Wednesday, January 22, 2020

For Cracked Skin, Cuts, and Little Scrapes During Your Travels: Ekiban A Liquid Bandage

Dealing with dry hotel air and cracked skin? How about fingers painfully scraped against a rough suitcase, or paper cuts from searching your pockets for a plane ticket? Did you remember to bring a whole first aid kit with you? Didn't want to in the first place? We get it! And so does Ekiban A, one of our favorite recent Japanese drug store finds.

A Thin, Clear Shield, and a Layer of Peace of Mind

We probably all remember how to take care of minor injuries thanks to lessons learned from guardians or older siblings: don't touch, keep things clean and dry, and definitely keep the germs away! As we've gotten older, our understanding of this process and why it's important has grown and evolved, and yet for some reason the chunky, too-tight and too-loose bandages we've been using all this time are still found peeling off of our fingers after a matter of hours.

After getting frustrated one too many times, though, the JAPANKURU team headed to the drug store in search of a solution. There must be something better, we thought... and there it was! Ekiban A Liquid Plaster (エキバンA), found in drugstores across Japan. Ekiban A is a clear gel that you apply after cleaning a wound, just like a normal bandage. Leave it for a minute or two, letting it dry completely, and tada! You've got the best bandage ever to grace your fingertips.

Of course, after seeing how practical this bandage was, we wanted to put it to the test. Is it really that flexible? That convenient? Does it really deserve a spot on every traveler's Japan shopping list? Time to find out!

How Subtle and Unobtrusive is Ekiban A?

Most of us probably haven't used colorful character-decorated bandages that draw attention to our boo-boos in years, but somehow normal bandages don't seem much better. All we want is something that blends into our skin, and still does its job! So how does a clear, flexible layer of Ekiban A stand up to the stresses of daily life?

① How's the Fit?

As much as producers of traditional bandages might try to make them in all shapes and sizes, the thick layer of plastic or fabric just doesn't cut it when it comes to staying on and laying flat on our bodies.

Our fingers just aren't perfect cylinders! You can already see this one peeling off the fingertip... and even worse, it's getting in the way of using the touchscreen! You can't browse JAPANKURU articles with a finger covered in a bandage!

Ekiban A, on the other hand? Stays right where you want it! And we tested it out: even if you need to put some on your fingertip, you can still use the touchscreen like normal.

② But Can It Move With You?

Maybe it's just us, but bandages always feel like they're either about to fall off, or they're so tight you can't move a muscle without it cutting off circulation! So we wanted to see if Ekiban A would be able to flex with our scraped knuckles without pulling or stiffening.

The results? It works best if you move the area like you naturally would while the liquid bandage is drying. In the end, though, it's a great solution!

③ Is It Convenient?

Some of the JAPANKURU team have been known to carry around normal bandages and first aid kids daily, including yours truly, and to tell the truth lugging them around is a drag! So one look at the compact tube of Ekiban A and we didn't even need to carry out any experiments... except maybe seeing just how small of a bag it could easy fit in!

Not having to worry about finding loose bandages, those bandages getting dirty in our bags, or even having to throw out the paper bandage wrappers in Japan (a country known for having very few trash cans in public) was a relief.

Is That It, Ekiban A?

After seeing how well the liquid bandage had worked so far, we were inspired to examine how else it might come in handy. Bandages are used for all sorts of things, after all!

Reducing Friction & Protecting Irritated Skin

We always advise wearing comfortable shoes in Japan; most visitors do a lot of walking! Sometimes, though, even good shoes can rub after hours and hours of wear. Before the irritation gets too bad, fix that friction! We tried putting a little Ekiban A on any problem spots, and it created a nice smooth layer of protection. Success!

Smooth on a thick layer, let it dry, and you'll be back on your feet exploring Japan in no time.

Keeping Skin Dry

One of the most annoying things about scrapes and cuts is trying to keep them clean and dry. We already saw that Ekiban A stood up pretty well to everyday rain and sweat, but what about showers, or even washing dishes??

Looks like...

It does just fine! Soaking and scrubbing the liquid bandage directly will of course start to peel it off, but over the course of a normal day's chores, it stuck to the skin just like we'd hoped.

First Aid, Simplified

Forget the many little bandages of yesteryear!

Stick a little tube of Ekiban A in your bag, and you're set!

The results of our experiments were clear (yes literally), thanks to its unobtrusiveness and convenience, Ekiban A is a great travel partner! And you'll find it all over Japan. Grab a couple of tubes for yourself when you start your trip, and you might just be picking up a few more to bring home for friends by the time you leave.

Have you tried Ekiban A before? Did it save you from the minor hazards of travel? Or maybe just give you a little peace of mind? Let us know about your experience on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


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