Can I Bring Ointment On a Plane? TSA Rules

Ointments help with dry skin, eczema, cuts, burns, insect bites, rashes, and more.

But can you bring ointment on a plane? And what are the TSA rules for ointments?

The TSA stated that medically necessary ointments and liquids are excepted from the TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule, so you can bring them in both carry-on and checked baggage without any restrictions.

In this post, I will answer all your questions and more about bringing ointment on a plane carry-on and checked baggage.

I’ll also share some of my favorite ointments that I always pack in my personal item.

So whether you need an ointment for your face, body, or lips, I’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive right in.

Can You Take Ointment In Hand Luggage?

TSA Ointments Rules

Ointments comes in different forms and sizes.

The TSA didn’t specifically mention ointments on its website.

But they have this note on their website

If you can squeeze it, smear it, pump it, spread it, spray it, or spill it will be subject to the TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule.


So any item that falls under one of these categories need to be in a container of 3.4 oz / 100 ml or less when transported in carry-on, and must fit within a single quart sized bag with your other travel-size liquids.

Larger amounts of liquids are good to go in checked baggage.

But there are some exceptions to the 3-1-1 liquids rule when traveling with medical necessary items like ointments, insulin, baby formula, breast milk, etc.

You can bring medically necessary items in quantities above 3.4 ounces, and they do not need to be in a quart sized bag.

But just like other toiletries you will have to remove your ointment from your bag at the security checkpoint and place it in a separate bin for additional screening.

So is ointment considered a liquid when flying?


The TSA, Ointments & The X ( Twitter) Community

If the TSA didn’t mention your specific item on its website, you can always ask them on X ( formerly Twitter) by tagging their handle @AskTSA followed with your question ( like in the screenshots below ).

Guillermo wanted to bring the small jar of eczema ointment in his carry-on baggage.

the TSA answer about taking eczema ointment
Screenshot from Twitter

The TSA customer service replied that medically necessary liquids in carry-on bags can be in containers more than 3.4 oz / 100 ml.

Guillermo didn’t know that he can also bring the large one, but he need to inform the security officer that he is taking these items and place them in a separate bin to go through the X-ray screening.

Another questions comes from Hilda Cupcakes.

She wanted to bring this 4 oz prescription ointment pomade ( Topical Gel ) in her carry-on baggage.

the TSA answer about taking 4 oz ointment
Screenshot from Twitter

The TSA gave her the same advice about removing the ointment from her bag for screening at the security checkpoint.

They didn’t mention anything about the prescription label.

While the TSA doesn’t limit the amount of medically necessary liquids in cary-on luggage, it is always wise to use your common sense and bring only the amount you will need ( preferably with a prescription) to avoid any inconvenience at the airport.

Taking a significant amount of ointments might raise eyebrows at the security checkpoint.

Because this exception could be misused by some bad individuals to sneak some prohibited and dangerous items on board the airplanes.

Take Ointments On International Flights

It makes no difference if you’re flying internationally, in the sense that you should always take your ointment in your carry-on bag.

But one thing to keep in mind is if the type of ointment is allowed in the country you are planning to visit, and if there are restrictions on some ointment products.

You will need to research the specific county of your destination.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to bring your ointment into the country, but finding a shop that sells your specific ointment seems like a brilliant idea.

How Do You Travel With Ointments? Packing Tips

Once you’ve decided what quantity of ointments to bring on your trip, you need to pack them properly.

Here are some tips to help you pack ointments for travel:

  • Put your ointments in a clear plastic zip-top bag:

Even though it is not obligated with the TSA, but this will make it easier for you to take them out at the security checkpoint and avoid any spills or leaks inside your bag.

  • Label your ointments clearly:

If you take several types of ointments you can use a permanent marker or a sticker to write the name and use of each ointment. This will help you at the security checkpoint, and identify them quickly and avoid any confusion.

  • Pack your ointments in your personal item or in a separate pouch or compartment in your carry-on bag:

This will help you reach them easily and keep them organized. You can also put them in an outer pocket or a side pocket of your bag for convenience.

Never pack your essential ointments (medicine in general ) in your checked luggage.


My Favorite Ointments That I Always Bring With Me When I Travel

OintmentUseWhy I Love It
DesitinRash Cream– Calms angry skin and forms a protective shield
– Suitable for rough skin, small cuts, scrapes, burns, and dry cuticles
VaselineFace and Body Moisturizer– Cost-effective and multipurpose
– Locks in moisture, protects skin from harsh weather and irritants
Vaseline is not considered a medically necessary item so it falls under the TSA liquid rule.
LansinohLip Balm– Provides relief for dry, rough, flaky, itchy skin and healing dry lips
– Addresses various small skin problems.
NeosporinWound Healer– Contains antibiotics to prevent infection and accelerate healing of minor cuts, scrapes, burns, etc.

Final Thoughts

You are unlikely to run into any problems when you bring your ointments on a plane.

But you still need to pack them properly and follow the TSA guidelines.

The 3-1-1 liquids rule doesn’t apply to ointments as they are considered medically necessary items.

So you can bring ointments that are more than 3.4 ounces / 100 ml per container in your carry-on bag.

To pack ointments for travel, put them in a clear plastic zip-top bag even though it is not necessary, label them clearly, pack them in a separate pouch or compartment in your carry-on bag or personal item, and keep them away from heat and sunlight.

I hope this post has helped you learn more about how to bring ointment on a plane.

Happy travels!