For many years, visitors to Myanmar (formerly Burma) had been wondering how the women of this country kept their skin glowing and soft. The secret was a 2,000-year-old natural skincare tradition derived from the Thanaka tree. As a perennial, this tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia and enjoys widespread growth throughout Myanmar. When its stem is ground into a powdery form and mixed with water, it forms a yellowish paste that offers the user many benefits such as a skin beautifier and sun blocker.
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It all began in 1890 when Aye Tru Ma, a farmer from Sagaing, stumbled upon a grove of Thanaka trees growing behind a dense jungle patch. To protect his skin from the blistering sun, he cut down a small tree, ground the bark, and applied the paste to his face. Almost immediately, he noticed there was something special about this thanaka. It smelled of crisp sandalwood, cooled his face immediately, and left him feeling more refreshed than ever before. The next day, Aye Tru Ma left his home to set up a small shop in Mandalay where he would sell the Thanaka he found.
Word spread quickly about his Thanaka’s special healing powers for all kinds of skin problems. Within a year, it became known as “kyannmarrayy aahkout”, which translates to ‘healing bark’ in english.
When Aye Tru Ma passed away in 1914, he left his business to his son, U Kyaw Win. Together with his wife, Min Ta Oo, they opened multiple shops around Myanmar selling the healing bark. To this day, the healing bark continues to be used and loved by people throughout Myanmar.
What makes Healing Bark so effective?
Three natural compounds work in unison to create a powerful skin perfecting combination that works on all skin types.
For many individuals that have visited Myanmar, one of the more distinct memories they have is the golden-painted cheeks of many Burmese women and children (along with some of the men). Whether they’re Buddhist or Muslim, young or old, most Myanmar females apply Thanaka paste to their faces on a daily basis. So the question arises. What is Thanaka paste and why do so many women paint it on their faces?