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.

Thanaka’s origins can be traced back to the initial development of Myanmar. It has been said that the Queen of Beikthano (one of the country’s oldest cities) was a fan and consistent user of the Thanaka paste and applied it to her skin on a daily basis. We first saw evidence of Thanaka’s use in ancient Myanmar when a strong earthquake toppled the Shwemawdaw pagoda in 1930. Buried in the debris was a round stone slab known as a “kyauk pyin” and used for grinding Thanaka logs.


How and why is Thanaka used?

March and April are the tropical monsoon months of Myanmar and are characterized by scalding climate. Because of this, Burmese individuals will apply a protective layer of the Thanaka paste to their cheeks and forehead as a natural sunblock. In some cases, it will be applied over every exposed areas of the skin. Thanaka is commonly known for its astringent properties which help to improve oily skin. However, it contains menthol as well which gives it cooling and soothing qualities.

While the Thanaka paste can be applied artistically in geometric designs, it is commonly applied in leaf patterns for aesthetic appeal. We have even heard certain terms that are used to describe different types of applications such as:

  • “Thanaka bé gya” – applying the paste in circular or striped patterns
  • “Thanaka chi zoun gaung zoun” – applying the paste over the entire body to provide al calming and cooling effect

Benefits of using Thanaka

What is now backed by scientific evidence were once ancient beliefs and supposition. Countless studies have shown that Thanaka:

  • acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • fights free radicals
  • heals acne
  • increases collagen and elastin
  • prevents or reduces hyperpigmentation
  • protects the skin from UV rays
  • slows aging

These numerous benefits are why Thanaka is our signature product. Thanaka is also used in bath bombs and soaps as well. This is organic, preservation free, hypoallergic and non-toxic skin care product that has bee tried and tested for centuries. Thus, if you have sensitive skin or looking for chemical free alternative skin care product, Thanaka would be right for regular use. To learn more about this amazing product, call Healing Bark at (800) 770-9988 or visit our website today.
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