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Thread: Sunscreen in the 3-1-1 bag?

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    JLE
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    Sunscreen in the 3-1-1 bag?

    I saw it suggested recently that items like sunscreen do not need to be packed into the 3-1-1 bag under US regs, essentially based on the argument that they are over-the-counter medications. Does anyone care to comment on this? I can see the argument, but it must be fairly close to the line? When my new Azalea 3-1-1 bag arrives I don't want to put anything into it that doesn't need to be there.

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    Sunscreen is not classified a medication and needs to be in the bag.

    The only way you could take more on board is if it's a prescription sunscreen and you have a copy of the prescription with you.

    Now, you can try to take more on board, and argue with the TSA people if they want to throw it out, but, you will not win.
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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    This topic is near to my heart because Mrs B is addicted to applying (and re-applying) sunscreen. How much so? When we spent two weeks in Hawaii, the question she received most often when we got back was, "Wait. Did you actually go?"

    What we always do is pack one small sunscreen in the 311 bag and then stock up on arrival. On our last trip we actually did check a bag, so Mrs B brought along 6 bottles of foaming sunscreen. I kind of think she used them all, too.

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    There is no need to stock up if you use a brand available at your destination.

    If you need a prescription sunscreen ask your dermatologist to prescribe a less than 2 oz quantity for travel or/and write him to write an extra prescription with the the generic/ Latin / universal name of the compounds used in the product to fill in your destination.

    And... remember, there are Sephoras worldwide.

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    Just remember, you might end up paying a lot more for sunscreen at your destination that you would at home. We ran out while in Jamaica and ended up paying almost $30 for one small bottle. I think your need is going to depend on where you are going and how much you need. If I am going to the beach, I might check a small bag with that sort of stuff and other odds and ends. If I just need a little because I might be doing a day hike, then I just stick a small bottle in my 3-1-1 bag. YMMV

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    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    There is no need to stock up if you use a brand available at your destination.

    If you need a prescription sunscreen ask your dermatologist to prescribe a less than 2 oz quantity for travel or/and write him to write an extra prescription with the the generic/ Latin / universal name of the compounds used in the product to fill in your destination.

    And... remember, there are Sephoras worldwide.
    @backpack, your point is right of course, but.... There are actually no Sephoras in Australia (of course we have many alternatives) or in the developing world.

    More particularly, my experience of travel in developing countries is that the absolute essentials should be brought in with you to avoid problems with sourcing (better safe than sorry when it's an essential product like sunscreen or insect repellent). I also find this is true anywhere that cultural practices may differ significantly from those in your home country as this can also affect the availability of particular products (eg feminine hygiene products). So my general approach is to try to cover my own needs for trips up to about two weeks' duration. As a result I have an extensive collection of tiny refillable bottles, Go-Toobs and jars, and a bathroom drawer full of cosmetics samples! For longer trips I agree that it's better to shop for items like shampoo etc that are easily sourced pretty much anywhere (or available in the hotel).

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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    OK, it's helpful to know that you're going to an area of the world where sunscreen is not readily available. Since you had mentioned U.S. TSA regulations, we assumed you were traveling in the U.S.

    If I was going somewhere and needed to max out my 311 bag with necessary liquids, I would try to find dry alternatives for some of my other toiletries (i.e., toothpowder, shampoo bars). But to be honest, I would do what darbs suggested: check a bag, which is not a totally insane idea for significant international travel, or even domestic travel in certain situations. Sunscreen certainly isn't in short supply in Hawaii, but, like most things, it's more expensive than on the mainland. Since I can check a bag for free, why not. (I also need to check a bag so I can bring piles of gifts for my relatives, but that's another story.)

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    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    OK, it's helpful to know that you're going to an area of the world where sunscreen is not readily available. Since you had mentioned U.S. TSA regulations, we assumed you were traveling in the U.S.
    Fair point! I really only referred to US because the 3-1-1 rules are not a bad proxy for laws in other countries (although rules and practices are not uniform).

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    I have a variety of sun-protective clothing, which would help a normal person cut down on the amount of sunscreen, but I wear it in addition to as much sunscreen as physically possible. I've done well with the L.L.Bean sun-smart options.

    (And then I burn ANYWAY. Because Irish people weren't meant to be in sunlight. (Although my brother? He tans. I swear we're related.))
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    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by marbenais View Post
    I have a variety of sun-protective clothing, which would help a normal person cut down on the amount of sunscreen, but I wear it in addition to as much sunscreen as physically possible. I've done well with the L.L.Bean sun-smart options.

    (And then I burn ANYWAY. Because Irish people weren't meant to be in sunlight. (Although my brother? He tans. I swear we're related.))
    I feel your pain! I have fair skin too and also get sunstroke quite easily, so I am always the one hiding in the shade. Not exactly the bronzed Aussie stereotype!

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    I'm allergic to most sunscreens! I have to use the Water Babies and the lowest is SPF 50. I have never been one to really burn, but now I just stay white all the time!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JLE View Post
    I feel your pain! I have fair skin too and also get sunstroke quite easily, so I am always the one hiding in the shade. Not exactly the bronzed Aussie stereotype!
    My father will be wearing sun-protective clothing over every possible inch of skin, very good sunscreen, sitting in the shade, under a protective umbrella . . . turning into a lobster. Some of us just aren't meant to be outdoors. Or in windowed buildings.

