Americans had Clearasil for pimples when they were teens. What did Japanese teens have? Meishoku’s Bigansui Medicated Skin Lotion! It was launched in 1885 and its formula has remained unchanged! There is a reason why this has stood the test of time. Apart from its beautifully understated dark blue glass bottle, ultra-affordable price, and ready availability, it works a certain degree of magic on pimples.
This brings back memories! Bagansui translates to “beautiful face water”. When I was an early teen, my grandma told me to always use this twice a day in the summer to keep my skin clear. I followed her advice almost to a T and perhaps a mere coincidence, but my teenage years were relatively free of spots. Fast-forward nearly 2 decades and I still keep a bottle around. While the days of giving my face a once-over with it are long gone, but I still instinctively reach for it whenever I feel a spot coming. Like Pavlov’s dogs, I have associated its herbal scent with super-duper blemish-fighting power. I can practically feel my blemish shrinking just sniffing it!
It’s as simple as they come — the Bigansui Medicated Skin Lotion — just 5 ingredients. It has exfoliating salicylic acid and anti-bacterial homosulfamine as active ingredients to clean out pores and kill acne-causing bacteria. Propylene glycol (as a solvent), denatured alcohol (to preserve and enhance penetration), and fragrance complete the list. Those with dry, sensitive skin should err on the side of caution. Oilier teen skin may enjoy patting it on after cleansing in hot and muggy summers to clean and detoxify skin — I certainly did! I now swipe the watery lotion over problem area only, each time finding that my blemish has flattened and disappeared from my face much faster.
Like manga? Here’s a lovely 24-page manga (available in Japanese, English, and Chinese) on the story behind Bigansui Medicated Skin Lotion and how Momotani Juntenkan (the company behind it) was established.