Quick-Fix Japanese Products For Acne, UTIs, And More

That You Can Purchase Over The Counter At Most Drugstores

By Hilary Keyes
August 18, 2017
Health & Beauty

Having a minor health concern that needs a quick fix? These easily available over-the-counter products may help you.

We all run into health problems from time to time, but there are only so many medications or creams you can pack in your suitcase or order from back home before customs starts to get suspicious of your motivations for bringing them into the country.

In order to take care of your health, you’ll have to eventually find the Japanese equivalents of your preferred Western products. The products* introduced in this article function in the same way as their counterparts abroad but are available in almost every drugstore across the nation without a prescription, and each of these products will cost you less than ¥2,000.

Body Skin Care

If you find yourself suffering from rough, red bumpy skin, especially on your upper arms or legs, then you may have sharkskin (サメ肌, same hada), which is the colloquial term for skin that isn’t as soft and smooth as it once was, or skin that doesn’t respond to normal lotions or scrubs. In that case, you may want to pick up some Ninokyua (ニノキュア), or Zarapuro (ザラプロ). These two creams work over time to smooth out these rough, bumpy patches of the skin, soothe redness and irritation, and can make your skin feel softer as well.

Facial Skin Care

Hormone fluctuations make women more prone to breakouts at certain times of the month, or stress-related breakouts at any time. While there are plenty of acne-related face washes, many Japanese women seem to prefer to treat them from the inside out with any of the Chocola BB tablets or energy drinks by Eisai. These are essentially B-vitamin rich tablets that also contain ingredients like vitamin C, collagen, royal jelly, and others, that have been popularly used to treat acne, rough skin, and even mouth ulcers. There are different types though, so if you are looking to help general skin troubles, stick to Chocola BB Plus, Chocola BB Pure for sudden acne outbreaks, and Chocola BB Lucent for skin spots and freckles from sun exposure and aging.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs are a common health problem for women in Japan. As a result, there are also plenty of UTI-related medications and supplements available over the counter. Bo-koren (ボーコレン) is a medication that helps to ease pain when urinating, relief the feeling that your bladder is still full, and helps to wash out the bacteria that cause the infection in the first place. Similarly, Gorinsan Ekisu Jyou N Kotaro (五淋散エキス錠N コタロー), helps with these problems, as well as issues with feeling like you have caught a slight cold, body chills (especially those in the lower body), fatigue, times when you’ve had to hold it for too long or when you have the constant sudden urge to go.

While you should definitely see a doctor as soon as possible if you are concerned by your symptoms or if the infection doesn’t seem to be clearing up, these medications can surely be a temporary relief.


Another issue that many may suffer from, especially around that time of the month or if you’ve been traveling a lot recently, is constipation. This aisle of the pharmacy has stacks of products to choose from, but if you’re only in need of an emergency relief, then the drink, Fibe Mini by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, is just what you’re looking for. A word of warning though, while the small size of the bottle might not seem all that impressive at first, you will not need more than one bottle to get you back to normal. There are 7g of polydextrose fiber in each bottle, and they tend to work very quickly, so you should only drink it if you’ll be home or can easily get to a bathroom in a hurry.

Vaginal Yeast Infections and Itchiness 

A vaginal yeast infection is called kanjida chitsuen (カンジダ膣炎) in Japanese. The two most popular and readily available drugstore medications for them are called Meditorito (メディトリート) by Taisho Pharmaceuticals or Feminina (フェミニーナ) by Kobayashi Pharmaceuticals, which comes in tablets, a cream and a spray form. 

The Feminina cream is a quick relief for generalized bikini area itching, such as after shaving or for “lady-jock itch.” If you’re suspecting that you have a yeast infection, look for the tablets, not the cream. And, like in most other cases, if you find that after six days these products aren’t working, you will probably need to see a doctor for something more powerful.

PMS/Post Menopause Support

Some of my friends back home relied on different herbal teas and supplements to help with PMS and other hormone-related problems, but these teas are hard to find in Japan, and many of the women’s vitamin supplements available in standard stores are designed to help you get pregnant — which may not be what you had in mind to relieve your PMS. For those who struggle with bad PMS, post menopausal disorders, and neuropsychiatric disorders related to their hormones, there is one Japanese traditional remedy called L’amour Q (ラムールQ) by Tsumura & Co. This supplement is one that many of my friends swear by, and one that has a full information PDF explaining what it contains and what it can help with, in English. From menstrual pain and hot flashes to over-sensitiveness to cold, this one is a quick fix for many women-specific symptoms. 

While these products may not have the same appeal as those names that you know from overseas, they have been as equally trusted in Japan for years now, so when in doubt, give these a try. Hopefully, you’ll feel better in no time! 

Note: *The products featured in this article are not meant to treat serious medical conditions. If you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns about your health, or you experience the same conditions after a while, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


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