    Actually, the Aussie who guest-taught one of my classes a few months ago was as pale as me! So I guess I don't think of all Australians as being beach-loving tan people
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    A couple of things:

    Sunscreen is not considered a medical product, so like Frank said, it still needs to get packed in your 3-1-1 kit. In general, I would say the only things you don't need to worry about liquid-wise is baby formula, breast milk, or liquids that you have a prescription for (with both the pharmacy label on the bottle, as well as a copy of your prescription from the doctor). The TSA might still decide to do a paper strip test on your liquid but if you have a prescription you will likely be able to take it on board with you.

    However as others have already mentioned, you should have no trouble finding sunscreen at your destination, particularly if it's a sunny location. If your 3-1-1 kit is already bursting at the seams, this is a good way to go.

    Just be mindful that, depending on where you go, the sunscreen might be pricey. For example, let's say you're going on vacation to Walt Disney World. Sunny Florida, VERY hot and VERY VERY sunny. Trust me, Disney would LOVE to sell you a bottle of sunscreen in the parks for $10 a bottle. It might only be $8.00 if you buy it from the gift shop at your Disney resort hotel, though. However if you have a means to get off property (maybe you're not staying on-property or you're renting a car even though you are using Disney's Magical Express shuttle service from MCO), then you want to go to a local supermarket, Walgreens or other box store (and trust me, if you want to go the Wal-Mart route there are two relatively close to WDW), you can buy huge bottles of NOAD sunscreen for half the price.

    I'm gonna add a caveat here, though. I'm particularly finicky about what sunscreen I use; based on information I've read from cosmetic specialist Paula Begoun--who has her own line of skincare but she has been a consumer advocate for far longer (Cosmetics Cop: Skin Care & Makeup Tips & Reviews)--about all the dangers of sun exposure, AND I know that I want to check for avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide as an active ingredient in any sunscreen I use, because I need to protect myself not only from the sunburn-causing UVB rays, but the cancer-causing UVA rays (for which I can only get protection from those three chemicals).

    So... and here is where I'll actually suggest an actual product:

    The product I use for general sunscreen is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock (Buy Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock, SPF 70 & More | drugstore.com). The active ingredient in this product is avobenzone, which means I get UVA/UVB protection.

    The key to this particular sunscreen is that it flows like a very light, watery liquid, so you get a ton of mileage out of just a little bit. And you won't feel all greasy. The stuff dries real fast, and doesn't feel tacky.

    Best of all, they're sold in 1.4-ounce bottles--meaning you can easily pack one of these in your 3-1-1 kit and not even have it take up much space!

    During the summer, I toss one of these in my purse as well.

    One word of warning. Neutrogena makes an almost identical-looking product called Pure & Free Liquid Daily Sunblock (Buy Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid Daily Sunblock, SPF 50 & More | drugstore.com). Same size bottle. That uses both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (the other two products Paula Begoun recommends for UVA protection). The problem is, zinc oxide is that white opaque stuff surfers use on their noses. No matter how thin you spread this sunscreen, you will find a light white sheen on your skin. Seeing as I'm far from white (I'm Asian and have a bit more melanin than oh, say an albino person), so wearing this on my face makes it look like I've used the wrong color foundation. It works OK on my body, but I try to avoid this one if I can.
    Last edited by Lani; 04-05-2012 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Darn those typos!
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    Registered User Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darbs View Post
    I'm allergic to most sunscreens! I have to use the Water Babies and the lowest is SPF 50. I have never been one to really burn, but now I just stay white all the time!
    Darbs -- Do you know what it is that causes an allergic reaction? I was told once to look for non-comedogenic sunscreen (that means it wont' clog pores). Are you also allergic to regular skin lotion?
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    Lani, I have yet to figure out what ingredient in the sun block I am allergic to. I never had a reaction until I started using sun block labeled "sport". Those cause me to break out into a terrible rash/hives. I managed to avoid those and was fine. Then they came out with spray sun blocks. SOME of those bother me and some don't. Also, if I layer on 2 different kinds, then I usually break out. Sometimes I'll use one I think is safe and it is fine once, but when I reapply I break out. My doctor thought it was some sort of sun poisoning type thing at first or maybe heat rash. Regular lotion doesn't bother me, but I can't use the heavily perfumed lotions or I will break out. I've found the Water Babies (in the pink bottle) is the safest but like you mentioned, it has zinc oxide in it and gives me white sheen when I apply it. At this point, I just put up with the white sheen. I use the Neutrogena face sunblock on my face when we are at the beach or outdoors. I love the beach and grew up going multiple times a year. This "reaction" is something I've just developed within the last 5 years. But then I've also become lactose, soy, and egg intolerant in the last 5 years so I'm not surprised my skin has decided to revolt as well. If I sleep on sheets washed in Tide laundry detergent for more than 2 nights my skin goes crazy as well. For the most part, I try to just stick with what I know and not stay out in direct sun light for too long. Once the rash develops, I am done and can't go out in the sun at all or it gets angry. LOL! A lot of the more organic and/or natural sun blocks are ridiculously expensive, like $15 for 2 ounces. It isn't really worth it for me to even begin to try those out. The only time it sucks is if I use something that used to be ok and isn't anymore on day 1 of a week long beach trip which is what happened to me this summer. I ended up spending my 6 day beach vacation sitting inside. Live and learn!

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