked baggage.”

Not cool, TSA! Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting some 4.3 million people annually, so it would be really, really great if we were able to stash full sunscreens in our carry-ons for weekend beach trips.

Plus, we already know the TSA is open to making exceptions to the rules. During the pandemic, the agency has temporarily removed 3-1-1 limitations for hand sanitizer, allowing passengers to carry up to 12 ounces of the product in their carry-on bags—even if it's in one large container.

But unless the TSA changes its mind—which, to be honest, is kind of doubtful—you'll have to stick to pouring sunscreen into smaller 3.4-ounce containers if you want to carry it on, or you can throw it in your checked bag.

In the meantime—hey Neutrogena, would you mind making a travel-size version of your full-mist aerosol cans?! Please, and thank you.