Asked & Answered |

Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen on a Plane?

sunscreen on plane

Can you bring sunscreen on a plane, and more importantly, do you need to wear sunscreen on a plane? We’re giving you all the in-flight SPF info you need, below!

When you pack your carry-on for your big summer getaway, you may not think of throwing sunscreen in it But you should! Sunscreen and planes go hand-in-hand. Keep reading to find out why.

If you love window seats, then you really need to apply – and reapply – your SPF.

There’s nothing quite like a window seat…. You get a place to rest your head AND you get the best view on the airplane. But you also get exposed to high levels of UV radiation.

Here’s a fun fact: The higher the plane climbs in elevation, the more susceptible to UV damage you become. “Planes provide a vast increase in UV exposure because of the altitude,” says NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Michele Farber. “In fact, a study of UV exposure on planes showed that flying at 30,000 feet for an hour can be equivalent to a 20-minute tanning bed session.”

I’ll just keep the window shade down then, you may be thinking… Well, even if your shade is down, there may be UVA (aging) rays peeking through the cracks, and other passengers’ windows may still be open––so we really recommend playing it safe with SPF.

Not a window seat person? You guessed it…sunscreen is still a must!

If you’re an aisle seat devotee, you’re still not entirely in the clear. Sure, you’re further away from the windows, but there’s still risk of UV damage, thanks to the clouds. “In addition to penetrating clouds, UV light can also reflect off of them. And we also know that windows don’t entirely block UVA rays, so this means your skin is still at risk to a certain degree, no matter where you’re sitting,” says Farber.

“In addition to penetrating clouds, UV light can also reflect off of them. And we also know that windows don’t entirely block UVA rays, so this means your skin is still at risk to a certain degree, no matter where you’re sitting.”

Dr. Michele Farber

If I try to bring sunscreen on a plane, won’t it get taken away by the TSA?

Not if it’s three ounces or less! And luckily a lot of our SPF is. All of our popular face sunscreens come in TSA-approved packaging, including Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 (go for the 2.4oz tube), Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 (1.7oz), Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40 (1.5oz) and Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40 (1.7oz). You should always try to apply any one of these right before you get on the plane.

And don’t forget to reapply! If you’re on a long flight that’s over two hours, try to give yourself an SPF refresh. Associating reapplication with various forms of in-flight entertainment can sometimes serve as a great reminder…like “I’ll reapply once this movie is over,” or “I’ll reapply once I finish reading my first magazine.”

defense refresh setting mist

Again, our SPF formulas that are perfect for reapplication thankfully come in TSA-friendly sizes. There’s nothing easier than our Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 in the 1oz bottle (spritz it all over and you’re good to go), our 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45 (tap and pat it over your face to reduce shine and add SPF) or our Glow Stick SPF 50 (a glides-right-on sunscreen stick that’s completely invisible and hydrating).

+Have more questions about wearing sunscreen on a plane? Leave them below!